Prostor Brewing: Croatian Craft Beer Scene Richer for Another Brand

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes on the 9th of November, 2020, Silvijo Regvar is the owner of the new, small Zagorje-based brewery in Desnic – Prostor Brewing, and he hopes to further enrich to growing Croatian craft beer scene in Zagorje and Zagreb.

”Despite the fact that I’m from Zagorje, I’ve always leaned more towards beer than I have to wine,” said Silvijo Regvar, the owner of Prostor Brewing which recently presented its first Leisure beer in Gresna gorica. Apart from the fact that Zagorje, especially in the autumn time of picking and pressing, has always been on the Croatian wine list, the north of the country has gradually becoming stronger in brewing. Medjimurje’s Lepi Decki, which recently opened a new plant in Cakovec and Zagorska pivovara (Zagorje brewery) from Novi Marof are fine examples of that.

Behind Prostor Brewing are Silvijo Regvar and Mario Podboj, with new member Marko Vidovic, and they entered the craft beer world for the first time last March. The works lasted until the spring of 2020 because Silvijo and Mario did everything themselves with a limited budget. Regvar says he has been intensively trying and researching beers in the US and Germany for 7 years.

“Just at that time, Croatia entered the EU and the western market opened up, so you could buy something from the western craft scene in two or three places in Zagreb. I discovered more ”hopped” ale styles, American aromatic hops and figured out a totally different approach to brewing, and after a year or two I started making beer in the cellar myself. I normally work in the event industry as a sound engineer and working in a production rental company I didn’t really have much time for hobbies, but one weekend a neighbour, who was also brewing beer, came when I was working on Stout. It was hinted that Mario and I would open a small local craft brewery together. A year later, I decided to quit my job, return to Zagorje and combine my profession and hobby with a craft – Prostor Brewing. The plan was that one day it would be a place where beer would be produced for consumption in a pleasant environment with an art programme and an offer of local products from family farms. This is the second phase of the project called Space for Crafts and Arts,” Regvar explained.

Production takes place in Desinic in an old family building at the foot of the church, where there was also a school, an apartment, a shop and a bar. “This space is very interesting and we tried to change it as little as possible in order to keep the traces of all of the time it has lived through, and in time we’ll also leave our own beautiful traces, I hope. For now, the beer is packed in barrels only, the so-called kegs of 25 litres and such can only be drunk on tap, and very soon there will be cans which will be 0.5 litres,” explains the young brewer who doesn’t want to spread out all over Croatia but only locally, so their beer is available in Zagorje, in the north of Croatia and in Zagreb in cafes. All of Prostor Brewing’s beers will be unfiltered and unpasteurised, and their ”entry” beer is a dry hopped blonde ale called Leisure.

”Blonde ale is a light beer with a harmonious taste and a medium body, and we’ve modernised our version with dry hops and New Zealand hops, which give citrus aromas and freshness. Over time, we’re planning to release some more styles as part of our permanent offer, as well as seasonal specials,” he explained, adding that their capacities can allow them to produce up to 2400 litres per month. If necessary, they will invest in another fermenter, and the default limit they’ve set is about 7,000 litres of beer per month. They plan to launch a webshop next year. Prostor Brewing’s owner believes that today is an opportunity for small independent breweries to find a sustainable niche.

“Large corporate macro breweries purchase smaller craft microbreweries and take the market share with that purchased brand, leading to confusion so consumers can no longer distinguish an independent craft brewery from corporate industrial ones,” he stated.

The Prostor Brewing team have a clear vision – they want to develop and maintain their identity, stabilise their production and business, refine their base beer, create their own share of the market, launch more beers and surprise craft beer lovers with something unexpected.

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