The growing consumption of craft beer in Russia stimulates multinational companies to actively increase their share in the segment. Thus, the structure of the Carlsberg Group can enter the business of one of the most famous craft breweries in the country – Konix Brewery. But, market participants warn, there is high competition in this segment.
Hoppy Union, a structure of the Carlsberg Group (brands Baltika, Carlsberg, Tuborg), has agreed to acquire stakes in OOO Koniks Breveri for 150 million rubles. The agreement was concluded in March, Kommersant found in the reports of Hoppy Union. The size of the shares is not indicated there. The Konix Brewery was launched in 2015 in the Zarechny Penza Region and produces more than 40 types of beer, including Indian Pale Ale (IPA), Pilsner, Stout, non-alcoholic beer, and cider.
Hoppy Union CEO Igor Mayorkin says the Konix project is seen as one of the most attractive options for the company’s development. According to him, the successful completion of the merger deals requires the elaboration of many issues, and the most important condition is to maintain the maximum level of autonomy of new partners and the complete authenticity of the project. Konix Breveri did not respond to Kommersant’s request.
25.5% each “Conix Breveri” belongs to Sergey Belyakov and Evgeny Golyaev, the rest is equally owned by Anton Lebedev and Oleg Tatuev, follows from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. In 2020, the company’s revenue decreased by 11.69%, to 244.97 million rubles, a net loss of 567 thousand rubles. against a profit of 12.29 million rubles. a year earlier.
Hoppy Union is engaged in the production of brewing malt, operates a chain of beer shops “Tank and Hopper” and develops craft brewing. The company also operates the Gorkovskaya Brewery in Nizhny Novgorod with a capacity of 240 thousand liters per year. In April 2021, Hoppy Union became the owner of 50% of the Novosibirsk ARC Brue (Brew Moose brand), where the other half of the shares belonged to the structure of Megapolis Group of Companies Igor Kesaev and Sergey Katsiev.
Pavel Olshansky, co-owner of the Truel and Varyag breweries, says that Konix is a recognizable brand. According to him, it is usually difficult for the owners of craft breweries to get into federal networks, and Carlsberg’s capabilities will make it possible to ensure this. Kommersant’s interlocutor in the industry confirms that there are still virtually no craft brands with a developed distribution system in the Russian Federation.
Aleksey Axel, general director of Volkovskaya Brewery and President of the Association of Craft Breweries, explains that craft beer in Russia has already developed a fairly large audience, so transnational companies are striving to occupy a part of this market. In addition, craft varieties are more expensive than the mass segment, and Carlsberg may also have synergy due to the presence of its own retail, Mr. Axel notes.
Oraz Durdyev, director of legal affairs and corporate relations at AB InBev Efes (BUD, Stella Artois, Corona Extra), says that in the last two years alone, the share of craft on the Russian market has grown by more than 30%. The company operates in a category with its own brands. But, adds Mr. Durdyev, the market is highly competitive: the number of small, medium and small craft breweries is constantly increasing. Heineken (brands Amstel, Staropramen) declined to comment.
According to Mr. Olshansky, the trend for the purchase of craft breweries by transnational companies will continue. Craft brewing itself is not a very profitable business, he adds, but the capabilities of large producers allow them to keep such brands in their portfolio.