SPAIN: Five years ago, a group of university students in Spain’s Basque Country decided they wanted to shake up a sector, any sector, but preferably one to do with food or drink.
So Imanol, Inigo, Gorka, Aritz and Taig picked the most traditional of them all and created blue wine, one of several innovations in a deeply conservative industry.
After two years of research at the University of the Basque Country with the help of in-house, professional chemical engineers and an outside centre for food innovation, they launched their company Gik Live! in 2015.
It sold 30,000 bottles in its first year and nearly half a million in 2017.
The young company now exports to 21 countries, the United States being its main market… and wine-loving France its second.
From five rookie entrepreneurs, the company has grown to 12 employees.
“We understand that for many people… wine is something sacred that must not be changed,” says Irish-Basque co-founder Taig Mac Carthy, standing at a bar in the company office in Portugalete, a northern town near Bilbao.
“But we like to change things and we’re not afraid to try,” he added.
The company says it is on track to make 1.5 million euros in turnover this year.