Over the past two decades of operations on the Serbian market, Carlsberg Serbia has become known for introducing new trends and constantly offering consumers opportunities to try different beer and cider flavours, but also for its significant investments in sustainability, diversity and inclusion
Despite negative impacts and unfavourable factors, the Čelarevo brewery has managed to maintain and strengthen its position within the industry, and today there is a sense of pride over all the exceptional efforts of the team in achieving excellent results.
We are approaching the end of the calendar year and the time has come to assess the results. Are you satisfied with your business performance and the overall picture of the brewing industry in Serbia? Have there been many challenges?
— The brewing industry in Serbia, like most others, took a significant hit during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Last year saw a recovery, but it didn’t reach pre-pandemic levels.
Unfortunately, due to a combination of factors, our industry has this year been experiencing a decline of around 6% compared to the first six months of the previous year. Various factors contributed to this trend, from macroeconomic conditions impacting input costs to unfavourable weather conditions at the start of the summer season.
For Carlsberg Serbia, this year has been marked by numerous activities, including one beer and two cider innovations – Tuborg Ice, Somersby Passion Fruit & Orange, and Somersby Mandarin 0.0%.
We were present at numerous events in the country, where we aimed to provide consumers with not just products, but also great experiences
In addition to these innovations, we were present at numerous events across the country, where we aimed to provide consumers with not just great products, but also great experiences.
Through constant point-of-sale activations, marketing support and a presence at locations where our products are consumed, we worked to overcome the challenges and, I believe, largely succeeded.
It’s not quite the end of the year yet, but we are halfway through the last quarter, and at this point I can say that it has been a good year for Carlsberg Serbia.
We’ve become accustomed to regular innovations from Carlsberg. How have consumers reacted to new flavours and products this year? How have they received Blanc, which was launched a few years ago?
— It’s true that, over the past two decades on the Serbian market, Carlsberg Serbia has become known for introducing new trends and constantly offering opportunities for consumers to try different beer and cider flavours.
This year one of our flagship brands, Tuborg, was refreshed with Tuborg Ice, enriching our range of summer flavours. Ice stands out with its light, less bitter taste that’s ideal for consuming with a hint of lemon.
On the other hand, Somersby, the best-known and most popular cider brand on our market, introduced two new flavours, one alcoholic – Passion Fruit & Orange – and one non-alcoholic with a mandarin flavour. Somersby is becoming increasingly popular during the summer season, and we’re extremely proud of its growth over the past ten years since we introduced it to the Serbian market.
As for Blanc, I can modestly note that we’ve managed to hit the taste preferences of consumers who like a light, easy and refreshing taste. In this case, Blanc is a wheat beer with a citrusy note, and it is becoming ever more popular.
Carlsberg is known for its significant investments in sustainability. What’s on your agenda in this regard?
—At Carlsberg Group we follow our “Together Towards ZERO and Beyond” (TTZAB) programme, which includes ambitions and concrete targets addressing environmental, social and governance issues related to our business and society as a whole. As part of this programme, Carlsberg markets worldwide are taking action and delivering results towards achieving our 2030 and 2040 milestones.
At Carlsberg Serbia we’ve also been actively working on our ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) agenda. This includes numerous initiatives launched at our brewery to minimise our CO2 footprint, ongoing training in health and safety, and responsible drinking campaigns at our events to prevent irresponsible consumption.
Diversity and Inclusion is a topic of great concern globally and in our society, and for responsible companies like yours. What is Carlsberg doing in this regard?
— We believe that people can deliver their best work in a culture in which they feel a sense of belonging, purpose, and being part of a team. As an international company operating on several continents, Carlsberg has a diverse community of colleagues, customers and consumers. On each of our markets, we foster a unique, purpose-driven culture focused on “brewing for a better today and tomorrow”.
We aim to make everyone feel welcome, and that’s why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) are embedded in our SAIL 27 strategy.
We aim to make everyone feel welcome, and that’s why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) are embedded in our SAIL 27 strategy
We have many local initiatives to ensure that our culture truly comes to life in its entirety. Some of these initiatives include training for top management and team leaders to understand the origins of prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. We also promote diversity through internal communication channels, maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward any form of discrimination, and conduct regular surveys to assess the implementation of DE&I principles within the organisation.
DE&I isn’t a one-time campaign; it’s an ongoing effort to create an environment in which every team member feels comfortable contributing their best.
It today seems challenging to attract and retain high-quality talent. How does Carlsberg tackle this challenge, and do you have a recipe for attracting Generation Z?
— It’s a fact that each generation brings new specificities, not only in terms of their approach to work, but also in their interests, priorities and values. I believe that any company planning for long-term, sustainable development must adapt its offer to the expectations of today’s generations. This doesn’t mean changing one’s core values and culture, but rather presenting them in a way that resonates with the generations to come.
Specifically, Generation Z seeks more than just financial compensation from their employers; they want a complete package, including a company culture and a commitment to environmental responsibility. I think this generation has, in some ways, pushed organisations to think more broadly and become more socially conscious.