In 1895 Francisco Carrasco, a mule driver from Guijuelo, decided to take advantage of the arrival of rail in the Salamancan locality courtesy of a stop on the Gijon-Seville line. Carrasco began bring pigs to the town from various districts, mainly Galicia and Extremadura, before starting a small ham curing business. His determination to create a business based on honesty, commitment and quality helped him lay the solid foundations of the Carrasco we know today. He involved the whole family, who learned the secrets of the craft from childhood, from preparing the products to running the business. Walks through the fields and past the dryers gave birth to a love for the product and for unique cuts. Thus this artisan, family company was born and more than a century and four generations moved by passion for the product have made Carrasco-Guijuelo the world's leading Iberico ham brand.
In the 1950s Francisco Carrasco's three sons initiated the first overhaul of the brand with the acquisition of a farm in Jerez de Caballos (in Badajoz) on which to raise Iberian pigs, and the construction of an abattoir in Guijuelo. The Iberian breed was beginning to assume importance, although it would still take some years to acquire the prestige it enjoys today.
Atanasio was succeeded by his son Santos, who consolidated the business. The brand's personality and unique values, shaped by a laudable family tradition and a profound respect for the product, enabled Carrasco to lead the process to create the Guijuelo Denomination of Origin. Thus was the commitment to quality and craftsmanship reaffirmed.
Santos remains in the business today, although he has gradually handed it over to his children. Juan Atanasio is manager and CEO, while Francisco heads the sales and marketing department. Both have significantly reformed the business and faced the expansion process supported by constant innovation, including the company's own sales network and the construction of new facilities incorporating the latest technologies, while maintaining a 100% artisan approach. The company has ISO 9000 quality certification and has created new formats for its products, such as cans for its pork loin. The quest for excellence involved the strategic decision to open company branches in Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao, and to commence an international expansion process that has given the brand a presence in the major foreign markets.