Made in Croatia

Istrian Entrepreneur Launches First Croatian Organic Ginger Beer

By 7 April 2019

Marko Bratović, an entrepreneur from Kaštelir in Istria, will soon launch a craft tonic and a ginger beer under the Count's Drinks brand. The first 600-litre series is expected around Easter, reports on April 7, 2019.

“The idea came spontaneously, through personal experience. My wife Urša wanted to drink ginger beer in pregnancy, and we realised that there was no such beer on our market. We started producing it at home and realised that we could achieve excellent quality and that no one is producing a completely natural, craft tonic. The idea was born, and we started to work on it with the desire to market something completely new, which will win over fans of natural craft drinks and eventually become recognisable,” explains Marko Bratović.

The main ingredient of their premium craft tonic is the bark of the Chinese plant chinchona, which they acquire from Ecuador. The ginger beer gets its flavour thanks to organic ginger with an ecological certificate from Peru, giving the drink its recognisable aroma. Also, explains Bratović, to refine the taste of drinks, they use lemon, lime and orange exclusively from organic production, with citrus fruits coming from domestic producers, mostly from southern Dalmatia.

“We financed the investment with our own money and savings, and with a loan. We have invested about 40,000 euros for now, and most of that amount was spent on the equipment. We did not want to go with the full investment right now, but we will rather wait for the market response to our products. If everything goes according to the plan, the value of the investment will increase, and the production will expand,” says Bratović.

A significant problem was the packaging because it represents almost half of the price of the finished product. They needed 0.2-litre bottles, transparent and suitable for carbonated drinks. The solution was found with a German glass company.

The reason why they opted for the Count's Drinks name lies in the special ingredient of beverages, the so-called Count's water from Count's source in Tolmin in the Slovenian Alps. According to Bratović, the source never dries up, and the water in it is considered to be the elixir of youth, health and longevity.

“We will be the first in Croatia and the wider region to market ginger beer and a tonic from the craft production, without even a trace of the industrial process. These are organic ingredient drinks that are produced in small quantities and by completely natural methods,” explains Bratović.

They also plan to produce an alcoholic ginger beer for lovers of natural, slightly more specific tastes, and natural tonics in various variations with organic ingredients from local producers. “We are mostly targeting the HoReCa sector, but we want to enter some of the better-positioned supermarkets and offer our products to consumers as well. We are still waiting for the wider market response, but so far, we have had several organised tastings, and the reactions were better than expected. After tasting our craft beverages, some people said they could no longer return to industrial variants because this is something different. Exports are definitely planned, wherever possible, first to Slovenia and later beyond,” concludes Bratović.

Translated from (reported by Marta Duić).

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