Dreher Breweries is undergoing a complete transformation along a ten-year master plan, reports Index. Next year, the breweries will be 170 years old, and from January it will embark on the biggest investment program in its history.
In the first phase of the HUF 100 billion (EUR 261 million) investment, running until 2025, and requiring HUF 30 billion (EUR 78 million) in financing, a new energy unit will be built and the fermentation and conditioning tanks will be replaced. This will be followed by an expansion of the storage capacity and a renewal of the brewhouse. At the 170-year-old brewery in Kőbánya (10th District in Budapest), outdated technology will be replaced in a way that modernization will also help to meet sustainability targets.
A development on a similar scale is unprecedented in the history of beer production in Hungary. 30 percent of the funds have already been secured by a decision of the parent company, Japan’s Asahi.
The comprehensive infrastructure renovation of the long-established quarry plant will not only improve efficiency and increase competitiveness by modernizing equipment, machinery, and technology, but will also contribute to meeting sustainability targets by reducing energy and water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The first phase of the 10-year master plan, from 2024-2026, will see the construction of a new energy unit from next January, followed by the replacement of fermentation and conditioning tanks.
József Bai, the company’s finance director, said that they wanted to make this a priority investment for the national economy, just like the recent 120 percent increase in the production capacity of aluminium-can beers. However, the two are in a different category, the former being a HUF 7 billion (EUR 18,000) project.
What they have in common, however, is that
they are undertaking the development on their own, without any financial support from the state or the EU.
As for the rest of the master plan, he said that the second phase would be launched in 2027. An important step will be to increase the warehouse base and to renew the cooking house.
Gábor Békefi, CEO of the Dreher Breweries, pointed out that the importance of the company is reflected in the fact that it employs almost 600 people and indirectly provides a livelihood for more than 11,000 families, in the fields of catering, logistics, and marketing. 86 percent of Dreher’s suppliers are small and medium-sized domestic enterprises, while the company contributes more than HUF 17 billion (EUR 44.4 million) to the state budget annually in the form of excise duties, VAT, product taxes, and other levies.
Asahi entered the life of Dreher Breweries in 2017, after AB InBev acquired SABMiller and then divested a number of its Central and Eastern European interests as part of a multi-stage portfolio clean-up. At the same time, not only the ownership, but also the management of the Hungarian brewery changed. The new management focused on a heritage-building philosophy, and concentrated on a combination of tradition and modernity in operations, products, and corporate culture development.
In recent years, corporate strategy has had to be brought closer to consumer needs in order to improve profitability, not only increasing sales but also profits. There is no other way to make positive investment decisions within a brewing group. For instance, the aforementioned increase in can-filling capacity has enabled Dreher not only to reduce its import requirements, but also to establish itself as an exporter within the group.
Via Index, Featured image: Dreher Sörgyárak