The Baltika factory in St Petersburg was constructed in accordance with a design prepared by the Gipropishcheprom-2 Institute. It was planned as one of the breweries within Lenpivo, the Leningrad Association of the Beer Brewing and Nonalcoholic Beverages Industry.
Construction of the new factory began in 1978. The state enterprise Baltika Brewery was formed in 1990 right after completion of the construction work.
The first shipment of just 27,000 litres of beer was brought to market in November, 1990. The Baltika brand did not yet exist. Instead the plant produced beer under the widespread trademarks of the time: Zhigulevskoye, Rizhskoye, Admiralteiskoye and Prazdnichnoye.
In 1992 the enterprise embarked on privatisation. During this process the Company was reorganised into an Open Joint-Stock Company. The shareholders of Baltika at the time were 28 legal entities and more than 2,000 private individuals. Today the largest owner of Baltika shares is the company Baltic Beverages Holding AB.
At about this time, the idea arose to create a proprietary "Baltika" brand. From the very beginning, Baltika beer was exclusively conceived as a beer of the very highest European quality brewed according to classical technology. In order to fulfill this task, the factory management developed its first investment programme for the reconstruction and development of the enterprise.
Following the implementation of the reconstruction programme, Baltika became the first brewery in Russia equipped with the most modern European equipment. The Company began its regional expansion in 1997, when it created its own holding company and purchased a controlling interest in the Donskoye Pivo factory in Rostov-on-Don. In October 2000 it took control of the Tula brewery. Baltika specialists developed an investment programme directed at increasing the capacity of the purchased factories and replacing outdated equipment. Moreover, beginning in 1998 Baltika created a network of sales subdivisions in the regions. Presently there are 95 representations of the Company in the major cities of Russia.
In this way the former name "Baltika Brewery" ceased to describe the scope of the company. Therefore, in 1998 the shareholders approved the decision of the Board of Directors to rename the enterprise, and its full name became "Baltika Breweries."
In 1999 construction was completed on an automated warehouse for finished goods situated on the territory of the Baltika factory in St Petersburg. It was unique in the high degree of automation and in the possibility it provided of unloading goods onto either truck or railway transport.
November 30, 2000 marked the opening of Soufflet-St Petersburg, Russia’s largest malt. This was jointly built by Baltika Breweries and the French-based Groupe Soufflet. The French partners invested around $35 million in the project and received 70% of the shares in the plant, while Baltika assumed the remaining expenses and took 30% of the shares in the project. The production capacity of the Soufflet-St Petersburg Malt Plant is 105,000 tonnes of malt per year.
In August 2004, the most modern malt plant in Russia and neighboring countries opened at the Baltika factory in Tula. The high quality malt obtained at the plant from superior varieties of barley (such as Scarlett, Prestige and Barque) fully meets the standards of leading European producers.
The year 2006 was a turning point in the history of Baltika Breweries. On March 7 shareholders of Baltika Breweries voted by an overwhelming majority to approve the Company’s merger with the brewery concerns Vena, Pikra and Yarpivo.
The merger of the companies was a unique project for Russia from the standpoint of the specifics, complexity and deadlines. The procedure was conducted in strict conformity with Russian legislation and with full respect for the interests of shareholders in all four companies. Thanks to precise coordination of the actions of shareholders, management and all employees of Baltika, Vena, Pikra and Yarpivo, as well as to a transparent information policy, the project was implemented in strict accordance with international corporate law.
In 2007, the companies Baltika, Vena, Pikra and Yarpivo exist as a unified legal entity.
Description of Baltika Breweries today:
- The leader on the Russian beer market
- One of the leading European produces of beer
- The Baltika brand is Europe’s second largest in terms of sales
- The Company accounts for more than 80% of all Russian beer exports
- Product is exported to 52 countries
- 11 breweries: two factories in St Petersburg and factories in Rostov-on-Don, Tula, Samara, Khabarovsk, Yaroslavl, Voronezh, Chelyabinsk Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk
- Around 12,000 employees
In November 2006, Baltika made public a major new investment project for the construction of the first Baltika brewery in Western Siberia, which will become the Company’s 11th factory in Russia. The project is estimated to be worth 65 million Euros. Construction will be financed from the Company’s own funds and will be completed in time for the 2008 beer season. The capacity of the factory will be 2 million hectoliters per year.
The general public has come to think of Baltika as an "economic wonder." There are relatively few examples in world history of a company becoming the leader of its industrial sector in such a brief time. Today Baltika Breweries can be called the national pride of Russia.