Perła - Browary Lubelskie SA (Lublin Breweries)

Perła - Browary Lubelskie SA (Lublin Breweries)
Interview with Krzysztof Wierzchowski, Modern Trade and Export Director of Perła - Browary Lubelskie SA (Lublin Breweries), on the exports of Polish beer, its promotion and distribution overseas.
Products from Lublin Breweries are well known to connoisseurs of beer in Poland, but also to overseas consumers. Which are the foreign markets where products with the Perła (Pearl) logo can be found?

Perła - Lublin Breweries SA is currently the largest regional beer manufacturer in Poland, and each year the company manages to expand its distribution channels on an increasing scale. Our beer is exported to European markets to countries such as:  Great Britain, France, Greece and Russia. We also send our beer to other continents, mainly to Australia and North America. The distribution of Lublin Breweries SA products in the United States is also very important.

Which beer brands, out of Lublin Breweries portfolio, are available on foreign markets? Which of those beer brands are most popular among foreign consumers?

The main export brand of our company is Perła Chmielowa (Hop Pearl) – flagship product of Lublin Breweries. Perła Chmielowa as well as Perła Mocna (Strong Pearl) are the main beer brands exported to the United States and the United Kingdom. Residents of Greece can also enjoy Perła Export, which they can easily find in their stores. Products brewed in Lublin can also be found in Australia. Besides, in addition to the regular brands, our trading partners distribute the export version of Perła Chmielowa, known as Perła Lubelska (Pearl of Lublin).

Is the demand for Polish beer overseas created chiefly by Polish communities living there, or have Polish beer manufacturers managed to convince native citizens of those countries to the taste of our beer?

Polish beer is known and loved by consumers around the world. This is due, mainly, to its high quality as well as excellent taste, obtained by traditional methods of brewing. Our countrymen who decide to leave to start new lives elsewhere, remain faithful to their favourite Polish beer brands. They reach for Polish beer with pleasure and nostalgia, also the beer from Lublin Brewery. However, the demand for Polish beer overseas is not only and exclusively the result of the interest expressed by Poles. Also foreigners are increasingly eager to taste our beer brands.

What is the distribution process of beer to make sure it ends up on a store shelf overseas?

The foreign market looks much like the Polish market. Beer is sold to our business partners who have the appropriate authorization to sell products of Lublin Breweries SA and who manage the distribution of our beers in a given area, making sure the beer reaches retailers directly.

Is the export of beer an easy direction of development for Polish breweries? What barriers must companies operating in the beer manufacturing industry face?

It is not easy to acquire an overseas customer, due to high competition on the beer market. When it comes to barriers – as I already said – very strong competition, legal regulations that are practically different in every country (sometimes it is difficult to commence cooperation because of long-standing procedures of product registration on the target market). Logistic costs are also of great importance, as they affect the price competitiveness of our products compared to local products. 

In what way do government or state institutions support the export activity of Polish beer manufacturers? Is that support sufficient?

Government or state institutions support us, beer manufacturers, in our export activities, through subsidies provided to companies seeking to increase export sales, and in particular to companies located in the eastern part of Poland. Also, diplomatic missions outside of the Polish borders organize various industry meetings, which make it possible to establish new business contacts. It is a significant support, however to obtain it, certain conditions must be fulfilled. More than often, the number of companies that can receive funding is limited, usually to 10 – 15 companies.

How are you, Lublin Breweries, promoting your own products on overseas markets? How important is, to you, your presence on trade fairs and exhibitions, held outside Poland?

Lublin Breweries SA participate in trade fairs, trade missions, industry exhibitions. The presence of our company on this type of events is very important. It is the way in which we promote our brands, and customers have a chance to get a taste of our beer and compare it with other brands of beer offered by local breweries as well as the products of multinational companies, which, as anyone can see, compete more and more effectively not only in Poland.

Thank you.