Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Craft Beer Brewing Growing in Croatia

ZAGREB, January 21, 2020 - Beers produced by craft- and microbreweries are getting more and more popular in Croatia, and currently some 80 breweries of this kind are aspiring to increase their market share from the current 2%-3% to 10% in the coming years.

The head of the Croatian association of craft and microbreweries, Krešo Marić, has told Hina that the average Croatian beer lover can recognise a difference between craft beers and lagers, and in this context he says that it is like comparing prosciutto to processed meat.

In Croatia, the annual beer consumption is 83 litres per capita, and the ranking is topped by the Czech Republic where the average annual consumption is 143 litres per capita.

The amount of beer production in Croatia is 3.4 million hectolitres annually, which puts the country on the 22nd place in the European Union.

The brewing and consumption of craft beer in the total production and consumption in Croatia is between 2% and 3%, according to Marić.

Since 2013 when the first craft- and microbreweries appeared in the country, at least 400 jobs have been created in that segment, Marić says.

Craft brewing enhances reputation of the whole beer sector, and therefore some of the big breweries have started producing types of craft beers recently, he added.

Marić said that, for instance, in Italy, over the last ten years the number of craft breweries has increased to about 1,000 and in Slovenia to more than 130.

Some other protagonists in small brewing sector in Croatia believe that the market in Croatia is becoming more and more "mature" for craft beers, however, the expansion on the market is likely to slow down in comparison to the growth rate in the recent years.

In 2018, over 39 billion litres of beer containing alcohol were produced in the European Union (EU). The EU’s beer production was equivalent to around 76 litres per inhabitant, according to figures provided by the EU statistical office Eurostat.

In addition, in 2018 the EU produced over 1 billion litres of beer which contained less than 0.5% alcohol or had no alcohol content at all.

More news about the beer industry can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Beer Industry Sees 26% Rise in Profit

ZAGREB, August 8, 2019 - Beer producers in Croatia earned 2.47 billion kuna in revenue in 2018, with their consolidated profit totalling 344.9 million kuna, 26% up from 2017, the Financial Agency (FINA) has reported.

In a report based on annual financial reports and published on the occasion of International Beer Day, which this year is marked on August 5, FINA says that in 2018, 88 businesses were active in the industry, of whom 41 operated at a profit.

The beer industry employed 1,622 workers, 5.1% more than in 2017.

The average monthly net salary in the sector was 9,824 kuna, 3% more than in 2017, and it was 75.9% higher than the average monthly net salary in the business sector of 5,584 kuna.

Last year's exports of the beer industry totalled 312.6 million kuna, an increase of 6.3% from 2017, while imports rose 6.4% to 394.5 million kuna.

Among the 88 producers the highest total revenue, in the amount of 1.1 billion kuna, was earned by the Zagrebačka Pivovara brewery, which was also the biggest exporter.

In 2018 the company had 560 employees whose average net salary was 12,728 kuna.

The brewery earned a profit in the amount of 233.2 million kuna as against 213.8 million kuna in 2017.

Zagrebačka Pivovara is followed by Heineken Hrvatska, with revenues amounting to 723.4 million kuna. Its profit totalled 105.9 million kuna, it employed 321 workers and their average net monthly salary was 13,310 kuna.

FINA also notes that in recent years Croatia has been experiencing a growing trend of craft beer making.

More news about the beer industry can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 20 May 2019

HOMBRE – Osijek Hosts the First Home Brewing Festival

The long-awaited day has finally come. In addition to the Days of the First Croatian Beer, organised by the Osječka Pivovara brewery on the left bank of the Drava river, and the craft beer festival held on Sunčana Street, Osijek now also has its home brewing festival – HOMBRE.

HOMBRE is a play-on-words and an abbreviation from the expression “home brewing.” Spaghetti westerns inspired the visual identity of the festival, so the festival poster included the character of Angel Eyes from the cult movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.


Conceptually, this event is similar to the Požega Krigla or Pijana Čaplja in Slavonski Brod. For a price of just 100 kuna, visitors received a festival glass, two dinners and beer in unlimited quantities. On offer were beers made by craft breweries, as well as homebrewed beers.


The festival took place on Saturday, May 18, and the venue was the Pampas shooting range in Osijek, located in the town, yet sufficiently distant to provide the intimacy of a homebrewing party. This is an event where you come intentionally (and remain until the end), unlike the craft beer festival in Sunčana Street, which you can stumble across while taking a walk through the town, have a beer or two, and then leave.


When it comes to craft breweries, visitors had a chance to drink ESB by Valens, Novi Val by the Medvedgrad brewery, pale ale by Zmajska brewery, C4 by Nova Runda and the coffee stour by the Mlinarica brewery. Appropriately for this type of event, there were considerably more homebrewed beers on offer. Visitors were quite thirsty, empty kegs kept being replaced by full ones, so it is difficult to list everything that was offered, but we should certainly mention a homebrewing team which appeared under the name Dost’ Dobro Pivo, and brought two truly quite good beers: American pale named “mosaic + simcoc = ♡” and fruit beer called “It takes two to mango”.


Congratulations to the leadership of the Pannonian Brewery Union who organised the event. They thought of everything, even bringing a cannon for mosquito spraying so that the blood-thirsty insects would not spoil the fun for the beer-thirsty visitors!

More news about Croatia’s beer-brewing industry can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Kaltenberg Beer Returns to Croatia

After 25 years, Kaltenberg has returned to Croatia. Namely, in Kukuljanovo near Rijeka, a production facility has been opened which should, together with a nearby restaurant, revive the popularity which this Bavarian beer had in the 1990s, especially in southern Croatia, reports Večernji List on April 21, 2019.

At the time when the production was located at the Jadranska Pivovara brewery, the Kaltenberg beer had the status of being a locally-produced beer. However, the business decision of Laško Pivovara brewery which bought Jadranska Pivovara led to the virtual disappearance of Kaltenberg from the Croatian market. That lasted until recently when Kaltenberg started constructing a 50,000-hectolitre-a-year plant, together with the Ludwig's Gastro Pub, a restaurant right next to the brewery. The restaurant has 150 seats for guests, offering Kaltenberg as well as beers by the Austrian brewery Hirter, whose distributor for Croatia is Kaltenberg Adria.

The investment is worth 10 million euro, according to Kaltenberg Adria CEO Gordan Putanec, and the company currently employs 55 people. “Our main ambition is to return to the role of a big player in Dalmatia, where we were once the number one brewery, and we have similar ambitions for the rest of southern Croatia. That is why we have decided to start the production of the first Rijeka beer Tars, which we want to use to compete with mainstream brewers. The backbone of our offering are beers made according to the original recipes, including the Kaltenberg Hefeweissbier. We have also introduced Ludwig's Session with which we want to compete with the craft beer segment. I want to point out that the water from Rječina is great and makes our beers better,” said Putanec, pointing out that Kaltenberg's lager beer is produced according to the Bavarian law on beer purity, Reinheitsgebot, issued in 1516.

The beer produced in Rijeka will also be sold in Italy, Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Interestingly, this is the only plant owned by Kaltenberg outside of Bavaria. The beer is sold in 20 countries, but it is produced by licensees everywhere except in Kukuljanovo.

Kaltenberg is a brand owned by König Ludwig International, which has more than 30 years of experience in beer production, knowledge creation and brand licensing. The company is managed by His Royal Highness Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, a member of the Bavarian royal family Wittelsbach.

The goal of the company is no secret. In three to five years, they want to become the most profitable middle-sized brewery in Croatia, with an EBIT margin of more than 20 per cent, which would justify one of the most significant investments in the Croatian beer industry in the last few years.

More beer news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Zoran Vitas).

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Walkow – New Craft Beer from Vukovar

Everybody knows about Vukovarsko beer and that it recently came under the umbrella of Zagrebačka Pivovara. What most beer fans do not know is that a new brewery was recently opened in Vukovar, continuing the tradition of independent small breweries in the town. The brewery is registered as Craft Pivovara Vukovar j.d.o.o., and its craft beer is marketed under the brand Walkow.

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The owners have explained what the brewery name means. “Walkow is an old Croatian name for the Vukovar fort that was first built during the union with Hungary when Vukovar was the guardian of the Croatian identity and the town which was among the first to obtain the status of a free royal town (even before Zagreb). At that time, Vukovar was known for its fortress, which was firmly built on the high Danube coast, and the town was named after it. In the more recent history, in 1968, a new fort was built in Vukovar, which is nowadays the symbol of indestructibility – the Vukovar water tower – which, despite numerous times being hit during the Homeland War (more than 600), remained standing, persistent and stubborn, as a reflection of the will of the people defending the town. "

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The project is led by the Komšić couple. Mrs Komšić told us about their beer journey. "The idea started after many years of preparing beer ‘in the basement’ with my husband. So, we already had our own beer, which would be drank very quickly, so why not offer it to others as well. Since we have just started with the production and mostly due to logistical problems, we are focused on the town of Vukovar and its surroundings, although we are planning to start producing other types of beer in the future and extend our offer to other counties and cities. As there are no yet other craft breweries in the area, we decided to start with the blond ale, which was initially conceived as a way of moving consumers from commercial towards craft beer. Beer is unfiltered, unpasteurized, without additives and artificial colours, and the main ingredients are three types of barley malt, hops and yeast. Beer is of a characteristic blonde style, also called the golden ale.

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Iva discussed the future of the Croatian beer industry and its relation to the competition. “The Croatian craft scene is growing; people recognise the quality, which is vital for us as a small producer. We all help each other, so I believe that market growth is not a problem but an incentive. Beer events are most commonly held as part of beer festivals, where we exchange opinions, techniques and the like. I think this is very good for our beer scene because you can combine promotional activities with having a good time; it is almost like a team building.

We are currently offering our beer in five Vukovar cafes. The initial reactions are great, and now it is up to us to roll up our sleeves and start brewing, pouring, bottling, labelling, distributing.”

More news about Croatian beer scene can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Croats Are Coming: Spectacular Commercial Raises the Bar

Croats Are Coming is the name of a new ambitious beer commercial which was shot for four days with more than 200 people. “The filming of the commercial was really unbelievable. I do not think I have ever worked on such a highly professional project. We broke some new records here,” said actor Goran Bogdan. He is joined in the new commercial by two other well-known Croatian actors: Goran Navojec and Rene Bitorajac, reports 24sata.hr on January 23, 2019.

The commercial shows the arrival of Croats to what is today Croatia, which happened in the 7th century. The commercial was shot near Ivanić Grad, where a small settlement was constructed, and near Senj. More than 200 extras participated in the shooting which lasted for four days.

“I had to wake up at three o’clock in the morning to get everything ready. Still, we enjoyed it very much. The only problem was the sheep. There were about 200 of them, but whenever they needed to be filmed, we would try to push them into the shot, but they refused to act,” Bogdan joked.

The commercial shows the arrival of Croats. They stop at sea and love what they. The commercial then returns to the present day, with the three actors all alone on a beach with their beers, when suddenly they get surrounded by a bunch of tourists with holidaying equipment. The actors decide to stay there anyway.

 “We filmed that part of the commercial in December, and the temperature was around zero. Fortunately, we did not have to swim in the sea,” said Bogdan.

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The commercial also conveys a more profound message. “People are leaving Croatia en masse. While I was thinking about the script, I thought that we should show people how Croats came here. I was not initially sure since it is such a fringe topic, but the reactions have been good so far,” said Almir Okanović, who created the commercial.

In addition to being based on the historical facts, in order for the commercial to be as credible as possible, the crew also included linguists, since actors had to learn the Old Slavic language, which they use in the commercial.

“The script was great, so we enjoyed working together. It was hard, and there are three more sequels of the commercial coming soon," said director Bruno Anković.

More news on Croatia’s beer industry can be found in the Business section.

Translated from 24sata.hr (reported by Davor Lugarić).

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).

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Microbrewery Opens in Vukovar

ZAGREB, August 2, 2018 - A microbrewery in the eastern town of Vukovar, which will make Vukovar Beer, was inaugurated in the Vukovar Business Zone on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Craft Beer Industry Growth Continues

There are about 40 craft beer breweries in Croatia, with a market share of about 1.5%.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Despite Barley Shortage, Croatian Beer Prices to Remain Stable

Although the barley yields in Europe are lower by 40%, Croatian brewers say they have enough quantities secured.

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