Sunday, 9 June 2019

New Croatian Craft Beer and Gin Bar Takes to Nova Gradiška, Slavonia

As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of June, 2019, Mario and Marijana Bošnjak's entrepreneurial story began nearly twenty years ago. After successful domestic production, this pair of Croatian entrepreneurs started producing gin last year, and they recently opened the Bošnjak Beer&Gin Bar in Nova Gradiška, Slavonia.

"Our entrepreneurial journey began as a hobby, and my husband had had the idea of ​​creating his own product and experimenting in various fields for a long time. He grew up in a family where everyone did everything in the homemade way, from sausages and cakes to bread that his mother had prepared and when he finished college and started working as a forestry engineer, then the idea found him. Back then, we lived with a lady of Czech origin who told him how her grandmother brewed beer, and the bottom of her drawer she found a recipe that was written in an old manuscript, and it had everything that's needed for brewing beer,'' Marijana Bošnjak recalled.

The first beer Mario brewed with his mother in their family home was done in 2000, so we can even go as far as to say that he was a pioneer in the field of Croatian craft beer, which has rapidly gained popularity over the last few years.

Soon after, they started building a place for home-brewing and even launched rural tourism on their estate. "Then, I worked in a tourist agency and the natural idea was to create a home-brewing tasting area combined with rural tourism on the property, with basic beer production. We got support from the Ministry of Agriculture and the 80,000 kuna we got, we used for construction works in the yard. We've created a tasting area in the yard of Marijana's family home, and every year we're upgrading and arranging as much as we can with our finances.

They started with the tasting area in 2008, and it was two years later when they started to receive the first groups of tourists. They also started presenting their products at fairs, both local and in the wider area, including at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's (HGK) Kupujemo Hrvatsko (Let's buy Croatian) fair, thus bringing their products a wider audience.

Bošnjak explains that there were great challenges ahead of them, because at that time, they were the only ones in that business alongside Velebit Brewery and Pivovar Medvedgrad in the whole of Croatia, and there were no small breweries with whom they could consult. Soon after the tasting was set up and they experienced their very first successes in this field, in 2014, they opened a company because the production had just been part of an OPG until that point.

Then, these Croatian entrepreneurs contracted service production and the whole year round, their beer was filled in bottles and distributed throughout the whole country, but due to the change in excise laws, they quickly returned to smaller production volumes on their own family estate.

"The beer is unfiltrated, not pasteurised, it's a pure live product like fresh milk that needs to be well preserved. Our product is lighter, it doesn't have a lot of hops like other types of beer, which is actually a natural preservative. That's precisely why it's more easily damaged and that's why we don't pack it into bottles, but instead distribute it as a draught beer,'' Bošnjak revealed. Three years ago, they decided to devote themselves to rakija, especially to those made from corn, because in Brod-Posavina County, there's the most of this type of culture more than anywhere else in Croatia.

They've already offered rakija made from beer to their guests in the tasting area, but they didn't like it because they weren't used to it and traditionally they drink more fruit-based rakija such as that made from plums, pears, and so on.

Last year, this pair of Croatian craft beer entrepreneurs launched their MB72 gin, 300 litres in the first year alone, and this year, their latest entrepreneurial act is the opening of the Bošnjak Beer&Gin Bar in Nova Gradiška.

By opening Bošnjak Beer&Gin Bar, they employed waiters as the first employees from outside of their family, this contributing to the local economy.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia page for much more on Croatian products, Croatian entrepreneurs, Croatian companies and Croatian services.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Craft Beer Revolution in Croatia Continues with New Investments

Four years ago, the craft beer production seemed like an impossible dream in Croatia. Although Croats like to drink beer and are among the top beer consumers in Europe, until four years ago they mostly drank corporate-produced beers. Offering a non-corporate product that would compete on the market meant going against the companies with virtually unlimited resources, loyal buyers and huge profits. However, Croatia’s craft beer revolution was about to start, reports Večernji List on November 25, 2018.

Varionica was one such producer. It was one of the first small breweries to offer its products to the Croatian market. At the time, their beers could be bought at just three venues in Zagreb and two on the Adriatic coast. The brand was launched by Matija Mrazek and Davor Simičić. “It was not difficult for me to leave a well-paid job and start brewing beer. That was inevitable when I decided to start this business since the administrative demands in Croatia regarding beer production are terribly burdensome. It took us two years to do all the paperwork to start the production,” said Davor.

At the time, they produced their American pale ale-style beer in Donji Vidovac. The facility which could produce 8,000 liters of beer a month was expected to return their 300,000 kuna investment. Now they plan to move much closer to home, to Pisarovina near Zagreb.

“Pisarovina is a very small municipality in comparison to Zagreb and it knows what it means to open five or ten new jobs. The industrial zone is geographically well positioned. Access to the highway exists, and another fast road is being constructed. Also, all the infrastructure is new, which provides a certain amount of safety and security for us. In addition, Mayor Tomo Kovačić has provided us with support and all the paperwork has been done very easily,” the founders explained.

“We plan to become operational in 2019, hopefully by late summer, but it is difficult to plan exactly what will happen. We have to do all the construction from scratch, after that comes equipping, obtaining all the permits, a challenging period is ahead of us. The whole project took us many years to implement. For a full year, we worked on making sure that we had everything needed to apply for EU cohesion and development funds. Another year passed until we received an answer that we received the funds, and then another year to find a bank willing to issue us a loan. But, now that period is behind us and the construction is about to start,” Matija and Davor said.

In the meantime, Varionica has created its recognizable visual identity. They have also launched cooperation with German craft beer producers Munich Brew Mafia and Pelicon Brewery from Slovenia. “The grants amount to about 4.8 million kuna, while the rest of the investment is a commercial loan and our own funds,” Davor said.

The brewery currently employs five people, and plans are to hire another five next year. Everything after that will depend on the production growth. And in order to grow, it is necessary to sell the beer. “I think we can finally talk about having a wide selection of beers in our market. Four years ago, there was an absolute lack of choice. Now there is a choice, in a short time and without great effort, you can taste a huge variety of beer styles. In the past few years, we have visited Europe's brewery festivals, and our industry is not lagging. Our market offers top-quality locally produced beers. As things stand now, we will not be the only small brewery to open a new plant in 2019, and that is good news,” Matija and Davor concluded.

For more on Croatia’s beer industry, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Zoran Vitas).

Monday, 3 September 2018

Croatia's ''Fifth Element'' Craft Beer Goes from Strength to Strength

''We want to position ourselves as a company that produces quality handmade beer in a real craft fashion,'' says director Siniša Lukač.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Pinjac Pub and Brewery - a Place not to be Missed in Žrnovo

One would never expect to stumble upon a hipster paradise in Žrnovo. Well, one often is wrong, just like in this situation.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Croatian Beer Market Still Feeling Effects Of World Cup High

Croats are turning more and more towards craft beer, and this summer many craft beer bars had TV's showing the World Cup, contributing to beer sales.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Croatian Craft Beers Winning Over Football Fans in Brussels

The Dynamo Bar in the St. Gilles neighbourhood was the venue for the Croatian "tap takeover".

Friday, 29 June 2018

Zagreb Brewery Presents New Beer Oriented Tourist Attraction

With the craft beer craze continuing to take the country by storm, have you ever wondered about Zagreb's beer brewing past?

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Up for a Picnic? 1st Craft Beer and BBQ Festival in Rijeka, This Weekend

May 9, 2018 - The park of the Governor's Palace in Rijeka is turning into an oasis of hedonism this coming weekend

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Poreč's Bura Beer Targets Germany

As Croatia's craft beer revoluton continues, one Poreč brewery is doing exceptionally well out of it.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

The Garden Brewery: Croatian Craft Beer and Design in Bars All Over Europe

It is 18 months since the opening of The Garden Brewery in Zagreb. It has been quite a ride with rapid expansion beyond Croatia, as this press release on December 23, 2017, shows. 

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