Largest greenfield craft brewery in Serbia on the rise – Tron Beer from Obrenovac on its way to EU and Russia
EUR 100,000 is the minimum amount beer lovers and enthusiasts should dish out if they want to start making their favorite drink.
For, to open a craft brewery of average capacity with the daily output of 500 liters of beer, one needs professional equipment whose price varies depending on the quality and level of automatization then a space of minimum 200 m2 is required as well as three employees minimum, raw ingredients, and then there's indeterminable energy consumption because it's depend of number of times you do the brewing and various other factors that impact the overall cost of the investment.
Nevertheless, craft brewing seems to pay off judging by the number of registered craft beer breweries in Serbia, which there are currently 45.
One of them is Tron Brewery based in Obrenovac which started operations four years ago.
Nemanja Stefanovic, one of the founders of the brewery, when asked by eKapija about how profitable making craft beer was, replied that they invest all of their profits into production, experimenting and education but that they believe their efforts will be worthwhile.
According to him, the current production capacity of the brewery is 15 tons of beer per month nut they have already started building a new brewery which will have four times as much monthly output.
– We are currently realizing one of our biggest greenfield investments in craft brewing in Serbia on a hectare of land in Obrenovac municipality, Stefanovic revealed to our portal and added that Tron Beer, which at the moment could be found in pubs, ale houses and hotels across Serbia, from Subotica in the north to Nis in the south, would after the investment was complete and by 2020 a t he latest would be on its way to EU and Russian markets.
He emphasized that the craft beer market is a dynamic market on the rise both in Serbia and on a global level and that the consumption of craft beer is constantly growing.
– Compared to industrial beer which uses various cereals, corn, hop extract and other ingredients that make production less costly, craft beer consist of solely four ingredients : wort (barley, wheat, oat...), hops (pellets or cones), water and selected beer yeast, says our collocutor.
He further points out that the production process for craft beers lasts longer because craft breweries respect the fermentation and conditioning processes so it can take up to 40 days between boiling to bottling beer. Depending on the type of beer it mostly takes from 25 to 30 days.
– Besides, most industrial beers are go through filtration and pasteurization process while craft beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized which means that most of vitamins, minerals and the rest of the nutrients are kept in beer, Stefanovic explains the difference in quality.
Our collocutor underlines that the essence of craft brewing is experimentation and playing with different tastes.
– Craft breweries, ours included, are focused on so-called ale beers (top-fermenting beers) because you can show wide range of creativity in making ales. Some of the ale styles are Pale Ale, American Pale Ale, IPA (Indian Pale Ale), double IPA, Stout and others. When it comes to Tron brewery beers, I would single out MATADOR beer, first Serbian red IPA beer (6,3% alcohol), HEARTBEET beer made from beetroot juice ( 7% alcohol) and AZACCA, based on the Brut IPA (which gets its name from Brut champagne, because it is very dry and effervescent) with our own “twist” so it has a pinkish colour (5% alcohol), says Nemanja Stefanovic and adds that Tron is currently experimenting with wheat beers and lagers.
When it comes to raw ingredients, the brewery imports them from Germany, while they buy their yeast and hops from a domestic company that imports them from the whole world.
The equipment in the Tron Brewery was made in Serbia and Stefanovic remarks that there are several dedicated domestic manufacturer of equipment for craft breweries.
– The selection of equipment on Serbian market is very good and there are more an more companies that manufacture food processing equipment that want to enter the beer brewing market as the demand for such system grows, he says and explains that the brewery equipment encompasses mash tun, brew kettle, whirlpool, hot and cold water tanks, glycol chiller and fermenters which are the largest and most important vessels for craft beer production.
How craft beer is made
Nemanja Stefanovic describes the process of brewing craft beers for eKapija. The process begins with malting the grains to extract starch which is then goes through mashing in order to extract the sugars, minerals and vitamins from the starch.
After mashing the liquid is strained through a mash tun in order to get the sweet liquid called “wort”. Wort is then transferred into a brew kettle where it's usually boiled with hops. After the boiling the wort is rapidly cooled and moved into the fermenter, a type of yeast is added and the fermentation process lasts from 7 to 10 days at the most. The yeast is very important because it generates alcohol and CO2 “eating” the sugars extracted in the mashing process. When the fermentation is over, the beer is cooled down to 1 degree Celsius and is then left to mature. The yeast then slowly sets to the bottom and beer matures developing its own flavors.