Having started production in 1973, the history of Borsodi Brewery dates back almost half a century, and it went to private ownership 20 years later when privatized by the Belgian firm Interbrew. In 2012, the latter was taken over by the American-Canadian Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world’s fifth biggest brewer. Borsodi’s General Manager Zsolt Vuleta explains to Diplomacy&Trade how much ‘Belgian’ the brewery has become over the years and what achievements it has had in the fields of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, including the promotion of responsible alcohol consumption.
“One could say that Borsodi Brewery and Belgian beers have a very special and fond relationship. We were the first distributor to popularize the Belgian beer culture here in Hungary. As a company, we put huge emphasis on always improving our portfolio based on the needs and feedback of our customers. That is why we are proud to say that today, Borsodi has the most extensive Belgian beer portfolio on the Hungarian market, which includes popular brands such as Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe and Belle-Vue Kriek,” the General Manager highlights.
The elite of Belgian beers
All Belgian beers distributed by Borsodi fall into the premium and super premium category. As Zsolt Vuleta puts it, these beers have one thing in common: they are all high-quality premium beers, however, they all cater to a different taste of consumers. Belle-Vue Kriek is a fruity lambic beer that spontaneously ferments and, when matured, acquires a sour taste that is in harmony with the fruity character. Stella Artois is an elegant, restrained lager beer with more than 600 years of Belgian brewing experience reflected in its harmonious and balanced taste. Hoegaarden’s citrus-light refreshing beer is great to drink at any time of the year. “In Hoegaarden’s portfolio, we can even find Rosée, which is a pairing of Hoegaarden White with raspberries. The last members of our Belgian portfolio are the Leffes, which are abbey specialties. While Leffe Blond is a classic light-bodied, dry, bitter ale, Leffe Dark is a dark Belgian ale with pleasant malt and hop notes and a citrusy, fruity taste. The consumer feedback is very positive, and they are looking for Belgian beer specialties separately, but our Belgian Prides also choose individual packaging, which is why we have created an Advent Beer Calendar, which includes 24 excellent Belgian brands,” he adds.
Diversity and successful team culture
One of the most important values cherished by Borsodi Brewery is the ‘Put People First’, stating that the key to inclusive diversity is collaboration and a successful team culture. “At Borsodi Brewery, our employees are at the heart of everything we do as they are producing the high-quality beers that our consumers demand. This value was demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic. We are proud to say that despite all the challenges, we not only kept all our colleagues, we even managed to increase our headcount. We take care of everyone who works at the ‘frothy side of life’ by motivating them, providing opportunities to advance and improve themselves, and rewarding excellence,” the General Manager points out.
He adds that diversity is not a new topic – neither at Molson Coors Beverage Company, nor at Borsodi. “We should be proud of our achievements to date, but we are on a never-ending journey to strengthen our people and ensure that we have a workplace where everyone feels valued, safe and respected, regardless of who they are. In order to become the first choice for our employees, consumers and partners, we are working to build an even more inclusive culture that encourages and supports the diversity of our employees. In the spirit of diversity and inclusion, we all take responsibility for recognizing and valuing the individuality of our company and doing our best to promote positive change. Our commitment to this topic is shown by the fact that we joined the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum Diversity Charta last year.”
Helping those in need
At Borsodi Brewery, particular attention is paid to responsible alcohol consumption, environmental and social responsibility. As Zsolt Vuleta explains, “during the past two years, the pandemic situation has complicated matters, however, this has not prevented colleagues from participating in volunteering activities. In 2020, we organized a clothing collection for families in need and the homeless in Miskolc and Budapest, and we collected foodstuffs for them during the Christmas period. We also joined the national #non-luxury bag campaign, in which we organized fundraising for homeless women. In 2020, we organized two blood donations together with the Hungarian Red Cross with the participation of 39 helping colleagues. In 2020, the coronavirus epidemic posed significant challenges to families raising school-age children. With the help of the Hungarian Reformed Church Charity Public Benefit Foundation, our company distributed 20 tablets to families in need, thus supporting home learning.”
Borsodi Brewery also regularly supports various charity events with its products. This included the National Blood Donation Day held in Miskolc last year, as well as the various activities of the Belgian, Czech and Mexican embassies. The company supported these events with more than HUF two million worth of beer donations.
Borsodi Brewery has a sustainability strategy running till 2025. The company considers its ‘Our Imprint’ goals set by Molson Coors Beverage Company for 2025 as guidance for its own operations and sustainability efforts. Since 2019, Borsodi has published a sustainability report to monitor its progress. The three main pillars of this strategy are ‘Responsibly Refreshing’, signaling the intent on educating the public on responsible alcohol consumption; ‘Responsibly brewing’, describing the company’s actions for a sustainable operation and ‘Collectively crafted’, meaning its efforts to give back to the community.
“We are proud that Borsodi Brewery has reduced the environmental footprint of its plant in the village of Bőcs in 2020, maintaining the zero waste emissions from production achieved in the past, while reducing water and heat energy consumption,” the General Manager notes.
In addition, the company focused on producing consistently high-quality beer. In recognition of this, Borsodi Brewery was awarded in 2020 the IFS International Food Standard Certificate with a high rating of 97.3%. This guarantees that the brewery's quality management and food safety management systems are operating at the highest possible level.
“We are currently working on our next report for 2021. What we can already say as the most important result from 2021 is that we managed to further fulfill our goal of reducing the ecological imprint of our plant in Bőcs. Also, we have announced to cease the use of PET bottles in the production and distribution of our Borsodi beer,” he adds.
Responsible alcohol consumption
As a member of the Molson Coors multinational group of companies, Borsodi Brewery continuously trains its employees to become credible ambassadors of responsible alcohol consumption, and also places a strong emphasis on responsible brand communication.
Zsolt Vuleta emphasizes that Borsodi Brewery is committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of beer. “It is very important for us that our colleagues become ambassadors not just for our brands, but for responsible drinking. That is why we strive to ensure that when someone joins our company, they are introduced to the principles of responsible drinking during their induction training. This training includes responsible drinking, responsible communication and a beer champion training where colleagues can also learn about non-alcoholic products. At Molson Coors, we have created our global alcohol policy, which includes key principles and guidelines for responsible drinking. This is why all our employees are required to complete a regular training called ‘Alcohol Responsibility: Enjoying our Great Brands Responsibly’. The training offers insight into our employee alcohol policy, tips on responsible drinking and guidance on how to apply this to grow our positive Beer Print sustainability initiative at Borsodi as well. However, at all the events, we organize or support, we try to offer an alternative and make non-alcoholic products available.”
In conclusion, the General Manager stresses that “alongside our colleagues, we are doing our best to promote responsible drinking among our consumers. The health and well-being of our customers is of utmost importance to us, as we have demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic when we were the first brewery to broadcast an ad that was completely filmed during the quarantine to remind all our consumers to behave and drink responsibly and adhere to all health warnings. That is also why we put special emphasis on responsible alcohol consumption in all our campaigns. With our advertisements, we want to educate consumers to be open and familiar with beers of different characters and try different tastes. Beer should be the complementary element of a gathering with friends, an event or a family celebration but, of course, to the extent of responsible consumption!”
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