Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, member of the House of Wittelsbach, which reigned as kings of Bavaria until 1918, and CEO of König Ludwig Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg has confirmed to start soon production at his new brewery in Kukuljanovo, 12 km east of Rijeka, Croatia’s third-largest city.
“The work progresses daily. We will test all devices intensively until we achieve the same quality as in Bavaria and before we enter the market. The majority of our 50-strong team has already been appointed, and we had a full year of preparation,” Prince Luitpold said in an interview with Croatian daily newspaper Novi List.
Kaltenberg Adria covers an area of 10,000 square meters and was built in a modular concept with 30,000 hectoliters in the first phase costing about €10 million, capable to be extended for €15 million to 100,000 hectoliters a year. At the beginning the brewery will brew with a staff of 50 people Kaltenberg Pils, a pale lager type beer and Kaltenberg Hefeweissbier, a wheat beer. Most of the products will be sold locally since Rijeka does not have an own brewery. In addition Kaltenberg will run a restaurant and beer garden adjacent to the brewery.
Kaltenberg entered the Croatian market in 1994 and concluded a license agreement with Jadranska Pivovara, a local brewery from Split. In 2001 the Slovenian brewery Pivovarna Laško bought a majority share in the Croatian brewery and tried to push its own beers. The strategy did not prove very successful and after a loss in 2009 of 42 million Kuna (about $6.5 million) the brewery was temporarily closed and afterwards put up for sale. Prince Luitpold was interested but a sale did not materialize.
In 2015, Heineken bought 51.11% of Pivovarna Laško and became also owner of Jadranska Pivovara. The international brewing group, which already owned Karlovačka pivovara (Heineken Croatia) as well as two Serbian breweries in Zajecar and Novi Sad, was no longer interested to support the licensed brand. The license agreement was therefore cancelled by mutual agreement and gave Kaltenberg the chance to build a brewery on its own.
Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg, the name giver for Kaltenberg Adria, was opened in 1871 and used to be a small and insignificant brewery at Prince Luitpold’s ancestral seat and family home Castle Kaltenberg in Bavaria. In 1976, when the heir of the Wittelsbach dynasty took over the helm of castle and brewery, he revived the more than 750 year old family tradition in brewing. In 1980 he purchased Marthabräu brewery at nearby Fürstenfeldbruck to enlarge production and he extended distribution of its beers under the Kaltenberg, Prinzregent Luitpold and König Ludwig brands step by step across Bavaria and later all over Germany.
In 2001 Kaltenberg formed an alliance with Warsteiner Group, at that time one of the leading breweries in Germany. The partners founded König Ludwig Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg, a joint venture in which both partners hold equal parts. Up to today Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg brews its beers for the German market under license of König Ludwig International (KLI), a company controlled by Prince Luitpold himself.
Besides the license in Germany and the new one with Kaltenberg Adria in Croatia, KLI also holds licenses with APU in Mongolia, Arasan in Kazakhstan, Banjalučka Pivar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Boljarka in Bulgaria, CMJ Breweries in India, Krinitsa in Belarus, Krönleins Bryggeri in Sweden, Marston’s in UK, Mykulyntsi in Ukraine, Noushab in Iran, Indah Abadi in Indonesia, TBT Urbräu in China and Biyat in Turkmenistan.
Another agreement with Castel Georgia in Georgia, which was signed in May 2015 is currently on hold after the sole owner of the company, Temur Chkoniawas sold a majority share to Zaza Nishninaidze and his Tiflis based JSC Argo. The new owner introduced the Dutch beer Holland in Georgia, which partly competes with the Kaltenberg beer range.
A new licence of KLI with Tatspirtprom in Kazan, Russia will start in June next year (inside.beer, 23.10.2017).
Besides beer, König Ludwig International also grants licenses for water, spirits, food (cheese, bread, fruit spreads, muesli, coffee, icecream, confisery and patisserie), fashion and other life style products, hotels and restaurants.
King Ludwig’s Castle, is an experience-orientated restaurant concept in the style of German Romanticism, which does not only feature rooms and decoration in the style of legendary Neuschwanstein Castle but also serves Kaltenberg beer. Latest edition following on from Euro Disney Paris, Vail/USA, Aichi/Japan and Munich is King Ludwig’s Castle in Shanghai, which was opened at the end of October 2016.
Prince Luitpold holds the third position in line of succession of the Bavarian throne. Because the current head and heir of the Royal House of Bavaria, Duke Franz and his younger brother Max, have no male offspring, their first cousin Luitpold and his son Prince Ludwig are next in line to inherit representation of the House of Bavaria's historically royal legacy.