Somewhere in Jerez, Cadiz, in the Andalusian region of South Western Spain, are glorious vineyards growing very special Airen and Palomino grapes. Not far off are huge aging cellars that date back to the 18th century with the state-of-the-art blending and bottling facilities of Bodegas Fundador.
After being subjected to a long, carefully tended process, those grapes turn into Fundador Brandy, which traces back its ancestry to Pedro Domecq Loustau in 1874 and is considered one of the world’s best.
This patrimony has been handed down across generations of the Domecq family and in recent years was owned by Beam Suntory. That changed last Nov. 30, 2015 when tycoon Andrew Tan’s Grupo Emperador Spain S.A. bought Fundador and other assets for a whopping 275 million euros or $291M or to be more specific and for us to get a better picture of the deal, P13.8B.
This truly important news means that Fundador, Spain’s oldest brandy and a favorite in this country for over a hundred years, is now owned completely, utterly, totally, etc., etc. by a Filipino.
If I am not mistaken Tan’s Filipino brandy Emperador was once the local distributor of the Spanish Fundador. Emperador grew by big leaps and bounds over the years to become the biggest brandy company in the world. It is said to now boast of P29B in revenue and can, as shown by this recent event, afford to buy Fundador. So, this exciting development can be seen as a crowning achievement for the Filipino brand.
With the purchase, Emperador also acquired Terry Centenario Brandy, which is Spain’s biggest seller; Equatorial New Guinea’s favorite, the Tres Cepas Brandy; and Harvey’s Sherry, which is the top sherry wine in the United Kingdom.
So say what you will about this being proof that Pinoys do drink a lot or that there are more important concerns in the world today than making good brandy. The knowledge that a Filipino company now owns the time-honored Fundador and the fact that the Philippines is now a major investor in Spain, certainly makes one proud.
This deal has opened new doors for the Filipino liquor industry. What was once out-of-reach has become reality. I have a feeling we will now be seeing Emperador in the wine stores of Paris, London or Rome and other cosmopolitan cities.
Emperador is, of course, celebrating big. And to do this, it has chosen to do it with a very special song, Tagumpay Nating Lahat, the iconic Gary Granada composition from 1988. First popularized by Lea Salonga, the song was written in the midst of the public euphoria that came in the wake of the EDSA Revolution. Coincidentally, its theme of a winning, shared experience is totally in keeping with the Emperador slogan. “Sa totoong tagumpay,” it says and the tagumpay in this case is indeed very real.
Tagumpay Nating Lahat is now heard on the soundtrack of the celebratory television commercial from Emperador, Inc. The theme is the Filipino spirit of bayanihan where everybody stands up to help somebody in need, with no thought of gain. In this case, the job is to put together a community housing project. To celebrate its finish, everybody gets together with the famous Emperador Light, Emperador’s best-selling product in the Philippines.
One of the most successful discoveries of the Metro Manila Popular Song Festival in the late ‘70s, Granada was also responsible for the hits Kahit Konti, Mabuti Pa Sila, Bahay, Saranggola Sa Ulan, Pag Nananalo Ang Ginebra, Salamat Musika, Pag-ibig Lang, Babadap-badap and others.
The fact that people are responding positively to Tagumpay Nating Lahat in the commercial is proof of the enduring appeal of the compositions of Granada. It is the right choice as his songs like good brandy just get better with the years.