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Saku (beer)

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Saku (beer)

Saku Õlletehase AS
Brewery / Ltd.
Industry Food Production
Founded 1820
Headquarters Saku, Estonia
Key people Veli Pekka Tennilä, chairman of the board
Margus Kastein, sales director
Enn Kärblane, head brewmaster
Products Beer, Cider, Mineral Water, Long Drinks, Soft Drinks, Energy Drinks, Beer Cocktails

Saku Brewery is an Estonian brewery and soft drinks company based in Saku. It was founded in 1820 by local landlord Karl Friedrich von Rehbinder.

Estonian brewing traditions and Saku Brewery

Beer was already known in present-day Estonia between 500 and 1000 A.D., when it was mostly used as a sacrificial drink. Breweries were first established in the larger villages in the middle of the 13th century. Beer was brewed at home, in abbeys and castles – it was the main drink together with small beer and milk. Soon the beer became so frequently consumed that fees and penalties were added to its cost. Currently, there are five breweries in Estonia, three of which belong into the Estonian Beer Brewers Association: Saku Brewery, A. Le Coq Brewery and Viru Brewery.[1]

Beer has become the main drink for Estonian farmers since the beginning of the 16th century. Beer was always brewed for bigger holidays and family events like wedding, baptisms and funerals. All kinds of beer songs and jokes relating to it were very popular among the common people.

The brewing traditions of Saku Brewery reach back to the beginning of the 19th century. Then the Saku estate was owned by count Karl Friedrich von Rehbinder who built a distillery and a brewery on his estate. The brewery was first documented in October 1820. It is believed that the production of beer, for the purpose of sale to pubs and taverns began in the autumn of that year. From the end of 19th century onward Saku has remained among the leading breweries in Estonia.


In 1991 joint venture Saku Õlletehas was established. Since January 27, 1998 the shares of Saku Brewery were traded in the list on the Tallinn Stock Exchange. On 20 September 2008, the shares of Saku Õlletehase AS were delisted from Tallinn Stock Exchange. Today 100% of the shares are owned by Carlsberg Breweries.

Through large investments, Saku Brewery has become the market leader on the Estonian beer market. According to market research by ACNielsen in March 2009, Saku Brewery held 38.7% of the local market share.[2] The total sales of beer by Saku amounted to 59 million litres in 2007.[3]

Beverages of Saku Brewery are exported amongst other countries to Sweden (the only Estonian beer in the Systembolaget is Saku Kuld), Finland, Netherlands, England, Germany, Ireland and Canada. Saku's exports during the first five months of 2009 amounted to 3.12 million litres.[4]


Saku Originaal is the flagship product of Saku Brewery and is made of yeast, water and selected malt and hops. Brewing of Saku Originaal started in 1993, making it the first Estonian beer to be sold after Estonia regained its independence. According to market research conducted by Emor in 2002, Saku Originaal is the most recognised and popular Estonian beer.[5]

In April 2009, Saku Brewery invested over 70 million kroons into a new crystal-filtering technology, the first brewery to take this technology into usage in Estonia. Saku Originaal was the first beer to be brewed with the new technology. Crystal-filtering helps remove bacteria from the beer during brewing, giving the beer a longer lifetime and stronger taste.[6]

Besides beers, Saku Brewery also produces mineral water (Vichy), cider (Kiss), long drinks (Saku ZIP), energy drinks (Battery, Traffic) and beer cocktails (DLight).

  • Beers
    • Saku Originaal, Saku Kuld, Saku Valge, Saku Rock, Saku Lite, Saku Hele, Saku Tume, Saku On Ice, Taurus, Saku President, Saku Blond, Saku Porter, Carlsberg
  • Mineral Water, Energy Drinks and Soft Drinks
    • Vichy Classique, Vichy VivaFresh, VivaFresh Fruity Grape&Pear, Battery, Battery Juiced, Battery Sugarfree, Traffic, Vichy Ice Tea
  • Long Drinks and Cider
    • KISS Premium Dry, KISS Lite, KISS Strong, KISS Blueberry, KISS Cherry, KISS Pear, KISS Strawberry, Saku ZIP Long Drink Greip, Saku ZIP Long Drink Watermelon, Saku ZIP Long Drink Kaktus-Sidrun, DLight Lemon, DLight Pomegranate, DLight Grapefruit


Among other marketing activities, Saku Brewery sponsors the following events and organizations:[7]

  • Tartu Ülikool/Rock, an Estonian professional basketball team
  • Estonian Ski Association
  • Hard Rock Laager, an Estonian rock music festival
  • International Summer Competition for Skiers
  • Rabarock, an Estonian rock music festival
  • Silverspoon gastronomy award


External links

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