Duh u Boci: Hrvoje Busic and Tomislav Anadolac Announce New Products

Lauren Simmonds

December the 30th, 2020 – When it comes to Croatian products, the range of alcoholic offers is vast. That doesn’t mean however that there aren’t those which don’t stand out in the crowd. What the likes of Hrvoje Busic and Tomislav Anadolac do, for example, does precisely that.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, Hrvoje Busic and Tomislav Anadolac, the duo behind Old Pilot’s gin and the company Duh u boci (Spirit in a bottle) launched Old Pilot’s Art Edition for the festive period, which was created in collaboration with Croatian artist Marina Mesar, better known as OKO.

Their first and most successful product, London Dry Gin, won the title of the best in the world at the IWSC world competition last year.

This entrepreneurial story began just three years ago when two longtime friends and fellow pilots in a small hi-tech distillery in Zagreb created the now world-famous brand of gin, which they produce exclusively from the highest quality Croatian ingredients, with a special focus placed on the production process.

The duo recently moved to a new distillery, with three times the production capacity, and designed and produced a new product – Old Pilot’s Gin – Barrel Aged Gin obtained by aging in oak barrels, and they’re going to continue in that direction in the year ahead.

“We’ll remember this year as the one in which we moved to a new, larger space, invested in new equipment and the long-awaited start of whiskey production. With this new space, we got the opportunity to expand production not only in terms of product volume but also the ability to create new products.

In the spring, during the lockdown, we upgraded our equipment and gained the possibility of producing pure ethyl alcohol needed for the production of disinfectants, and today, in the situation of closing the HoReCa channel, we compensate revenues in the retail channel, through web sales and exports,” say Hrvoje Busic and Tomislav Anadolac.

Here in Croatia, their products are sold through distributors and can be found in all major cities. Most of the sales take place in Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Sibenik and Rijeka, and other places in Croatia are covered through online shopping. However, sales through the webshop achieve the lowest percentage in the total sales volume, more precisely slightly less than three percent of the total.

”The biggest sales at the level of the year took place in Zagreb, and during the summer season on the coast. We cooperate with hotel chains such as Valamar, Hilton Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Sun Gardens, Le Meridien Lav, the Pucic Palace, Park Rovinj and many others.

The largest volume of products was sold through the HoReCa channel, while a smaller part was sold through specialised stores such as Vrutka, and from October on, people were also able to find us in selected Spar Croatia stores.

Given the decline in sales in Croatia, as well as generally reduced consumption, exports are a significant source of income. During the three years of our company’s existence, we’ve been exporting to the markets of Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Australia and Singapore, and we’re actively working to enter the Canadian market,” explained Hrvoje Busic and Tomislav Anadolac.

After investing in more space and new equipment, they started producing whiskey, which was their wish from the very beginning. It is a production that is much more demanding, and they are currently in the testing phase to achieve the desired results.

”Given the time of a minimum of three years required for the maturation of whiskey in wooden barrels, our plan is to schedule production throughout the year for gin and whiskey. It’s exciting and dynamic in the distillery, just like it was on the very first day, and that makes us very happy and motivates us in our further work.

The bar has been raised high and we can’t wait to raise it even higher. We’re proud of our status of pioneers and initiators of craft production in Croatia and although the competition is growing, a quality product always finds its way to the customer. There are a lot of new products out there now on the market, but a lot of them are disappearing from the market every day.

Returns on investment and production results are often not what people expect and survival on a demanding market is difficult. We have set high, world quality standards that aren’t easy to achieve or monitor, and at the moment we’re very calm and focused on developing new products and the growth of our distillery,” concluded Tomislav Anadolac and Hrvoje Busic of Duh u boci.

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