Today we’d like to introduce you to Jim Riley.

Jim, President of Baja United Group, has had an epic journey on his way to importing wine and beer from Baja, Mexico. A decorated professional off-road racer with a high school education, Jim has turned his innate business acumen and can-do attitude into a series of business successes. Starting off working in his grandfather’s burger shop as a teenager, Jim was immersed in old-fashioned work ethic and customer service. And, as the youngest store manager of In-N-Out Burger, he was the first to sell 1 million burgers at a single location and helped to create the Cook Out Trailer.

Jim’s first big “yes” landed him a position as the Food and Beverage Director at the Sierra Tahoe Ski Resort where he transformed the food at the day resort and built its reputation as the go-to spot for high-quality food in Tahoe. The next “yes” for Jim was to join Ketel One Vodka as the company’s first marketing hire and launch the brand in major cities across the U.S. Jim then created a spirits brand from scratch, Azunia Tequila, raising 5 million dollars to launch the brand in 43 U.S. markets. After backing away from managing the Azunia Tequila business, Jim thought he would take it easy and spend more time enjoying his beloved outdoor sports, but then something stopped Jim in his tracks and motivated him to give his trademark enthusiastic “yes.”

That something was an orphanage in Baja California, Mexico. After years of successfully building businesses, Jim realized that the meaning behind what you do is what matters most and using his skills and passions to give back is what he is passionate about –- the Baja United Group was formed. Live. With Purpose. Baja United Group imports wine from several wineries in the booming Valle de Guadalupe region into the U.S. and produces Baja United handcrafted beers, brewed in Ensenada, Baja California. The company also plans wine adventures and hotel experiences.

President Jim Riley and the other founders of Baja United Group have been helping to support local orphanages in the Baja area for 20 years. Through the company, they plan to expand their mission by continuing to provide food, education and personal advancement opportunities for the children of Baja. Jim’s love affair with the Baja Peninsula started years ago when Jim first started off-road racing across the region – winning the Vintage Baja 1000 in a 71 Nova twice and once in a 57 Chevy. The majestic natural beauty of the valley and warmth of the people he met in Baja inspired his vision.

The primary goal of the company is to create a sustainable business in Baja and secure ongoing resources for the children of Baja. Baja United Group is off to a stellar beginning, having raised over 200k through crowdsourcing and secured wide distribution through Young’s Market Company.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Raising Capital is always challenging. Finding the right business partners that understand the term “Startup”!

Please tell us about Baja United Group.
We Import wine from Mexicos, Valle De Guadalupe. We are unique in the fact that we are pioneers in bringing these wines to the US Market for mass distribution. We also make charity a foundation of what we are doing. We donate 3% of our earnings to the Orphanages in Mexico

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Staying with my Grandparents for the summer on the Ranch! Watching the trainers work with racehorses, learning to drive a truck, and spending time in the kitchen with my Grandmother cooking.

Pricing:

  • Average wine prices range from 13.99 – 69.99

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