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Prowein 2015: Gonzáles Byass grows profit 63% through international export effort

Published:  17 March, 2015

Gonzáles Byass has reported a 63% increase in net profit in 2014 over the previous year, which was primarily driven through the expansion of its international exports.

International exports now account for 66% of the company's business compared to 53% of the business just two years ago.

Mauricio González-Gordon, a fifth generation family member and chairman of Gonzáles Byass, spoke to at Prowein 2015 about what was driving the success of the company's brands in international markets.

"We find that from the development of the business, we are only a medium sized business, so we need to concentrate on a few key markets that offer the greatest possibilities.  We cannot afford to push everywhere with the same strength, at the same time," said González-Gordon.

Three years ago the company acquired an import company in the US which has been critical to the company's expansion in that market according to González-Gordon. He said: "We are concentrating in markets where we have distribution capacity. So in the US, the UK, Mexico- those would be some key markets that are our priorities.  In terms of brands Tio Pepe and sherry are critical.  We are also focusing on our Rioja wine brand Beronia."

The commitment to focus on long-term strategies and the philosophy that to sustainably grow a business, leadership cannot just look at the short- term has also helped Gonzales Byass expand more internationally. González-Gordon said: "We like to anticipate things and we are always looking for the long-term strategy. We like changes to take place little by little. The family is very supportive. They are happy to look at the long run. We want to keep on developing our international business. There is still a long way to go."

The historical knowledge base, specifically with the company's past experience of taking sherry to the global market, has also helped to better position Gonzáles Byass for international success.

"Sherry is fundamentally a global experience. We have presence with Tío Pepe in 105 markets. For us that is a big value. It is not so much having the volume itself as it is having the presence in these markets.  The fact that an international traveller can find our brand in selected places around the globe- that is very important.  We try to protect that and keep on building it," said González-Gordon.

Gonzales-Gordon attributes much of the company's international growth to the learnings and experience the company has had with sherry, the decision and investments to acquire distributors in key international markets and the pressure of the global financial crisis forcing the company to look to new markets.

He said: "With sherry almost 75% to 80% is exported and thus traditionally having more of international business by its nature was helpful when we got into other wine and spirits distribution. Secondly, it was our own decision to become more international based on our own experience and becoming more invested in our own distribution companies in the key markets. Thirdly we were hit by the economic crisis.  That gave us the impulse to look at other markets.  We realised that Spain was not going to grow for a number of years and that competition became really tough. That was a shorter term pressure which helped to push us in the direction that we had already decided to go in."