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Quenching Turkey’s thirst for growth

Article - October 10, 2011
Although Turkey is not officially a part of the EU just yet, the country’s culture and lifestyle have already shifted, becoming more like the West.
There is more disposable income and people are socialising more. This has allowed the beverage industries to significantly grow. Efes Beer Group is the fifth largest independent European brewer and the second largest beer brand in Europe, exporting to 65 countries, a record in 2010 for their exports. “Very few people know that the Efes brand in particular is the second largest beer brand in Europe. It sells more than Heineken, so exporting to Europe is very important,” says Alejandro Jimenez, president of Efes Beer Group.

Efes produces and markets malt and soft drinks, in addition to beer, in countries including Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, Southeastern Europe and the Middle East. At the end of 2009, Efes’ total annual brewing capacity was 35 million hectolitres with a total malt capacity of 256,000. It has become a global powerhouse with 16 breweries, six malthouses and 20 Coca-Cola bottling plants in 16 countries. 

Turkey’s economic expansion has given Efes an advantageous position. Mr Jimenez explains, “The increase of the wealthy and middle class in Turkey, along with new consumption habits, has certainly had a positive effect on us. People go out more and sometimes they drink beer. We are the dominant player here in the beer market.”

Turkey only accounts for 35 per cent of Efes’ total business volume, making the international markets crucial. The UK is especially important. “Over two million people from the UK come to Turkey on holiday. We want to give people the opportunity to enjoy our beers in Great Britain,” says Mr Jimenez.