Spendrups Bryggeri AB

Thinking big

As Sweden’s largest independent brewery, Spendrups Bryggeri AB manufactures, imports, distributes and sells alcoholic beverages across the country

Spendrups Bryggeri AB is a Swedish family-owned and independent brewery. The business was founded as Grängesbergs Bryggeri AB in 1897 and during more than a century in operation, the company has grown into one of the country’s largest distributers of alcoholic beverages. Spendrups today sells to Swedish restaurants, the country’s government-owned Systembolaget alcohol monopoly retail chain and the grocery trade. The company is Sweden’s leading distributor of beer, while through its Spring Wine & Spirits subsidiary Spendrups represents the second largest supplier to the Systembolaget.

The resources of the Spendrups Group include three breweries situated within Sweden, while its beverage portfolio consists of beer, wine, spirits, bottled water, cider and soft drinks The company is presently in its fourth generation of private ownership and during its history has build up several successful beer brands such as its Heineken, Norrlands Guld and Mariestads lines, as well as the company’s Loka sparkling water. Spendrups currently employs approximately 900 people throughout the group, with a production capacity of some four million hectolitres of beverages annually. This allowed the business to generate a turnover of around €350 million throughout 2014. “Spendrups has a very long-term perspective on our operations, which is focused on ‘planning for generations, not for quarters.’ We have just finished a grand plan, with which we have made huge investments in production capacity with a clear environmental perspective,” explains Spendrups CEO, Fredrik Spendrup.

“Our overarching strategic ambition centres around ‘being big but acting small.’ Although Spendrups is a fairly small brewing company compared to the global giants, we are a major player in our home market Sweden,” he continues. “In order for us to balance between the giants and the country’s many microbreweries we need to be both small and big at the same time. This is demonstrated by the fact that we are that we are the producer of Sweden’s most popular beer, Mariestads and two of the country’s most successful craft breweries Gotlands Bryggeri and Brutal Brewing. This offers our clients a strong and robust delivery system as well as a refined portfolio of cutting edge beer brands, which is to the benefit of both customers and consumers.”

Proactive approach
With its annual production capacity of four million hectolitres, Spendrups is able to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of brewed products. The company’s manufacturing strength has also benefitted from a continued programme of investment to promote greater efficiency throughout the business. “We currently manage four production sites, with one located in Grängesberg which is our major production site for beer, cider and soda. We also operate a ‘water site’ about one hour drive from Grängesberg in Hällefors, which is located in the vicinity of our Loka springs where we source our Loka water. In Visby on the island of Gotland we have a microbrewery named ‘Gotlands Bryggeri’ that specialises in creative craft brewing. We are now planning to expand the production capacity of this part of the business, with a new production site in coming years. Lastly we have an experimental brewing site in our HQ in Vårby outside of Stockholm, where basically all Spendrups brews are developed and tested,” Fredrik elaborates. “During the last five years we have made major investments valued at around €170 million at the company’s Grängesberg plant. This was the outcome of our production strategy to build one major site with a capacity to handle about 70 different brews in one place. As a result the Grängesberg site is today one of the most advanced and sustainable breweries in Europe.”

Further to investing in the brewing strength of the company, Spendrups has also made great strides in enhancing the sustainability of the business. This represents the company’s ambition to define itself as a market leader in all aspects of the Spendrups Group. “Spendrups aims to be the best beverage company in the market and this also means that we must strive to be the most responsible company. We are convinced that a proactive approach to sustainability is crucial to give us the best possible conditions for success both today and tomorrow. This also includes responsibility for the world and people around us, meaning our owners, customers, suppliers and co-workers. We must always act in a way that shows we deserve their confidence and appreciation. How we work should contribute to a sustainable world,” Fredrik says. “Spendrups and its subsidiaries follow the United Nation Global Compacts and the OECD principals. This refers to how companies should act towards consumers and the public, regarding labor law, anti-corruption, human rights and environmental sustainability. We are certified according to ISO 14001 and during the past five years we have invested heavily in building one of Europe’s most advanced and climate savvy brewing sites.”

Strong market
During the coming years, Spendrups will seek to continue to build on its investment across the business to increase its presence within Sweden. This will involve the development of its own products, as well as cooperation with other leader beverage manufacturers to further solidify the company’s reputation as Sweden’s leading alcoholic drinks manufacturer and distributor. “Sweden has had a very strong economy for nearly a decade and an enormous growth in craft beer and microbreweries. The market has hence been really strong and Spendrups has managed to grow even faster than the market for the last three years. There has also been a premiumfication of beer and beverages in general which has benefited Spendrups and the whole Swedish brewing scene,” Fredrik concludes. “We are interested in many sorts of co-operations and collaborations with clients and the brewing community. Being a fairly small brewery on an international scale we always seek long-term relationships with big and professional companies where we can benefit and contribute. We are very happy and proud to have these existing relationships with internationally renowned companies and brands. Our vision is to be a world-class brewery and that guides us in all pure strategic efforts now and in coming years. Being a major player in a fairly small however trend sensitive market like Sweden calls for a certain focus on how to expand and broaden our product portfolio and always dare to be willing to try out new areas and products. We are currently in the process of launching a new three-year strategic plan. But our focus in the coming 12 months is to further expand and reinvest in our production site in Grängesberg and build a new water pipeline from our springs in Loka to our Hällefors site which will benefit the environment and the local community as well as further strengthening sparkling water production for the long-term.”