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Américo Amorim, the King of Cork, dies

Thursday July 27 2017 by Vitisphere

The entrepreneur who championed exports in the 1960s and constantly pushed the boundaries of innovation, Américo Ferreira de Amorim, died on July 13 at the age of 82. He will be remembered for his pivotal role in diversifying the use of cork at a time when rival products were increasingly making their mark.

Over six decades, Américo Amorim established the world’s leading producer and marketer of cork stoppers. When he joined the company on September 1, 1952, it was no more than a small family firm, Amorim & Irmãos, founded by his grandfather in 1870 in Mozelos, 20 kilometres South of Oporto. With his brothers António, Joaquim and José, Américo Amorim rapidly focused on exports of natural corks to expand the family business. He founded Corticeira Amorim in 1963, thereby laying the foundations of diversification for the Amorim range. By recycling waste and scrap from the production of traditional corks, the new business produced agglomerated corks and created new uses for the material.

Now used for composite coatings and for insulation purposes – even for space shuttles – Amorim’s cork has also moved on by adapting wine closures. Recent launches include corks of French origin, a study on the productivity of oak forests, a tool to certify the absence of cork taint or TCA… and the famous Helix screw cork. This race for innovation underscores the competition that has developed in the wine closures market. Despite the emergence of synthetic corks and screwcaps, Amorim has remained the undisputed world leader of cork, both for production and marketing.

New generation

Since 2001, Amorim’s board of directors has been chaired by Américo Amorim’s son, António Rios de Amorim who continues to follow his father’s motto: do not limit yourself to “a single market, a single client, a single currency and a single product”. 

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