In Polk, Importing A Taste of Puerto Rico

LAKELAND – There is a brouhaha in Polk County over a new beer. It’s called “Medalla.” In English, it means, medal, and many Puerto Ricans see it as the gold standard of beers.

“It has a good taste,” said Brittany Cerna. “Not too strong, not too light.”

It may not be light in flavor, but it is light in calories: fewer than 100 a bottle.

Medalla is the biggest selling beer on the island. This is the first time it is being imported into Florida. It is being sold in areas with sizable Puerto Rican populations, including Hillsborough and Polk Counties.

The number of Puerto Ricans in Polk has doubled in the last ten years. Ana Rivera, the founder of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County, is thrilled. Along with the heads of other Puerto Rican Chambers across the state, she encouraged liquor importers to give Medalla a try.

Now that they have, Rivera hopes to convince other importers to bring in whatever else would make Puerto Ricans feel at home.