Ricardo Migueláñez. Agricultural Engineer. @rmiguelanez
This week we feature José García Carrión in our Who's Who section. I remember it like it was yesterday, the first time I ran into him and his wife; it was an event we organized in Madrid in July 2010.
That day I was able to see first-hand the business spirit of this team of long-time Spanish entrepreneurs from Murcia, whose business is currently based in Madrid's Salamanca neighborhood. They walked into the meeting without identifying themselves, but they needed no presentation or invitation. They weren't invited, but there they were, just in case anyone said anything about them.
Anecdotes aside, García Carrión was founded in Jumilla in 1890, when the current owner's great grandfather created a large winery at that time with a view to exporting wine to France.
During its 120 years of history, García Carrión has become the leading winery in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world, as well as the second-largest juice brand on the continent. Its products are available in more than 130 countries.
The company's roots are in the world of wine, an industry in which García Carrión is a global leader. It currently produces wines in ten Designations of Origin (DO) in Spain at its own wineries and vineyards. The company's strategy is to strengthen the organized distribution of its DO wine brands, such as Mayor de Castilla, Viña Arnaiz, Marqués de Carrión, Antaño, Señorío de los Llanos, Pata Negra and Jaume Serra at very low prices, which has pitted it against the Regulatory Councils, which have completely different quality and price policies. Therein lies the origin of most of the criticism directed at José García Carrión's management style, as the price war that has arisen in the markets where it operates, together with the price strategy at supermarkets, is destroying the wine, juice, gazpacho and cava categories by completely undervaluing products.
A Spanish product without borders
With an innovative, forward-looking vision, it's worth noting that García Carrión has achieved some milestones which have shaped the company's business strategy in terms of marketing and sales for many years. Immersion in foreign markets such as France, where a large percentage of wine production goes, and non-returnable cartons are some of his most noteworthy accomplishments, and he has successfully positioned his products in some of the most important markets in the world, such as the UK, Switzerland, Germany, the US, Japan and China.
García Carrión has also been working with around 12 distributors in Asia, some of which only operate online and are leaders in the global online market, such as Alibaba.
In addition to these achievements in the wine industry, García Carrión and his wife have become an inseparable team in business and a leading player in the juice sector. They initially entered that market with a juice pressing plant in Jumilla, Murcia, and they gradually extended their business along the Andalusian coast, building Europe's largest juice transformation plant in Huelva, which exports orange juice to more than 50 countries.
García Carrión, who has a very distinct personality, presents himself as an entrepreneur with a clear vision and whose business model yielded the company 890 million euros in 2014. Although there have been rumors about the sale of certain divisions, the group is optimistic and expects sales to exceed the 1 billion liters sold in 2015.
However, one area in which García Carrión does not excel is as a member of professional associations. He has been a member of all of the organizations in the sectors where he operates but, for one reason or another, he always ends up leaving them due to problems he causes. His vision as regards categories is very different from that of other companies in various sectors and, in general, he goes head to head with them in the associations and then he drops out, although later he joins them again, and then leaves a few years later.
In short, García Carrión is a self-made businessman with a unique business model for each category that only he can implement, even though it negatively affects the entire sector.