Friday, 22 May 2015

Bodegas: José Medina & Cia.

This firm no longer exists and as such is a lost bodega, but it developed into another so maybe it is not lost. Anyway, it was established as late as the early 1970s by José Medina. He and his three brothers, Nicolás, Ángel and Jesús, were working at different bodegas and dreamed of establishing their own. José led the way and his brothers joined him a couple of years later. Using clever strategy and collaboration agreements with purchasing companies, they exported a great deal of bought-in Sherry to Holland. Other export markets were not ignored however, and a standard range of José Medina Sherries was available in the UK in the 1970s.

They bought the old family business of Luís Páez of Jerez in 1979 jointly with the Dutch company, Royal Ahold BV, owner of the chain of Albert Heijn stores, giving them great sales and distribution. In the mid-1980s the Medinas, by now one of the leading exporters, bought the old Sanlúcar firm of Pérez Megía and formed Grupo Medina.

The Medina brothers: Nicolas, Jesus, Jose, Angel

The next target was Williams & Humbert. This great firm had been taken over by Rumasa and like all the other firms in the group, had been expropriated by the government in 1983, but its sale back to the private sector was delayed by José María Ruiz Mateos claiming to personally own the Brand Dry Sack. The courts saw it differently, and it eventually re-joined W&H.

In 1988 Antonio Barbadillo bought the firm but in 1991 the Dutch Gin and Liqueur firm Bols bought 60%. The Medinas bought 10% via Luís Páez which was still 50% owned by Royal Ahold, and the Bols holding in 1995. In 2005 they were able to buy out the Royal Ahold interest in Luís Páez with help from a risk capital fund and consolidate all their interests under one roof as 100% owners of the business. The deal included a 25 year trading contract with Ahold.

From very small beginnings the brothers’ sales are now around 25 million bottles across all brands and they are currently exporting about 75% to 80 countries. There are other interests too: Medina del Encinar ham and cheese, for example, as well as all sorts of spirits and wines, and they own their own Spanish distributor, Sovisur. A true success story, but built on very hard - and clever - work.

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