San Miguel and Museo Carmen Thyssen: a match made in Málaga.

Museo Carmen Thyssen is a recently-opened art gallery in Málaga with paintings from Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza´s personal collection, which she and her late husband amassed over the past 30 years. It is situated in the Palacio de Villalon in Málaga, a beautiful 16th-century palace with a traditional colonnaded patio, the refurbishment of which cost a staggering 20 million euros.
Since its inauguration the museum has hosted two important exhibitions: De Picasso a Tàpies. Pintura española del siglo XX (From Picasso to Tapies. Spanish 20th-century painting), and Modern Tradition in the Carmen Thyssen Collection: Monet, Picasso, Matisse and Miro. The museum also celebrates important local events such as the Feria and Semana Santa, and organises a variety of mini-exhibitions with movie screenings and live flamenco performances. They also run summer programmes for children and family activity days.

To ensure the continued success of the museum, and Málaga´s tourism in general, Museo Carmen Thyssen has joined forces with world-famous beer company Mahou-San Miguel. The agreement was officially confirmed last week between the Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza; the president of her eponymous museum; Francisco de la Torre, the museum´s vice president and Mayor of Málaga; and Jesús Nuñez, director of RSC for Mahou-San Miguel.

According to the agreement, San Miguel beer will be the official sponsor of Museo Carmen Thyssen until 2015, during which time the two entities will work together to develop initiatives including concessions for families, and Día de San Miguel, which will be celebrated at the museum on 29 September every year; and to increase awareness of activities hosted there, which they hope in turn will reinforce Málaga´s image as a city renowned for its artistic and cultural wealth.

To celebrate the union, Mahou-San Miguel hosted a press conference at their San Miguel Factory in Málaga (just next door to Málaga aiport). I went along with´s Head of Sales, Ana Manzano to gather information for our readers. At the conference, the Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Francisco de la Torre and Jesús Nuñez each spoke about the union, expressing their excitement, gratitude and anticipation as to what the alliance will bring to the museum and to Málaga. The baroness emphasised the importance of such an allegiance in the current economic crisis, gracefully quashing comments about her wealth by replying “I am a millionaire in art, not in money” – a delightfully succinct response.
After the press conference, the baroness, the mayor and Jesús Nuñez shared a glass of cold San Miguel beer, toasting the future success of the sponsorship and the prosperity of Málaga. When the toast was over and the paparazzi sated, we were invited on a tour of the factory – which we naturally accepted.

The first thing that hit me when I walked into the factory was the noise. The sound from the machines was incredible; I was not surprised to see all the workers wearing ear protection, and found myself wishing that instead of the delightful (ahem) plastic safety goggles we were given, we had instead received ear plugs. The second shock was the immense heat and humidity; the outside temperature was 32 degrees and inside the factory it was even hotter. I was also amazed to see the speed at which the machinery worked; this went some way to explaining the massive statistic that every year San Miguel produces 12.5 hectolitres (1 hectolitre = 100 litres) of beer per year!
We were informed about the production process (although I struggled to hear over the machinery) and shown a video about the long history of San Miguel, whose roots are actually in the Philippines, and learned that San Miguel was the first company to export beer from Spain.

After the tour came the moment we had all been waiting for; we were invited to “sample the goods” as it were. This was an offer we could not refuse, and so Ana and I went along and had a taste of the new Apple-flavoured beer, which was deliciously crisp and refreshing after a walk around the sweltering factory, whilst nibbling on the delightful pinchos of cheese, Serrano ham and chorizo laid out for us. If only all press conferences came with such perks! A very enjoyable and informative afternoon, and I look forward to seeing what the union brings to both the museum and to Málaga.

Blog published on 4 June 2012