Issue Issue 106 October 2015
With roots dating back to the 19th century, Aldaris operates as a leading traditional brewery company within Latvia and the Baltic states
The year 1865 was a period of several firsts and great opportunity around the world, signalling events such as the end of the American Civil War, the transmission of the world’s first fax message and the publication of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ In the same year Latvian brewer, Janis Dauders built the Waldschlösschen, or Forest Castle, in a Riga suburb. By 1906 the facility represented the most modern brewery in Europe and in 1937 the state joint-stock company Aldaris was established.
Today Aldaris is part of the Carlsberg Group, which became the sole owner of the business in 2008 and represents the largest producer of beer in Eastern and Northern Europe and the fourth largest in Europe. As of 2015 Aldaris is able to celebrate a century and a half of brewing heritage and presently provides a diverse range of beverages comprised of local and imported beers, ciders, long drinks, water, soft drinks and energy drinks. The brand portfolio of imported beers overseen by Aldaris for example, is comprised of some of the world’s most recognised beverages such as Carlsberg, Tuborg, Baltika, Staropramen and Grimbergen.
Throughout its history, Aldaris has continually worked to ensure that provides a premium level of quality and a brand porfolio that reflects the requirements of the market. During September 2013, in response to in-depth analysis of the Latvian beer market, Aldaris announced a change in strategy to focus of the production of craft and premium beer. As part of its new strategy Aldaris further announced the investment of €3 million into the reopening of its historic brewery for the development of several new craft beers, as well continued focus on efficiency initiatives. Data collected by AC Nielson has demonstrated that the premium and craft beer segment is constantly growing in Latvia, for example since 2009 the craft beer segment has grown by 50 per cent and already represents more than 14 per cent of the total market.
Prior to 2013 Aldaris had not been present within the craft beer segment, however following the decision to approach this market the brewery was able to begin the development of exclusive craft beer in glass bottles and kegs. Commenting on the announcement of the development of its new beers, Aldaris CEO Veli Pekka Tennila said: “We strongly believe that consumers will appreciate the highest quality craft beer created in Aldaris historic brewery. Our analysis shows that demand for craft beer is still growing and consumer needs are not fully satisfied. With the opening of historic brewery we see Aldaris becoming one of the best craft beer breweries in the region.”
By February 2014 Aldaris had received the new equipment, valued at €1.3 million necessary to brew craft beer. In a press release published in February 2014, Valdis Cunka, Aldaris brewing master commented: “We are now on the homestretch and we will soon offer new exclusive craft beers to our clients. In total we have brewed more than 30 samples of different beers, from which only three best ones were selected by beer fans during tasting. As re-launching the old brewery is a historic event for us, we will offer beer fans to choose the most suitable names for the new craft beers, like in 1937, when the names of beer brands like Gaišputis and Tumšlase were chosen in a popular vote.”
The new beer will be made available in 0.5l and 0.33l bottles, as well as kegs in a specialist brewery, where most of the brewing will be done manually. Furthermore, existing brands of Aldaris beer will also be brewed at newly re-opened historic brewery. Aldaris also plans to use Latvian malt to brew its special craft beers and is currently working with suppliers to develop the first experimental batch of malt to be sure of its quality. As such, Aldaris is placed to become the first Latvian brewery to use Latvian-produced malt in several years, as previously it was not possible to use local material owing to the lack of a malthouse in country, whereas today Latraps will produce malt in Latvia. “I think that beer fans will greatly appreciate our beer brands produced in the historic brewery, because we see that more and more consumers prefer craft beer brands, which should be enjoyed slowly, without haste. The same trend can be seen also elsewhere in the world,” Valdis notes.
Further to the on-going development of its craft beers, Aldaris has continued to enjoy great success with existing product portfolio. During September 2014 for example, it was announced that the company’s Aldaris Porteris porter beer had been recognised as Europe’s premier strong porter beer, winning a gold medal at the prestigious World Beer Awards. “We are proud of this achievement because the evaluation was very scrupulous and the competition tough. A team consisting of several dozens of experts evaluated beers in a blind tasting, paying particular attention to nuances like colour, aroma, foam and taste,” Valdis says.
The brewing technology of Aldaris Porter is unique, as it uses a special combination of beer ingredients including caramel malt, hops and a special degree of fermentation that is typical of the Baltic States. The result is a beer with a combination of bitterness, sweetness and fermentation that cannot be found in any other part of the world.
In building on the success of its unique porter, Aldaris has also announced the imminent arrival of a new 24-month aged porter during late 2015. Forty thousand litres of this special porter have been brewed and are currently aging. Previously during late 2013 the company released a 12-month aged Porteris Ekskluzivais beer, which proved to be highly popular. With the upcoming release of its range of craft beers and its specialty porter, Aldaris is set to provide its clients with a premium range of beverages to suit all tastes over the coming months. “Like a wine, a properly brewed and aged beer becomes even better over time, getting a special taste and aroma. Therefore, in the second half of 2015 beer fans will be offered a unique, two years old Aldara Porteris,” Valdis concludes. “This will be certainly the first beer in Latvia having made such a long way from a brewing tank to consumers.”