The FINANCIAL — Brewing has a long tradition in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Beer is among the population’s favourite drinks, especially in the summertime when demand can go up by a staggering 300 per cent.
This year the sales have been even higher than usual, most likely due to the football World Cup, explains Mr Edin Ibrahimpasic, CEO of Bihacka Pivovara.
Building a competitive business
The EBRD has supported the drinks producer with a €1 million loan through a local partner bank, Sparkasse Bank Sarajevo. This helped the company to buy a new beer-filling line and system and other equipment, allowing it to improve beer production and packaging.
All drinks meet the necessary European Union (EU) standards to be exported. While they’re only locally distributed for now, this provides the brewery with the option of expanding to other markets in the future.
The EU provided funds for the project, which ensure that the most suitable equipment is chosen and its installation verified later on. They also include an incentive payment to participating businesses to help create a market for such investments in the future.
Andrea Vera, Head of Operations Section for Economic Development, Trade, Infrastructure and Natural Resources at the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, highlights the need for Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve its business climate and create opportunities for economic recovery.
The drinks producer in Bihac is one of several dozen businesses which have benefited from the EBRD’s and EU’s support to invest in new equipment and processes and comply with EU standards.
The activities have supported a broad range of beneficiaries, ranging from glass producers to wood manufacturers and agribusinesses.
Creating job opportunities
In the case of Bihac Pivovara, the EBRD and EU have been long-time partners in the brewery’s development. It also benefited from a credit line several years ago to invest in various energy efficiency measures, including the replacement of an old boiler and buying other energy-saving equipment.