Modelo Especial, a brand imported by Crown Imports LLC, Chicago, capped off 2012 with more than 43 million cases in annual depletions, making it the third import beer to achieve 40 million cases sold in one calendar year, the company says.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment for Modelo Especial, which is the No. 3 imported beer in the U.S. and is growing at a rate of more than 20 percent year over year,” said Bill Hackett, president of Crown Imports, in a statement. “This achievement is a true indicator of the phenomenal growth of the brand that continues to lead the beer industry and brings us one step closer to attaining our long-term vision of Modelo Especial becoming a 100-million-case brand and the No. 2 imported beer in the U.S.”

Modelo Especial reached the 30 million case mark two years ago and grew sales by nearly 8 million cases in 2012. According to Chicago-based SymphonyIRI Group data, the brand also became the No. 2 imported beer within the U.S. convenience store channel earlier in the year.

To support Modelo Especial’s continued expansion, the brand launched its first English language TV spot within select markets in 2012 among other promotions to drive consumer engagement and case growth. The brand also introduced two new packages — 24-pack loose bottles and 24-ounce bottles — last year to help meet new drinking occasions among general and Hispanic audiences, the company says.

“Modelo Especial is a brand with both mass and acceleration unmatched by any other brand in the beer industry,” said Jim Sabia, chief marketing officer for Crown Imports, in a statement. “We will continue to create strategic marketing initiatives for the brand to reach the general and Hispanic markets as we work to drive both future growth and awareness of the brand in 2013 and beyond.”