Perseverance, hard work, patience, innovation…The road to success requires us to take the biggest risks, commit to quality, and respect tradition without fear of the unknown, because our lineage has bequeathed us the passion and inspiration required to achieve our goals. This is what has transpired in the century old history of Hijos de Rivera, Spain’s fastest growing beverage producer.
HRH King Juan Carlos of Spain visits the factory.
This inspirational history begins with a dream, when José María Rivera Corral heeded the call of the land and returned home to Galicia after years of living in Veracruz, Mexico. Upon arrival, in 1906, the entrepreneur decided to establish a business in La Coruña with the intention of producing beer and ice, important commodities in turn of the century Spain. He named his company La Estrella de Galicia, paying homage to his business in Veracruz, La Estrella de Oro.
The development of his brand had to overcome the crises, wars, technological and cultural revolutions that marked the 20th century, only to evolve, with greater impetus, and become one of the most famous beverage labels in Spain. The business founded by Jose María Rivera Corral is known today as Hijos de Rivera, an independent company with 100% Spanish and family-owned capital. Its growing portfolio of products includes mineral water, wine, cider, sangria, liquors and, most importantly, beer. Don José María‘s dreams and illusions have multiplied, and now, Hijos de Rivera boasts an impressive collection of labels.
1. The original factory.
2. José María Rivera Corral.
3. 75th anniversary celebration.
The company has cultivated its own hops in Galicia since it opened its doors more than a century ago. Its star product is Estrella Galicia Special, a bright yellow brew carefully developed from a selection of particularly bitter malts and hops. It has a pleasant, refreshing aroma with outstanding spicy notes. On the mouth, it is neutral and light with a very distinct taste of hops.
On the other hand, 1906 Special Reserve, another praiseworthy beer from the Galician brand, is prepared from a selection of toasted malts and hops of the “Perle Hallertau” and “Nugget” varieties that give it its straightforward aroma and thick, elegant and round flavor. Other competitive beers from the firm include Special Light, Shandy Estrella Galicia and the non-alcoholic Estrella Galicia 0,0.
Estrella de Galicia.
But even though beer is their most recognizable product, Hijos de Rivera has expanded along the years to produce other beverages through the acquisition of national and regional brands. In 1994, they entered the bottled water business taking control of Aguas de Cabreiroa, a company that revolutionized the mineral water market by carefully looking after the springs where its curative waters come from.
History tells us that, in 1906, Nobel Prize Winner Santiago Ramón y Cajal certified the excellent quality and properties of the water from Cabreiroá, which, from that moment onward were declared minero-medicinal. Since the 1990s, Hijos de Rivera produces a range of bottled waters that is the envy of other leading competitors: among them stand out, Unica, Classic, Sparkling and Magma, pampered by the earth and directly bottled from the spring. Before it can be called Magma, the water must spend hundreds of years beneath the soil in total darkness. Its aluminum bottle keeps it that way until you open it and enjoy all its flavors and natural characteristics.
Cabeiroa bottled water.
At the dawn of the new millennium, Hijos de Rivera celebrated its 100th anniversary with a move towards modernity and innovation whilst keeping the same love and affection to family and land that characterized its founder. Ciders, juices, premium wines, coolers and liquors filled the production lines. This was the ideal moment to make the next move: international expansion.
Among their premium wines stands out Ponte da Boga, made with Mencía grapes. Its pretty ruby color and soft aromas are an invitation we cannot refuse, and the sensation on the mouth is characterized by lightness, freshness and low content of tannins, reminiscent of blackberries and raspberries. Their other premium wine, Blanco de Blancos, a great white, is the result of a harmonious blend of subtle Godello and lively Albariño grapes with a touch of Dona Braca.
The business that started in a small Galician brewery is present, today, in 30 countries with subsidiaries in key US markets, the Philippines, China, Japan and Brazil. Making its US debut in 2012 with the purchase of Balearic Beverage, their products are now available in the East Coast and Midwest. The West Coast of the US is the next frontier.
HRH King Juan Carlos of Spain and José María Rivera during the 100th anniversary of the firm.
The dream of José María Rivera Corral has come full circle and today, Hijos de Rivera, faithful to his legacy, is one of Spain’s most renowned beverage companies.