The fact that the Serbian beer industry keeps up with global trends and complies with international standards does not mean that it is turning away from its local customs and market. On the contrary
Vladimir Novaković, CEO of Apatinska Brewery and Managing Director for Serbia And Montenegro, is a former top athlete turned successful businessman whose past and present careers suggest that he has what it takes to lead a big company.
You took over as CEO of Apatinska Brewery only a few months ago but you have vast managerial experience in this sector. What do you see as the company’s greatest challenges in 2017?
Our objective for next year is the same as it always has been: to be the First choice for our customers and consumers. The drop in purchasing power has affected all trade. Over the past few years, the beer market has seen a fall of 2.8 per cent a year, varying from a sharp 11 per cent drop in 2008/2009 to four per cent growth in 2014/2015. The offer of more affordable brands has visibly increased. The market is slowly recuperating and it will be interesting to observe how it develops in our country and in the region over the next twelve months.
Apatinska Brewery is part of Molson Coors, a Canadian-American company renowned for its high business standards. To what extent are these standards applicable in Serbia and in the region?
When we became a member of the Molson Coors family we added over two centuries of international experience to our 260-year-old tradition. Although every country is different when it comes to consumers’ lifestyle, consumption culture and habits, Apatinska Brewery, like all other members of the Molson Coors Group, adheres to the Group’s internal rules, high standards and business procedures and to local legislation. We don’t care only about what we do but also how we do it. We will always maintain the highest standards in our work.
When we became a member of the Molson Coors family we added over two centuries of international experience to our 260 year-old tradition
There is great competition in the regional beer market. What is your opinion of the market? Do you foresee any consolidation of brewers?
A concentration of capital has been happening for years both globally and regionally. This trend affects the local market in terms of product accessibility, consumer habits, product pricing. This is also a factor that makes this industry dynamic and innovative. Until recently our market offered only a dozen brands of beer with almost identical characteristics. Today, we have over 100 active brands on the market and consumers are no longer indifferent when it comes to the type, taste, quality or price of beer.
More demanding consumers, globalisation and international standards have boosted the development of craft brewing and the emergence of small craft breweries worldwide over the past few years. There is also an increasing demand for different and unique tastes characteristic of a specific region and that cannot be found everywhere. I believe the market will be developing in this direction in the future.
Molson Coors has been acquiring breweries worldwide over the past few years. Where does Apatinska Brewery stand in the Molson Coors system?
Each country has its place in Molson Coors and each company has its local beers and local brewing traditions. For us, it is important that we keep developing our 260-year-old tradition, our passion for beer brewing and the quality of our products so that we are the customers and consumers’ first choice. We want to continue to delight them. Although acquisitions do affect us, we have remained true to our values and I believe that our consumers appreciate this.