Five years ago, we identified the potential for our one-way PET kegs in the Russian draught beer market. In a notoriously difficult market, with long distances and poor logistics, steel kegs were not the right answer – a simpler, lower cost approach was needed. This was a huge opportunity for Petainer in terms of establishing a leadership position in the sector.
As a result, we took the decision to take a site in Klin to establish a base for Petainer’s new Russian business. Starting from nothing, we invested to establish a production hall and warehouse on a 1000 sqm site. We installed a SIDE prototype blow moulder with a capacity of 420 kegs per hour and employed 12 people who produced and sold the kegs.
The business took off and in 2015 we made our second investment and increased our production capacity. This time our technical team worked with PET Technologies to design a blow moulder to suit our needs, taking the plant’s capacity up to 660 kegs per hour.
The following year we installed injection moulding to help us meet the huge sales volume we were generating and produced our first preform in Klin. We also relocated an injection moulding machine from our production site in the Czech Republic to support our rapid growth. This became fully operational in 2018, meaning we are now producing 12 million preforms a year.
In addition, we also relocated a semi-automatic blow moulder from our Swedish plant so that we could diversify our product portfolio and start manufacturing jars for the rapidly growing sport and nutrition market in Russia.
In tandem with our own investment, we have also had a partnership strategy to expand our manufacturing footprint domestically. In 2016 we partnered with a huge brewery in Siberia so that they could blow kegs for their own use and for us, making it far more cost effective and sustainable to serve this strategically important market. In 2017, we introduced a second partner in the region to meet the demand for even more volume kegs.
One of the key reasons for Petainer’s success in Russia is because we have always had a very clear plan to optimise our production capacity. We now have 7000 sqm – 1000sqm of which is the production hall and 6000 sqm is warehouse space, which means we can provide our customers with products quickly and efficiently.
The second is our technical expertise. I am proud to say that thanks to the skills and knowledge of our team, expansion in Russia has been possible. We have worked with partners to bring blowing technology on line quickly and efficiently and have helped our strategic partners develop their businesses too.
Russia remains a key market for Petainer and one where we will continue to provide our customers with the products they need to support the growth of the draught beer market.