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Asahi to invest in Hungarian beer in a big way

Asahi’s Hungarian beer business Dreher Breweries is about to receive the biggest investment in its history as part of a decade-long plan.

(Image: Elekes Andor/wikipedia/CC – Dreher Sörgyárak Zrt. Brewery)

Dreher Breweries, which was absorbed by Asahi in 2017 after AB InBev acquired SABMiller back in 2016 and was forced to divest a portion of its central and eastern European interests, will undergo investment and expansion over the next 10 years, according to local sources.

The first phase of the HUF100 billion (€261 million) investment will reportedly begin in January 2024 and will continue until 2026. This will include a new energy unit being built and the fermentation and conditioning tanks being replaced. This stage is estimated to require HUF30 billion (€78 million) in financing.

Dreher Breweries, which is 170 years old and based in Kőbánya (the 10th district in Budapest), will then see its technology replaced to meet sustainability targets and also see its storage capacity expanded.

Local reports have highlighted that 30% of the funds have already been secured by Asahi and such a development on a similar scale is unprecedented in the history of beer production in Hungary.

József Bai, the company’s finance director, stated that the company wanted to make this a priority investment for the national economy, just like the recent 120% increase in the production capacity of aluminium-can beers.

The second phase is set to launch in 2027 and will involve increasing the warehouse base and to renewing the other buildings, but essentially is being termed ‘the financing stage’.

Dreher Breweries CEO Gábor Békefi said that 86% of the business’s suppliers are small and medium-sized domestic enterprises, but added that the company contributes more than HUF17 billion to the state budget annually in the form of excise duties, VAT, product taxes and other levies.

Dreher Breweries currently employs approximately 600 people but, according to Hungary’s Index, the business indirectly provides a livelihood for more than 11,000 families, illustrating the breadth of the impact the investment will have on the country and its economy.

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