From Tequila to Tech – Manuel Gonzalez’s Quest to Unite Food and Finance

“Hold on a minute, I need to get my mojo ready”

Manuel Gonzalez steps behind a black curtain and fiddles with his microphone as he prepares to make his entrance on stage at FoodBytes! Boulder. As founder of the FoodBytes! event, he is clearly in his milieu, comfortable and confident.  He tucks a stray wire behind the neatly pressed lapel of his blazer worn over a plain black shirt that hints at his air of Silicon Valley business-cool.

“You’re up, Mr. Gonzalez.” says an aid, ushering Gonzalez onto the stage.

“Mr. Gonzalez was my father. Call me Manuel.”

Manuel Gonzalez Guzman was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, a large city in the Jalisco region famed for its mariachi culture and tequila.

“Tequila was really my first love,” said Gonzalez. “Oh God, I love tequila.”

Gonzalez’s love of the liquor derived from the native blue agave plant blossomed while studying at the Universidad Panamericana, but not for the typical reasons a college student might love tequila.

“I loved the craft of it, the growing it. It’s beautiful,” says Gonzalez, “ I especially loved the business of it.”

His affinity for food and commerce lead him to earn a degree in business administration and finance. After graduation, Gonzalez worked in and around the agri-business sector for several years before founding his own business in 1987, according to his LinkedIn profile.

 

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