When you fridge as many cases of beer as we do at our house, it's tough to imagine that anywhere, at any time, selling more beer might be a challenge.

OK, the experiences of Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) might illustrate that beverages, even the most popular, are not sure bets. But in Mexico and Brazil? Places with growing economies, growing populations, and rising standards of living? Unfortunately, that's the case at Mexican beer baron FEMSA (NYSE:FMX), which struggled with sales and costs to post a drop in profits for the first quarter of the year.

The full release is here (opens a .pdf file). And I'll say this again: I still think Mexican companies like this one produce some of the most transparent, to-the-point earnings releases available.

FEMSA, which is also the majority owner of Coca-Cola FEMSA (NYSE:KOF) did fine in the soft-drink biz, moving 7% more product and increasing operating earnings by 10.8%. But the beer business fell apart, taking hits on aluminum costs, grain costs, and a big increase in spending in order to kick-start sales for the recently acquired Brazilian beer business. The latter paid off with a 14.4% sales increase by volume, but prices decreased 4.3%. Obviously, selling more beer at lousier prices, and paying more to make it and advertise it, is not so good.

On the top line, things were worse for beer in Mexico, with sales volume up only 2.6%, a situation the company blamed on crummy weather. I'm not disinclined to think that weather can sometimes have an effect on good-time beverages like these. In fact, the Coca-Cola results for Mexico may confirm it, as they dragged in at 2.3% growth.

The problems crimped operating earnings 57.6% year over year, with the net earnings per ADS coming to $0.80, a small drop from last year's $0.84 per stub.

As a shareholder, I'm hardly pleased with the results, but sometimes these things happen. FEMSA still has an impressive portfolio of consumer staples and, in convenience-store chain Oxxo, it's got a rapidly expanding (if lower-margin) chain of outlets for these products. Commodity prices have a way of swinging back, and advertising spends can be cut as well. I'm content to give management the benefit of the doubt on this crummy quarter and let them stick to the game plan.

I still value the shares at around $130 each (why didn't I unload them at $140 a couple of months back? Good question). If they dip below the $100 mark, I'll probably grab an extra six-pack for the long ride.

Seth Jayson is a member of the Motley Fool Global Gains team. He recently selected another south-of-the-border beverage baron for the newsletter. A free trial will let you see which one, and why.

At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had shares of FEMSA, but no positions in any other company mentioned. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Fool rules are here.