Mahou San Miguel is the largest brewing group in Spain, accounting for 70 percent of Spanish beer enjoyed around the world and producing some of the world’s best-known lagers, such as Mahou, San Miguel, and Alhambra.
Mahou San Miguel has expanded into India and the United States in the last four years, acquiring new production centers. During this four-year period, employee numbers have increased by 25 percent to over 3,200. “Our company is a leader in the Spanish market, where it accounts for more than a third of total market share,” explains Juan Pablo Lopez Borrega, new technology manager at Mahou San Miguel. “In addition to our eight production plants in Spain, we now have two in the United States and one in India.”
This expansion began in 2014, when Mahou San Miguel acquired Arian Breweries & Distilleries in India, which has about 120 employees working out of its New Delhi–based brewery. These employees had an incompatible enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool in place and so the company decided to introduce a new one in 2017, which could be accessed via the web. This would be a significant cloud project—but it wasn’t Mahou’s first.
“We first started working with Amazon almost by chance in 2015,” says Lopez Borrega. “It all began with an urgent need to store a large volume of data. We had a database of 45 billion redemption codes, which we were going to print on bottles so that customers could then redeem the codes online to score points via fidelity programs.”
The company stored the numbers using Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), configured for high availability, using the same Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) across multiple Availability Zones. Lopez Borrega admits that it was a two-horse race, with Azure as the potential alternative. “We were lucky to choose AWS because we could have easily gone with Azure,” Lopez Borrega admits. “Once we started working with AWS though, we saw that Amazon is more innovative and has a wider range of products than other service providers.”
Following the success of the redemption code project, Mahou San Miguel began to look at other areas that could be improved using AWS. The natural area to review next was web hosting and with a portfolio of sites spread across multiple hosting providers, there was significant room for improvement.
“We came up with the idea to consolidate all websites into just one account and wanted to avoid having to depend on external agencies,” Lopez Borrega explains. “The websites of our different brands—such as http://www.mahou.es/ and www.sanmiguel.es—used to be hosted through different web agencies, and we wanted to combine them into a single interface, where we could manage everything ourselves.”
Having consolidated the different hosting setups into one AWS account, the company controlled and monitored all its web properties with the AWS Management Console. This unified setup provided some cost savings for Mahou, but it wasn’t until the team was asked to create a web-based San Miguel Museum, enlisting the help of IT partner Linke, that Lopez Borrega realized just how big the savings could be. “One hosting company quoted €8,000 a year for the museum project,” says Lopez Borrega. “When we talked to our IT partner Linke about it they told us it would cost about €20 a year to host the site on AWS. The cost saving was formidable. The key point was to choose the right AWS architecture which is where Linke could help.”
After the acquisition of its Indian brewery, Mahou San Miguel undertook an internal audit, where it came to realize that the infrastructure didn’t comply with its requirements. The company identified a need for a new ERP system, and its decision on how to host it was guided by Mahou’s previous experience with AWS. “There were two options: installing it on-premises or implementing it in the cloud,” Lopez Borrega says. “Working with AWS allowed us to implement the project in the cloud at an incredibly fast pace. Had we done it on-premises, the implementation would have taken a whole year. Launching it in the cloud took us just six months.”
Slashing the project time and costs by 50 percent was achieved with the help and guidance of Linke, a Premier Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN), which was recommended to Mahou San Miguel by its AWS account manager. “When we started talking to AWS, we saw the need for an intermediary, and AWS suggested Linke,” says Lopez Borrega. “We are very satisfied with the job they have done. We understood AWS basics, but we needed Linke to help us with the implementation. AWS services and capabilities grow so fast that it’s important to be updated.”
In addition, based on previous projects, Lopez Borrega believes that there were savings of at least 50 percent on the project as a whole. “We would have had to buy machines to build the ERP on-premises” says Lopez Borrega. “The process would have been a lot more painful than building the infrastructure with a few simple mouse clicks which is how we did it.”
The Indian ERP is the latest chapter in Mahou San Miguel’s IT transformation. From a one-off project to store billions of redemption codes online, Mahou San Miguel now has 95 percent of its web pages in the cloud. And the management team has been impressed. “They’re delighted, because there are big cost savings,” explains Lopez Borrega. “And they realize that being able to say that we’re working with AWS adds credibility to our IT infrastructure. All the capabilities that you used to have on-premises are now in the cloud, and absolutely everything is taken care of.”
Founded in 2010 and with a staff of more than 50 experts, Linke is a Premier Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network. Linke uses DevOps as its development methodology, and has developed its own products to help streamline the deployment and operation of SAP systems in AWS.
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/vpc/.