The Second Generation Enters the Family Business: Eugenio Garza Sada (1897-1973) and the Cuauhtémoc Brewery

Gabriela Recio

From its inception in 1890, the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc in the northern city of Monterrey in Mexico was a family business.  The first generation, guided by Isaac Garza, took advantage of better-connected railway and financial services to sell different brands of beer across the country and started to substitute imports before 1910.  Due to competition from other industries as well as from the U.S., supply of labor in the region was scarce and as a result the brewery was a pioneer in offering its workers medical and educational services to its employees well before government regulations in Mexico required employers to offer them.

The years of 1890-1910 was a period of growth for the brewery but ultimately the Revolution (1910-1917) halted this expansion.  Isaac Garza and his sons -Eugenio and Roberto Garza Sada (both trained as engineers at MIT)- would lead the company into its reconstruction and would help it navigate the turbulent waters of post revolutionary Mexico.  By the 1960s Eugenio along with his brother Roberto had created a vast industrial group in Monterrey that in addition to the brewing company had broadened its investments into glass, steel and synthetic fibers.

This paper explores the early life of Eugenio Garza Sada.  Upon his graduation as a civil engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1914, Eugenio was prevented from returning to Monterrey due to the fact that revolutionaries were in possession of the brewery.  Instead he went to Houston, where at the end of 1913, the family had fled escaping the violence. He finally entered the family business in 1917 when the company was trying to recuperate from the repercussions that the upheavals had left and to the new left-leaning policies of the new local and national governments.