Development of the brewery until 1947
The Hadjislavchev & Co Brewery
The Hadjislavchev & Co Brewery was the largest food processing industry in the county during this period. At that time, beer was considered a more luxurious drink than wine because its price was 3 to 4 times higher than that of red drink. Beer was mostly consumed by people with more financial resources.
Many of the brewery’s activities were carried out by workers. The brewing installation was very narrow and the heating was done by fire, manually. The refrigeration system could not meet the needs of the ice, so cutting in winter and collecting ice for the summer were one of the workers’ main responsibilities. All the loading and unloading activities related to the distribution of beer and the supply of raw materials – barley and hops, were carried out by hand and on the back on wooden ramps and board paths.
The Hadjislavchev & Co.’s factory covered 60% of the region’s total production in 1896.
The beginning of the 20th century was a period of economic crisis affecting the financial stability of brewing and production activities. In 1904 there were contradictions between the partners, which were deepening. In 1906, Mihail Hadzhislavchev, Konstantin Hadzhislavchev and Ivan Halachev left the company and withdrew their shares. The management of the factory was taken over entirely by Nikola Hadzhislavchev, who registered as a sole trader with the company “Nikola Hadjislavchev”. The company existed from February 13, 1906 to March 28, 1907. This period was critical for the company, which forced Nikola Hadjislavchev to mortgage his entire property for getting a loan. In 1907, due to lack of sufficient capital, Nikola Hadzhislavchev established a new joint-stock company with the company “Nikola Hadzhislavchev & Co”, in which his brother-in-law Dimitar Balchev was a partner.
In the period before the First World War, the following upgrades came: new Radinger steam engines were delivered, and a number of more advanced machines and equipment were purchased, that modernized the brewing process, as well as more enhanced installations were set. Despite the upgrades, many of the processes were still being done by workers.
After World War I, beer production continued to grow. Beer was cheaper than wine and was gradually becoming a drink for mass consumption.
On January 1, 1923 the company was re-registered as “Nikola Hadzhislavchev Limited Partnership”. The Partners were members of the Hadzhislavchev family – 4 daughters and Mihail – son of Nikola Hadzhislavchev. On December 3, 1926, Mihail Hadzhislavchev took over the management of the brewery factory. Under his management, the factory strengthened and developed its activities. The brewery factory became one of the most reputable breweries in the country.
During the period from 1925 to 1929 there was a partial stabilization of the economy in the country and this had a positive impact on the development of the brewery. The company’s capital increased from 2 343 992 in 1923 to 4 996 796 in 1929. Thanks to the good commercial information and contacts of Mihail Hadzhislavchev, the brewery developed successfully and overcame the period of the economic crisis from 1929 to 1934. In 1932 the annual production of beer was 8 399 163 litres, in 1933 it dropped to 3 699 499 and in 1934 to 2 949 337.
From 1938 to 1944 production was steadily rising as a result of the investments in the factory. In 1938 the refrigeration installation was reconstructed, a new production building was built, and new facilities were introduced.
During this period, the brewery achieved the highest results. In the period from 1940 to 1942 the factory occupied the third place for the sales in the country, in 1943 – 1944 the second place, and the market share increased from 19.78% to 27.25%. In 1944 the factory staff was 103 people, of which 83 were production workers, 10 were technicians and 10 were administrative staff.
In the period from 1947 to 1989
In 1947 the National Assembly passed the Law on the Nationalization of Private Industrial and Mining Enterprises and Banks. As a result, in 1948 the brewery factory was renamed as the Balkan State Brewery.
In the period after 1949, the factory was expanded and partially reconstructed. In 1960, the factory produced 4 types of beer: usually light – 10% extract content, light Pilsen – 13%, dark – 12% and dark original – 14%.
The main conversion and modernization of the factory took place in the period from 1962 to 1969: a new mechanized malt house was built with an annual capacity of 4 600 tons of malt; a new 6-vessel brewery, a new line for clarifying and cooling the hopped wort were installed, as well as new 67 fermentation vessels, divided into 4 new fermentation compartments, new deposit compartment was built with 108 concrete deposit vessels, new bottling unit with 3 automatic bottling lines with daily production of 200,000 bottles, new compartment for washing and tarring of wooden transport casks; new refrigeration units and a steam boiler were installed. This leads to an increase in the production of beer and malt.
Due to the zoning that was in effect at that time, the Veliko Turnovo factory sells the produced beer in the territory of the former Veliko Turnovo, Rousse, Gabrovo, Pleven and Lovech counties.
In 1962 the brewery launched a new assortment of dark beer – 14% original Turnovo beer, which was favourably received by users.
In 1986, an English installation for the production of “heavy beer” was installed. A new bottle compartment with three bottling lines was built, a new compartment for bottling beer in metal barrels, the refrigeration and steam farm were expanded, the fermentation department was modernized, new chemical and microbiological laboratories were built.
Much of the high technological production results achieved are due to the joint work of the factory with the Institute of Brewing Industry. New technology for accelerated maturation of stabilized beers was introduced, science-based technologies for the production of high-quality stabilized beers were created: „Boliarka“, „ Balkan ”,“Staroprestolno” and especially luxury Velikoturnovsko pivo. Many of these beers receive our and international awards for high quality.
During this period the brewery range included 7 types of beer: light ordinary – 9% extract content, light ordinary – 11%, original Balkan beer – 12,5%, special ” Staroprestolno pivo” – 11,5 %, special “Velikoturnovsko pivo ” – 12,5 %, deluxe ” Velikoturnovsko pivo ” – 12,5 %, and “Boliarka” beer, Bock type – 15,5 %. The “Boliarka“ beer is the only beer in Bulgaria in the Strong Beer class. Original Boliarka beer and special Velikoturnovsko pivo were awarded gold medals at the International Plovdiv Fair. Also, Boliarka beer was awarded gold medals at the 20th and 21st World Beer and Soft Drinks Show at the International Quality Institute in Brussels. The special Velikoturnovsko pivo wins a silver medal at the 21st World Exhibition.
An interesting fact is that in 1979 a large team of scientists and technologists created the technology for the production of dietary and diabetic beer (beer with reduced carbohydrate content). The brewery that accepted the new technology is Veliko Turnovo, too. The first assortment of luxury beers lasting 6 months are produced during the period 1980 – 1983 in some of the breweries, including that of Veliko Turnovo. Since 1988, most breweries have started producing luxury branded beers, including the brewery in Veliko Turnovo.