The breweries Utenos Alus and Kalnapilis exported 6,000 and 2,000
The Lithuanian Brewers Association said Lithuanian beer export has
dropped by 10 times in the past couple of years.
In 1997 Lithuania exported 573,000 deciliters of beer, while in 1998,
its beer exports slumped to 162,000 deciliters. According to
producers, Lithuania's beer exports to the neighbouring countries are
hampered by a 24 percent malt import duty that increases beer price
and reduces its competitiveness.
Gubernija brewery leader Romualdas Dunauskas thinks that growth of
domestic market and beer exports would depend only on the state
policy. "Beer consumption should grow, if government encouraged
production of weak alcoholic drinks,"he said.
Acquiring Swiss production facilities, Gubernija plans to join market
competition with fourfold strength next summer. Last year the
Gubernija domestic beer market share stood at just 6.6 percent;
however, Siauliai-based brewery beer sales soared by 35 percent
year-on-year to 1.17 million deciliters.
Gubernija is one of the few Lithuanian beer producers having its own
beer pubs. Dunauskas says that this is not only an extra business,
but a good market monitor as well.
"Our own pubs and cafes usually signal the rising or falling beer
demand,"Gubernija brewery leader said. Gubernija, the oldest brewery
in the Baltic states, remained the only large Lithuanian beer
producer having no strategic investor. Dunauskas said his company
would try to expand business by investing 27 million litas $6.75
million into modernization.