Made in Croatia

Barilo Brewery: Croatian Beer Tells Stories of Pirates and More

By 27 December 2020

December the 27th, 2020 - The coronavirus-dominated year has seen many businesses struggle, with some even completely going under. The Barilo Brewery, however, which is a small family brewery in Dugi Rat and was founded three years ago by Tomislav Raos, is doing well.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, according to Raos, after working abroad, studying and tasting different types of beer across Europe, he decided to study the literature behind it all and brew his own beer here in Croatia. After his products were well received by both friends and acquaintances, he decided to open up his own brewery.

He procured machines for what was to become the Barilo Brewery from the Sibenik Brewery, which was then procuring new ones and expanding its own production, and with that, he waded into what are often challenging entrepreneurial waters. As he says, his goal was to create a brewery that would be truly local and for that very reason he uses local motives in building the Barilo Brewery brand.

“When we started brewing beer, we started with two types. Light beer, Mila, in the style of golden ale named after Mila Gojsalic, a mythical figure from Croatian history and a dark beer called Malduk which is done in the style of Irish red ale and is named after the most famous leader of the Omis pirates, Kacic from the thirteenth century.

A year later, we released our third Apach beer which is done in the style of American pale ale. The name Apach is an abbreviation of American Pale Ale Cetina Croatia and is a reminder of the time when the film Winnetou was shot in the Cetina canyon.

Our craft beer is produced in our own plant which has a monthly maximum capacity of 5000 litres, and the annual production last year was close to 30,000 litres. We procure our raw materials for production mostly abroad from producers who have been producing very high quality products for a long time, but we also cooperate with Croatian producers and companies,'' says Raos.

Historical characters, more precisely the heroes of the wider Cetina region, are drawn on the Barilo Brewery's beer labels, and if you ''read'' the QR code on the label with your smartphone, you will also get a complete story about Barilo, their beers and the heroes from the labels.

Since their goal from the very beginning was to build a local brand and a brewery, they sell the most there. Barilo Brewery beers can be purchased at several locations in the vicinity of Dugi Rat, smaller shops, petrol stations and in Split at several points of sale.

"On top of that, the vast majority of cafes, pubs and restaurants in our area offer our beers, and they can be purchased in specialised craft beer shops in Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb, as well as on several Dalmatian islands. We have the greatest cooperation with restaurants and cafes in the City of Omis, which is a very popular tourist destination in the summer season,'' noted Raos.

Just like everyone else in this industry, during lockdown they felt a significant drop in sales revenue because all the catering and hospitality establishments they work with were forced to close, and they are now again, for the second time. Although sales were significantly reduced at that time and everything was reduced to home deliveries, the year was still more than successful for this craft brewery.

"This year, we've made a lot of new contacts with future customers and there are very good indications for next season. That's why we're optimistic about expanding our capacitoes. We're currently in the phase of moving to a much larger space and upgrading and our increasing production capacity, and our intention is to launch more new beers and thus increase our offer,'' revealed Raos.

In addition to success in the domestic and especially their local market, the Barilo Brewery has already had several inquiries for the export of beer from European Union (EU) countries.

"After several months of negotiations, we also agreed to export to Italy, and in November the first quantities went to the surroundings of the city of Ancona, which we're extremely pleased with and proud of. Our plans are primarily to maintain the quality of our beer, cooperate with reliable partners and hire several more workers,'' concluded Tomislav Raos.

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