Portugal’s coffee king Rui Nabeiro dies

 In Coffee Industry, Food and drink, News

The Portuguese coffee entrepreneur Rui Nabeiro, who founded the international brand Delta Cafés, has died at the age of 91.

“It is with deep sadness that the Nabeiro family inform that on Sunday, March 19, the Commander of the Portuguese Republic, Rui Azinheis Nabeiro, President and Founder of the Grupo Nabeiro Delta Cafés has passed away”, states a communiqué from the group.
And continues: “His entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic were always present in the decisive moments in his life. In 1961 he founded Delta Cafés that went on to become a company group that today is the market leader in coffees sold in Portugal, and has an expanding presence in international markets.
“The entire Delta family is deeply saddened by this loss and extends sincere condolences to all those who have today also lost a great friend. We are all committed to continuing his legacy and honouring his vision, continuing to produce the best coffee in the world, supporting local communities and promoting sustainability.”
Manuel Rui Azinhais Nabeiro was born on March 28, 1931, in the small Alentejo town of Campo Maior into a humble family. He began working at the age of 12.
At the age of 17, when his father died, he took over the family company, a small coffee roasting business. Rui Nabeiro focused on selling coffee to Spain, and later set up a business with his uncles, Torrefação Camelo (Camel Roasting), which was later sold.
In 1961 he created Delta Cafés. “In the Alentejo small town of Campo Maior from a small 50 metres warehouse and with few resources he began the business with just two 30 kg drum roasters” states the company’s web site. The company is 62 years old.
Before the April 1974 Revolution Rui Nabeiro was elected Mayor of Campo Maior twice, in 1962 and in 1972. After the Revolution he served a third term in 1977, and further terms until 1986.
A market leader, he founded Novadelta in 1982 and created a roasting factory, the largest on the Iberian peninsula at the time. In 1988 he set up the holding Nabeirogest which included investments in agriculture and vineyards, food and beverage distribution, car retail, real state, and hotels.
In 1995 the then President Mário Soares bestowed on him the Civil Order of Merit – Agricultural, Industrial and Industrial Commerce Class. In 2006 President Jorge Sampaio awarded him with the decoration Commander of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator.
In 2007 he inaugurated the Alice Nabeiro Education Centre to meet the extra-curricula needs of school children in Campo Maior. With sponsorship from Delta, Évora University set up the Rui Nabeiro Chair aimed at promoting research in education and scientific promotion in biodiversity.

Photo: Grupo Nabeiro Delta Cafés