Bulgaria: Kamenitza builds microbrewery on former brewery site

Kamenitza, the leading brewer in Bulgaria and since 2012 part of U.S.-based Molson Coors Brewing Co., broke ground for a €2 million ($2.4m) multi-functional complex in Bulgaria’s second largest city Plovdiv. The new buildings are expected to be completed in 2018.and will include a craft beer microbrewery and a museum.

Last month Kamenitza sold 30,500 square meter of its former brewery site in the center of Plovdiv to two local companies, which intend to build there an urban development called “New Eastern Gate Kamenitza” that will comprise office and residential areas, a hotel, sports center and retail outlets. The brewery retained an adjacent 3,500 square meter plot of land on which it now started to build the multi-functional complex.

Kamenitza was established in 1881 on a hill in Plovdiv with the same name. During communist times the brewery was nationalized. After the fall of the iron curtain in 1995 Belgian multinational company InBev , the predecessor of AB InBev, bought the brewery together with two other breweries (Astika and Burgasko Pivo). Two years later it added another brewery (Plevensko Pivo) to the group.

In October 2009, one year after the merger of InBev and Anheuser-Busch, private equity fund CVC Capital Partners bought all of Anheuser–Busch InBev's holdings in Central Europe for €2.23 billion ($2.2bn) and renamed the operations StarBev. In 2012, after a phase of restructuring, CVC offloaded StarBev again for €2.65bn ($3.54 bn).

In 2015 Kamenitza decided to close its brewery in Plovdiv and to relocate production to its other brewery, in the city of Haskovo, some 90 km southeast of Plovdiv. In the last years the company focused on the mid-priced-to-premium positioned brands while neglecting economy brands like Pleven and Astika. This lead to a decline in volume share of 1% in 2016. Still, Kamenitza remained to be the leading brewery in Bulgaria with a volume share of 28%.

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