The FINANCIAL -- Georgian Beer Company, brewer and supplier of soft drinks, is continuing to increase its portfolio of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and bring new flavours onto the Georgian market.
Coffee-flavoured RC Cola and Holsten and Ragnar beers are the latest brands that Georgian Beer Company has introduced in Georgia.
This year Georgian Beer Company received a Golden Brand award for the nomination of ‘Beer and Soft Drinks’, while the number one brand was revealed to be Zedazeni beer and Zedazeni lemonade. This time round, not only experts but also customers were involved in the process of choosing their favourite brands.
“We welcome the initiative that not only experts, but customers too, are now involved in revealing the Golden Brand winning companies. This makes the results more objective. This is also very important for us as we get feedback from customers and it’s rewarding when the feedback is so positive,” said Georgian Beer Company Director Kakhaber Kotrikadze.
“Taking into account the fact that the Zedazeni company has been growing year after year; improving the quality of its production; constantly offering novelties to the Georgian market; developing in various directions, and most importantly – developing Georgian production – all of these factors have ensured that our company received the Golden Brand award,” he added.
Q. You mentioned novelties. Could you please tell us what the novelties are that Zedazeni has introduced recently, and what are the company’s future plans in this direction?
A. Zedazeni company recently launched the production of new Scandinavian beer Ragnar Pilsner, which is made according to the traditions and brewing methods of Anglo-Saxon and old Scandinavian tribes. We hope that like Norway, Sweden and Finland, the miracle beer of the Vikings will become popular for Georgian consumers too. We expect that by this time next year Ragnar will be Golden Brand’s favourite brand.
The next product we introduced in May this year was Holsten beer, which is a very popular German beer.
And of course there is our traditional product of Zedazeni beer, which we have just brought to the market with a renewed design together with our re-designed Zedazeni lemonade. Zedazeni beer is now in brown bottles with a redesigned label which is modern and more refined. This was the first rebranding of Zedazeni beer since it launched five years ago.
As you know, we also produce soft drinks and last year we introduced RC Cola on the Georgian market. This year we have added a new product – coffee-flavoured RC Cola. We are going to add many more new aromas and flavours like this in the future.
Q. You must have already received the feedback from customers – so how much do they enjoy the products Georgian Beer Company introduced last year?
A. First of all, I want to say that Georgian customers are very open to new products. They love to taste new products, try new aromas and new brands.
Last year RC Cola made quite a strong impression on Georgian customers and now has many loyal customers. RC Cola has a 13 percent market share which is a very good result to have achieved in only one year. We expect to have a 20 percent share of the market very soon.
Another product was the first Georgian natural juice Chero that appeared in retail networks last year. Chero natural juices are made from local raw materials and produced using the latest technology of ‘aseptic’ bottling. This method of bottling allows for the possibility of maintaining the fruits’ vitamins and precious components. There is no analogue of this in Georgia, nor in any of its neighbouring countries.
These were the two major novelties of our company last year and both of them have become successfully positioned on the Georgian market.
Q. The free trade agreements that Georgia signed with China and four European countries – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – have recently come into play. Are you considering the option of entering new markets and growing your export capacity, and which markets are interesting for Georgian Beer Company?
A. Eastern markets are becoming very interesting. The whole of the world is looking at Iran’s potential and we are too. The countries of the United Arab Emirates also seem promising for us.
As for China, it is also a very interesting market but difficult at the same time. I mean it is difficult to enter there and position oneself. The Chinese market is more price-oriented as the population number is very high there. As for Georgian products, they cannot be price-oriented but are instead quality-oriented. So we cannot sell high quality product cheaply. This is a challenge but over time we will overcome it for sure. For Georgian Beer Company it would be more convenient to export our juices and lemonades to China. There is potential, but a huge amount of work must be done in this direction.
Q. International ratings company Scope Ratings GmbH assigned a BB- in terms of business risk and BB in terms of financial risk to Georgian Beer Company. What possibilities does this rating give the company?
A. This is a very prestigious rating result not only for the company but for the country as well.
We are a pioneering company in producing foreign brands’ products in Georgia; in carrying out the rebranding of our brands; in bringing new products to the market; in expanding the range of our portfolio; and in contributing to the development of Georgia’s capital market.
We are the leading company on the Georgian market now not only because of producing premium products, but also because of the management style of our company.
This rating enables us to issue Lari (national currency of Georgia) bonds by the end of June 2018.
Q. Georgian Beer Company often hosts educational tours of its factory. How many tours do you hold and what do students learn from these excursions?
A. We show the students the work specificity of our company and they get tips from experienced management. They need to know that Georgian-produced products are high quality and we introduce them to the high standards of our factory.
Students are very interested in visiting our company and seeing the production development here. They love to see how their favourite lemonades and juices are made. We host about five tours a day and we have even added extra staff to organize such excursions.
We also encourage the new generation to be optimistic and believe that such high quality factories are a reality for Georgia and that they can also create one.
Georgian Beer Company was established in 2011 with a clear goal: to become the leading player in Georgia’s beer and beverage industry. Over the years the company has cemented itself as a major beer and beverage producer not only in Georgia, but in the whole of the Caucasus region.
As of today, Georgian Beer Company produces the following beers: Zedazeni; Bavaria; Ragnar Pilsner; Sviani; Craft; Belgium Standard. It also produces these soft drinks: Lemonade; RC Cola; Diet Lemonade; Lemonade Premium; RadRain; Chero; Wilder and Baiho.