Zlatý Bažant heads to Hungary.
photo: Ján Svrček
"I'm convinced that this year we will sell more of our Zlatý Bažant beer in Hungary than combined sales of all Czech breweries there," said commercial director of Heineken Slovakia Willen Onno Jalink at an April 28 news conference on the occasion of the official launch of one of the most successful Slovak beer brands in Hungary.
Jalink explained Amstel and Zlatý Bazant breweries began examining the possibilities of exporting Slovak beer to Hungary in 1997. High taxes and customs duties however, made beer exports to Hungary almost impossible. Therefore, Heineken Slovakia decided to brew its brand in the Amstel Hungary brewery in Komárom, Hungary.
Sales of the Slovak brand have already begun, Jalink said, adding they were "thus far beyond expectations, in not only border areas but also further inland."
Heineken's marketing strategy is to present Zlatý Bažant brand as the leader in Slovakia's brewing industry. It will be sold in Budapest, the Balaton area, as well as the border area with Slovakia. Jean Paul Hellebeke, director general of Heineken Slovakia, said it expects to sell about 80 thousand hectoliters of Zlatý Bažant beer in Hungary this year.
In Slovakia, the Zlatý Bažant brewery puts out about 962 thousand hectoliters of Zlatý Bažant beer brand annually at a capacity of about 1.1 million hectoliters. Zlatý Bažant exported 100 thousand hectoliters of beer last year, mainly to the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, USA, as well as Finland.
Heineken is the majority shareholder in Zlatý Bažant Hurbanovo brewery, with 66% ownership. The company also owns 49 percent of Corgon Nitra brewery, making its estimated combined annual capacity 1.6 million hectoliters of beer. Heineken's total output in Slovakia last year was 1.28 million hectoliters of beer..