Alternative closures were all the rage in the 1990s and that has been a real challenge for the cork industry, which saw its dominance of the sector diminish considerably thanks to competitive closures such as screwcaps, glass closures, synthetic corks and cork composites. However, that trend seems to be turning around and the cork industry is feeling almost giddy.

No one could be more pleased than Antonio Amorium, President and CEO of Corticeira Amorim. The 43-year-old manager heads his family’s company, which is the world leader in cork production and has been for the past 150 years. The firm has a 70% market share and sales of 450 million euro in 103 countries. Still, they don’t rest on their laurels and Amorim spends five million euro a year on research and development. Alone, the firm accounts for 3% of Portugal’s export sales.

Photo courtesy hey mr glen via Flickr/CC

 “We took the competition very seriously and have heavily invested in R&D to find new technologies and new techniques. We have been able to regain our position vis-a-vis plastics because they have revealed themselves to be unreliable. They are fragile, prone to oxidation and hard to pull out of the bottle,” said Antonio Amorim, President and CEO of Corticeira Amorim.