On 4 April, Juan José de la Huz Pinedo was born in Villamayor de Santiago (Cuenca - Spain), into a family of merchants. He grew up around suppliers, customers, behind the counter and surrounded by all types of goods, food and otherwise.
When he was 10, he began to help his mother in the family business, taking on an increasing amount of responsibility and gaining valuable experience and information for his future.
At 13, he met María de los Ángeles Grimaldos Perucho, who would later become his wife.
Juan José and Mª Ángeles married in Madrid and then moved to Villamayor de Santiago, where they opened a grocery store featuring all of the sections typically found in supermarkets today (deli counter, fruit and vegetables, bakery, household products, etc.).
Juan José de la Huz, in his desire to advertise the products he sold, and increasingly focusing his efforts on the products he was most interested in –cheeses and cold cuts– began to move out of the shop, first as a travelling salesman and then consolidating customers he would visit regularly, which led him to take on additional staff.
Over this time, Juan José de la Huz became GRIHUZ S.L., starting to distribute cold cuts, hams and cheeses. In these years, he reached sales agreements with some of the top Spanish brands in the cold cuts sector, as the exclusive distributor of these products in the GRIHUZ S.L. sphere of influence. At the same time, he was also the exclusive representative of a small cheese manufacturer in Villamayor de Santiago, which was forced to close its doors after its owner’s death, leaving GRIHUZ S.L. without one of its star products. This led Juan José de la Huz, first to continue providing GRIHUZ S.L. with a stock of cheese and later recognizing a good business opportunity, to take the leap and begin producing his own cheese.
QUESERIAS VILLAMAYOR S.L. was founded and became a member of the Manchego Cheese Denomination of Origin Regulating Council.
With the help of GRIHUZ S.L., the “DON CAYO” and “DE LA HUZ” brands of cheese began to be sold around Spain. Slowly but surely, they gained market recognition in the region and throughout Spain, aided by the various awards received (Gran Selección del Queso Manchego 1996, Fercam 1994 and 1995, etc.) in contests held by public and private organizations in the cheese sector.
This allowed him to forge commercial alliances with various national distributors, with which the company still works, bringing “DON CAYO” and “DE LA HUZ” to markets around Spain.
This sales growth also led to changes in the company’s structure and the introduction of new machinery to allow for greater production volume.
With the arrival of the second generation (Jesús de la Huz and Miguel de la Huz), the company began to introduce internal changes in terms of mechanization and computer systems. This included the creation of an external quality department to implement an HACCP system, with which the company took a qualitative leap forward and began to tackle larger national and international markets, selling several products on a wider scale within Spain and reaching agreements with exporters to cover markets like the USA, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Andorra, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, etc. with which the company continues to work to this day. At the same time, over these years the company was included on the lists of exporters covering countries including Chile, Peru, Argentina and Panama.
The quality policy the company had implemented from the beginning continued to bear fruit over these years both nationally, in the form of numerous awards (Gran Selección del Queso Manchego 2002, 2003 and 2007, FERCAM 2005, 2006 and 2008 and Cofradía del Queso Manchego 2005), and internationally (Great Taste Awards 2008 and 2012, and World Cheese Awards 2008). This reached its peak in 2009, when the “DON CAYO” Manchego Cheese won the gold medal at the prestigious “WORLD CHEESE AWARDS”, selected from among more than 2,000 cheeses by more than 140 professional tasters from around the world. At the same contest, “DON CAYO” was also awarded two silver medals.
From 1 January, the company came to be known officially as DE LA HUZ GRIMALDOS INDUSTRIAS LÁCTEAS S.L., and continued striving to improve current facilities and to launch new computer and traceability systems to continue offering top-quality products and service.
The company continued to boost exports and, throughout the year, expanded its portfolio of customers abroad, including markets like Italy, Norway, France, the Netherlands and Hong Kong (China).
In September, as a result of their ongoing commitment to new technology, the company launched the De La Huz Cheese Online Shop on the Rakuten marketplace: www.rakuten.es/shop/quesosdelahuz
In November, the “DE LA HUZ” Sheep Cheese Aged in Iberian Lard won the silver medal at the “WORLD CHEESE AWARDS”, in the category of pure sheep cheese with additives.
In July 2014, the company celebrated its 25th anniversary, selling a Special Edition of the Manchego Viejo Don Cayo Gran Reserva Mature Manchego Cheese, ripened for 14 months. This limited edition was sold in a wooden box with the 25th anniversary seal.
At the international level, it continues to expand the number of export destination countries.
The company works throughout the year in the adaptation of its facilities and internal processes to the implementation of the IFS, standard of quality and food safety, in order to address in the future, the national and international most demanding markets.
In November, the company gets two new international awards: at the "World Cheese Awards", the "DON CAYO" Manchego Cheese Aged receives gold medal and the “DE LA HUZ” Sheep&Goat Cheese in Lard, Raw Milk, gets bronze medal.
IFS Food Certification, recognized international standard of quality and food safety, is obtained, fulfilling the demands on the Higher Level.