Croatia’s ”Fifth Element” Craft Beer Goes from Strength to Strength

Lauren Simmonds

”We want to position ourselves as a company that produces quality handmade beer in a real craft fashion,” says director Siniša Lukač.

While the craft beer phenomenon has taken many places across the globe by storm and has been a trend for a decent number of years, also managing to make a serious business out of itself across Europe and North America, it has only been developing properly in Croatia for the last few years.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of September, 2018, the popularity of this sector was largely contributed to in Croatia by the Daruvar brewery, through which master brewer Krešo Marić opened and launched his own craft beer line under the name of the ”5th Element”.

To date, ten beer brands from this line have been presented, and they have emphasised in Daruvar that crafting will be the foundation of their development. Moreover, Daruvar brewery has every intention of placing itself as the leading brewery in this part of Europe over the coming period, and this is the strategy taken up by Siniša Lukač, the director of the brewery.

“Due to our technological equipment and logistical strength, we can ensure that quality craft beer is available and affordable on the market. It’s known that beer is made up of four basic ingredients: water, malt, yeast and hops, which are represented in the ”5th Element” beer by the elements of water, earth, fire, and air. All ingredients/elements are combined in the 5th Element – love, tradition, and the brewer that makes it. Because of this, we’ve named this line of specialty beers the 5th Element, and created a brand through which we want to promote a wide range of beer styles through our art in creating special beers,” Lukač says.

In order to achieve this, significant funds have been invested in that business segment. Aside from the fact that there are six major industrial breweries in Croatia, the domestic market has also recorded the growing trend of small so-called “craft brewers”, and it would appear that there are currently 40 active ones with market share of up to 1.5 percent. New products further raise the image and the value of the overall category, which strengthens the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises and ultimately results in a positive, rising employment trend.

At the end of the list of big breweries, ie the sixth row, is Brewery Daruvar, which is the smallest brewery brewery in Croatia, and the smallest among the big ones is also the largest brewery. Therefore, Lukač says, precisely because of this, Brewery Daruvar wants to position itself as a craft of breweries that will produce quality handmade beer in the true craftsmanship of breweries. This brewery has a capacity of 300 thousand hectoliters of beer, and its main brand is the popular Staročeško lager.

Just this year alone, they say, they recorded production growth of 22 percent. Although the sale of Staročeško grew by 15 percent, most of the brewery’s hope was placed in 5th Element, which rose by a more than impressive 78 percent in just six months.

Last year, the sales of the craft beer grew by an encouraging 60 percent, giving them the incentive to step into the world of craft beer as a potentially more prospective business than the lager industry, where the competition with large global brewers with unlimited marketing budgets (Molson Coors, Heineken, Carlsberg, etc) is extremely strong. With an annual production of 3.4 million hectoliters of beer, Croatia is ranked at 22nd place in Europe when it comes to this industry, and this sector alone employs about 28,000 people in Croatia.


Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik


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