TO Mahou San Miguel is known for its beers, a product with which they have been working successfully for 125 years. However, the firm has a water business unit created in 2011, after the purchase of Sole of goats and whose portfolio has not stopped growing: flavored waters (multifruit, orange, lemon, apple and orange) or functional. On the less brewing side of Mahou, we talked to the General Manager of the Water and Refreshment section of the Spanish multinational, Jesús Núñez, who foresees a growth above the market average and that comes from two months of record sales (July and August):
«For us Solán de Cabras has always been the jewel of the crown in Spain », says Núñez who says that Mahou's president often confesses that taking this mythical mineral water – whose history goes back to Roman times and whose waters were already taken by Charles IV – has been one of his great aspirations. In seven years, this area already represents the 19% of business volume of the brewery and employs 187 people spread around three springs (Beteta and Fuente del Arca in Cuenca and Los Villares in Jaén). Only last year Mahou invested 5.6 million euros in the improvement of all these facilities, a figure that could reach 15 million this year.
Among the most important investments, one that affects the historical heritage of Castilla – La Mancha: the recovery of the luegar where the kings of Spain took the waters in Beteta (Cuenca). «The world of mineral water seems to us interesting and synergistic: So much so that, on the cheaper side, we have been giving very good returns at the level of Ebitda, volume, or net sale », says Núñez whose department has closed this year the purchase of Aguas del Valle de La Orotava, owner of brands like "Fonteide", and in which Mahou has a 75.15% share. «We feel very linked to the Archipelago where we have a business unit – it is the second largest brewer in sales volume in the Islands-, and one of our ambitions is to have a relevant place in the world of mineral water, in the brands of value» , says the water manager of Mahou who points out that «Fonteide» is already a leader in Tenerife.
Mahou Water Business Unit has also launched new launches this year: For example, in May brought to the market the functional waters, which contain 90% of Solán de Cabras together with fruit juice and natural aromas such as pink grapefruit, orange blossom or pomegranate, as well as vitamins of group B. In particular, you can already consume «SOlán de Cabras Defense » Y «Solán de Cabras Repair».
In repecto, Núñez explains that this product is«Packed in a protective atmosphere» and to which the flavors are added, whose sugar has been replaced by the natural sweetener estracta of Stevia, leaving the sugar coming from the fructose. «Defense, for example, with the addition of vitamin that is the pink grapefruit and the orange blossom (B6 and B12) helps the immune system », says Núñez who announces« more news next year ».
Despite still representing only 2% of the sales of the Mahou Water and Refreshment area, as well as the rest of the brewing activity, its internationalization is growing: since 2014, turnover has grown 57%and Solán de Cabras has presence in more than 30 countries in Europe, America or Asia. "People identify it with Spain, with our five-star hotels, Iberia, Real Madrid …", says Núñez.
Almost a quarter of the sales of the well-known brand of mineral water come from Japan. "It is our first market, with levels of vigor that have given us many headaches," says the manager of Waters and Refreshments of Mahou who as an example talks about inspections bottle by bottle before selling in supermarkets.
Apart from the Asian country, Solán has made its way in China and, especially, this year in U.S– «a milestone» – or Singapaur. Also highlight sales in Holland, Czech Republic, Dubai, Thailand, Russia or Chile. Meanwhile, debuts in Lebanon or Jordan.