Michelin-starred chef José Carlos García with Israel Bergillos. :: A. PELÁEZ
To say the owners of Cervezas Murex, Antonio Montes Durán and Israel Bergillos, are surprised would be an understatement. After all, they have only been in production since February and have already sold all they can produce until 2015. They are the first in Spain to make beer using sugar cane juice and the response has been phenomenal. They have signed a contract with El Corte Inglés, they are in negotiations with Maskom and are about to send their first consignments to clients in the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Their success has even reached the British press, the number one magazine in trends, fashions, architecture and lifestyle ‘Wallpaper’ has featured their artisan beer.
“We have just signed an agreement with a large chain of stores to supply a total of 28 of their establishments including those in Andalucía, some in Madrid, Alicante and Murcia,” explained the commercial director, Israel Bergillos. The contact with the chain’s purchasing team came as a result of Murex attending the Salón de Gourmet Fair in Madrid under the umbrella of the ‘Sabor a Málaga’ label.
“Being at the fair was a key moment for us as it opened numerous doors and made us known to a number of Spanish chefs who have loved our products,” commented Bergillos.
The result was that Murex has been over run with orders. “We believe totally in our products but we couldn’t have imagined the amazing reception they’ve had,” he confessed.
The response has meant the owners of the company are having to think about moving to larger premises, at the moment they are occupying a mere 50 square metres in the centre of Torre del Mar.
“Demand is growing so much that we are making 3,000 litres a week; it’s clear we need to find a new location to house a bigger bottling plant and more manufacturing equipment,” pointed out Antonio Montes, the master beer-maker.
According to Montes, who is a chemist by profession, what characterises Murex beer is that it is 100 per cent natural, without additives or gas, unlike industrially produced beers.
“We make Blonde, Amber, Double Malt and Black beers and beer from sugar cane juice. People imagine that the sugar cane juice will make the beer very sweet but that is far from the case; it is a unique product,” says Montes.
The company has been negotiating with some farmers to start growing sugar cane in the region, 25 years after the sugar cane industry completely disappeared. At the moment their supplies come from Salobreña in Granada province.
Murex is sold at more than 40 outlets in Malaga and the company is promoting its beers with tastings at numerous hotels and restaurants.