The Ice Business Comes to a Boil


Could anyone think that the ice cubes would conquer the champagne glasses? Möet & Chandon has turned into reality what would have been sacrilege years ago. In 2010, he launched Moët Ice Imperial, ” champagne made to drink with ice, of worldwide success. We go to break in stock breakage, and other brands imitate us, “says the firm’s spokesperson. Veuve Clicquot, from the same group, as well as the Maset del Lleó cava, have also climbed onto the ice car.

Spain is the second world market of Moët Ice Imperial and the great European consumer of food ice (cubes and chopped for cocktails). “In kilos per inhabitant, we double the consumption of the British, more than tripling that made by the Germans and multiply by five the French or Italians. The first world market is the United States, it triples our consumption “, says Miguel Ángel Vázquez, general director of Procubitos, and President of the Association of Food Ice Producers of Spain. The association has just been born to organize a market that exceeds 470 million euros (distributed, almost equal, between manufacturing, transport and sales margin).

The Spanish market does not stop growing. The new habits of alcoholic drinks made for ice and the fashion of cocktails on the beach push it. Cubiplaya, for example, produces 170 tons of ice per day, and nine tons are for cocktails. “It’s the mojitos ice, much in demand during the summer months on the Mediterranean coast,” says Nicolás López, manager of Cubiplaya. Ice is essential in summer. A giant disco cannot open if it lacks ice because it consumes about three tons in one night.

Another source of growth is heating, but a wave like this year, which has exhausted the ice stock, and has factories working 24 hours a day, is given every ten years. Ice has been the fastest growing product in the shopping basket of the first half of July with an interannual variation of 57%, according to Nielsen. Although, “even with the consumption of previous years, we will not stop growing because global warming lengthens and raises the summer temperature,” underlines Miguel Ángel López.

To respond to this increased competition, large manufacturers have switched to ABR machines, which consume 35% of the energy of old computers, and reduce maintenance costs, explains Francisco Went, President of Hielos de Vitoria. The little ones can not do it, they serve small districts, and keeping the smaller machines gives more headaches than anything else. The big ones talk to them to “sell the ice at their cost price, forcing them to close their facilities, and remain as distributors,” says Francisco Went.

Ice Sierra Nevada has become the largest commercial ice making machine manufacturer after absorbing the business of the little ones in their environment. “I make 365 tons of cubes a day, and I expand another 90 tons for 2016. I have grown from 15% to 20% annually since five years ago,” says Cristóbal García, its manager. The company sends a dozen of the trailer of 25 tons of ice daily to all of Spain, and only occasionally to the outside since the shipment of ice at a distance “is not profitable.” The Spanish engineering ABR has benefited from this boom since it has set up 12 of the 15 large Spanish factories. “We have made a new machine on Vogt’s American technology, very successful. We have set up factories in Germany, France, and Mexico, and we are budgeting one for the Arab Emirates. I am overwhelmed, and expanding staff, “says Máximo Romanillos, owner of ABR. The plant in Mexico is “the most modern in Latin America and the prototype of those that will be built throughout Mexico. There are major projects in this market, “adds one of its shareholders.