Bavaria Brewery, one of the oldest privately held and run companies in the Netherlands, was awarded the 20th annual IMD-Lombard Odier Global Family Business Award at the 26th Summit of the Family Business Network International (FBN-I) in Montreux, Switzerland.
Awarded by IMD, a top-ranked global business school, and by Lombard Odier, one of the main private banks in Europe, this prize is regarded by many as the most prestigious for successful family businesses. It recognises the way in which such firms unite family interests with those of the business and combine tradition and innovation while demonstrating a clear commitment to their local community.
Bavaria, represented in Malta by BeerHouse Ltd and distributed by GSD Marketing Ltd, is the second largest brewery in The Netherlands which was founded before 1680 and has been owned and run by the Swinkels family since 1764. A global brewer with roots in local ground, the company is in its seventh generation of family ownership and leadership. It had revenues of $503.9 million in 2014, operates in more than 120 countries and employs approximately 1,000 people.
This year, the Award is celebrating its 20th anniversary and pays tribute to a long list of prestigious recipients. It renews its commitment to recognising and documenting exceptional family business performance, enhancing its role as a platform for family businesses to exchange best practices, analyse the economic situation and learn from each other. Previous winners include world-class companies such as LEGO, Ayala Corporation, S.C. Johnson, Hermès, Barilla, Yazaki Corporation, Merck, Firmenich and Bel Group.
Bavaria was described as unique in finding solutions as a mid-sized company that has been operating in the fiercely competitive beverages industry. The Swinkels family has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to be resilient and innovative in finding solutions to adapt their business model to changing industry and market structures. Their visionary family leadership included not only the business dimension but has identified ways to solve the classic family business dilemmas and be flexible in defining structures that would strengthen the family business identity over time and invest into preparing the next generations for getting involved.
“The task of each generation is to find out what’s happening in society and adapt to it. It is a matter of staying ‘fresh’,” explained J.-R. Swinkels (7th generation, CEO). Today, a team of 7th generation cousins is leading the operative business and has developed original marketing strategies and successful niche market strategies to compete with global multibillion dollar competitors with a strong commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
The family business is the oldest and most widespread business model throughout the world. A major source of revenue, jobs and tax contributions, family businesses are key players in the economic system and often serve as models for long-term growth, profitability, stability and survival through periods of crisis.
The award trophy is fashioned out of crystal and bears the shape of a tree – a symbol of family businesses. It was generously donated by the Scheufele family from Chopard and was crafted in Geneva – a further example of a successful family business in the global arena.