Business Review: Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala

Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala is a leading organization which is dedicated to the production and distribution of the finest aged rums and other high quality products, in both the national and the international markets. The company has a highly qualified staff capable of innovation, which is also committed to its core values ​​and organizational goals. Its quality is guaranteed by the ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14000 and HACCP / ISO 22000 Quality Systems certifications.

The company’s mission is to satisfy the most demanding tastes around the world through their aged rums and other products of the highest quality and excellence, by constantly innovating with a team that is committed to sustained profitability and growth, and social responsibility.

The beginnings

“Alcohol consumption as part of social interaction, entertainment, cultural rituals, celebrations, etc. – it comes from ancient times along with fire and fermentation; it’s almost as old as humanity itself. In Guatemala, it comes from the pre-Hispanic times in a ceremonial way.” This is what Luis Ibáñez, General Director of Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, tells us.

In the 1930s, any person or family interested in working in the production of liqueurs and spirits had to request authorization from the state of Guatemala to be able to produce it.

“There were factories in almost all of Guatemala’s departments, since marketing was assigned to each manufacturer within a specific territory. Each factory had its production and its own brands,” as Ibáñez explains.

At the end of the 1940s the law that regulates the production, merchandising and aging activities for Alcoholic Beverages and Alcohols was made. Given the need to have spaces for the aging process of alcoholic beverages, a pioneer group of producers understood the need to begin integrating activities in order to be able to respond to that scenario. They also understood that the only way to provide better distillation and aging technology, achieve appropriate production scales and subsequently distribute in a more efficient way, was by joining forces. That is how Industrias Licoreras de Guatemalawas created and today, after more than 75 years, it is a fully integrated industry, endowed with state-of-the-art technology in its production processes and a benchmark for the local industry.

Growth and leadership

Fundamentally ILG has grown in the national industry due to the high quality of products that it has been offering for over 75 years, in the form of well-known and well-liked brands in the Guatemalan market.

The integration of the productive chain has been key in the possibility of offering products of the highest quality, because they control the entire process: from the sowing of sugarcane – fundamental raw material whose special care exceptionally nourishes the whole process – and of course the modern distilling center, aging centers and bottling plants for its products.

“In ILG we have great innovation capacities, we are well-attuned with the industry’s trends and we have created an additional broad range of flavors, varieties of packaging and new brands to solve needs for various occasions of consumption and for different audiences with different needs”, Ibáñez points out.

ILG produces one of the most commercialized rums in more countries around the world and the most renowned brand in Latin America. It was recognized by the country’s legal framework, i.e. the “Ron de Guatemala Denomination of Origin”; their aged rums are internationally ranked as “Premium Rums” and are well-known for their quality. Currently, the company has a portfolio of more than 156 SKUs distributed across 32 brands between dark, aged rums; aged, crystal rums; white rums, flavored rums, white and flavored spirits, and pre-mixed.

“In the international market we have grown hand in hand with two brands – one of them through a Joint Venture with the world-renowned giant of Spirits-Diageo and their Zacapa brand. And in recent times we have also developed other brands, such as the Botrán brand,” as the executive explains.

Leadership strategies

The strategies that ILG follows nowadays are very clear, as Luis Ibáñez explains:

  • Constant innovation: keeping up with trends in liquids and packaging, following and surprising consumers.
  • High-end products: high quality premium brands that are enjoyed all around the world.
  • Maximize our presence in the Guatemalan market through other categories beyond our traditional Spirits and Rums.
  • Increase our presence in international markets through creative associative forms and / or distributor networks that take our products to the demanding palates abroad.

Commitment that passes on from generation to generation

ILG is a long-standing industry in Guatemala and as such it has been a reference for some generations; currently it has collaborators with many years of experience. This commitment has been passed on almost generationally to the most recent beginners in a combination of tradition and modernity, which is balanced but with the same DNA committed to keep being an emblematic industry in the country.

These days, the company also uses modern tools such as talent management and administration by objective, and high performance teams are encouraged in order to be competitive in the demanding international market.

“Perhaps the cohesive element of our culture is the pride of producing the finest rums in the world,” says Ibáñez. He then continues: “We make products that are very well-adjusted to the taste of consumers and new trends. We never compromise the quality of our products: they are always made under the strictest of standards and we aim to provide the consumer with a complete experience from the packaging, all the way through the liquid and ending with the ambiance and the way to consume them.”

Our commitment to society and the environment

“Since 2015, we have decided to play an active and committed role in our relations with communities,” Ibáñez tells us.

During those three years we have taught different courses to women from each of the surrounding communities, empowering them in different trades with the goal of making them into small businesswomen. We also contribute with the education in schools by making improvements to their infrastructure. And as for health, several medical days are held each year.

“Our vision and goal is to strengthen our relationship with them over the next 5 years in three specific areas: health, integral development and education,” the executive points out.

As part of the commitment to international markets, a series of guidelines have been implemented that allow us to earn different certifications; among them, to be the first aged rum in the world to have a seal of sustainability. Thus, committed to a better future:

It is the first mill in Guatemala that recirculates 97% of the water used in its manufacturing processes, therefor having reduced the consumption of water for the process by 66% in the last 4 years.

  • In the production of rums, the company has stopped consuming up to 50% of fossil fuels replacing them with biogas.
  • An average of 20,000 trees have been reforested annually in the areas of influence. This year the record was broken by the sowing of more than 50,000 trees.

Consolidate achievements and look to the future

Due to production standards throughout the integrated production chain, it has become one of the company’s main objectives to provide consumers with products of the highest quality, as well as the importance to the relationship with the different international markets. We have earned different certifications that allow us to be at the level of the best producers in the world.

In commercial terms, some of the company’s brands have participated and earned awards in fine distillates: Aguardiente Venadoin ITQI and Monde Selection; gold medal for “Ron Botran Cobre“, in the category of spiced rum at the Rum Festival in Madrid; and gold medal for “Ron Botran Solera“, of the Premium category in the same festival.

“During the last two years we have expanded over the industry in a vigorous way; now what we have to do is consolidate growth in a sustained manner based on the domination of the local market and a more accentuated access in the international market,” Ibáñez concludes.

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