Croatian Gin Takes to UK as Old Pilot’s Enters British Market

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes, the much loved Old Pilot’s Croatian gin, which is produced in Jankomir in Zagreb, has put its feet firmly on the ground of Great Britain, the northern European nation which is very well known for its love of a tipple (or ten).

The founders and owners of the distillery which makes this Croatian gin, Hrvoje Busic and Tomislav Anadolac, both participated in the Boisdale Live Music Restaurants & Bars Cigar Awards, which is the world’s most prestigious meeting of cigar lovers outside of the borders of Cuba.

Their gin was served at the dinner, and the duo also presented the Cigar Communicator of the Year award. The distillers are unsurprisingly very happy to have their products placed on this demanding market, and in London they found themselves at the ”Chairman’s Club” at the wildly famous Reform Club.

“By entering into a business relationship with a new strategic partner, a significant increase in sales is planned through positioning in the premium segment of spirits,” said Anadolac. This year the business results for the creators of this Croatian gin are good (revenues, according to earlier data, could be up to six million kuna), and they also launched a new product – vodka, and are working on the third – whiskey.

“We’re recording sales growth of more than 30 percent, and we’re proud to be able to open up to another new market in England and enter the most exclusive Boisdale restaurants. Our vodka was launched back in November and so far the sales results are higher than expected and the feedback from the market has truly been excellent. The whiskey is still in the aging phase and will be ready for the market in about two years or so,” pointed out Anadolac.

However, next year should also be fruitful for them, given that the company received about 1.4 million kuna from EU non-refundable funds (a total of 3.8 million) for the digital and green transition project.

They will also invest in new technology and an environmentally friendly boiler (one without CO2 emissions) and thus be able to realise some very ambitious plans, one of which is to become one of the ten best manufacturers in the entire world in this particular segment. The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Tomislav Coric, also visited the Croatian gin plant yesterday, admitting that he was fascinated by what he saw at Jankomir.

“This successful entrepreneurial story starts from the moment when young people wanted to make a premium product and create the best giant of its kind in the world. It is really a great success to become number one in the world, especially with a product that has almost no tradition in Croatia. This success should serve as an inspiration to all future entrepreneurs,” said the Minister.

“We plan to use EU funds to increase our production capacity, from the current 30,000 bottles per year to 500,000 over the next five years. We want to enter new markets and strengthen our position in existing markets. Of course, there are also new products involved in this story, but we’ll talk about that when the time comes,” Anadolac said.

It is known that he and Busic were trained as pilots at the Military Academy in Zadar, and realising that they share a passion for spirits, they founded a company with a distillery with a related name.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.


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