Vladimir Novaković, Director of Apatinska Brewery and Managing Director for Serbia and Montenegro Molson Coors Company
Interview: Cord Magazine
1. Even though you have been at the head of Apatin Brewery for just a few months, you have a vast experience in management of this sector. Where do you see the largest professional challenges for the company in 2017?
Our goal in the year to come, as in all the previous years, is to be the first choice for beer lovers and the first choice for our partners. The drop of the purchasing power of the population impacted the entire market, including the beer market that is characterized by the 2,8% annual drop in the last couple of years, where the rates vary from sudden drops of 11% in 2008/2009 to 4% growth in 2014/2015. Market transformation can also be noticed with strong growth of brands with more approachable prices. Even though the market recovers slowly, monitoring its further development will be a challenge, in our country, as well as the region during the following year.
2. Apatin Brewery is a part of the Canadian-American company Molson Coors, known for its high business standards and procedures. To what extent are these standards applicable in Serbia and the region?
Serbian beer industry keeps up with the rest of the world but being focused on constant monitoring of global trends and standards does not avert us from the deep understanding and nurturing all our customs and local specifications. Since we have become part of the Molson Coors family we added international experience built over a two-century period to our tradition 260 years long. Even though each country differs in lifestyle, consummation culture and habits of consumers, Apatin Brewery, as well as all other breweries members of the Molson Coors Group uphold internal rules, high standards and procedures, operating in accordance with local regulations, because, in addition to what we do, for us, it is very important how we do our job – and it is always conducting business in accordance with the highest standards and in the right way.
3. Currently, in the beer market in the region, competition is strong. How do you assess this market, and do you predict consolidation on the beer manufacturers market?
Global consolidation and concentration of capital are present globally, and in the region for many years back. This is a trend that surely impacts the local market in the sense of product availability, consumer habits, product prices. Also, this is one of the factors making this industry very dynamic and innovative. Recently, you could find merely dozen beer brands on our market, and the consumers could not reliably tell the difference between them. Today, however, we have over 100 active brands on the market and the consumers are definitely not indifferent regarding the type, taste, quality and price of beer anymore.
It was these increasingly demanding consumers, globalization and certain global standards who encouraged the development of craft brewery recently and a growing number of small craft breweries all over the world. They came from the desire for different and unique taste, characteristic for a certain area, not something the consumers could find everywhere, so I believe this is the direction in which the market will move forward.
4. Molson Coors was very active in brewery acquisitions globally in the recent years. Where does the Apatin Brewery stand in the Molson Coors company system?
Each country has its place in this large group, including its local beers and local brewing tradition. For us it is important to develop our 260-year long tradition, passion for making beer and quality of our products to continue to be the first choice for customers and consumers and to continue delighting them. Even though acquisitions affect us, we remained true to our values and I believe consumers recognize that.