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Fit for future purpose

We’ve found something again. And we were so pleased with it that we want to share it here with our readers: a rediscovered article about Romaqua, which appeared in the 3/18 issue of the magazine. Here, however, unfortunately, we only have space for a summary of the article; you can read the full-length version in the magazine.

Romanians drink beer from PET containers as a matter of course. And this applies primarily for relatively large bottle volumes. For about two years now, however, there has been a trend among consumers towards smaller-size containers, which is why the Romaqua Group Borsec has meanwhile commissioned a second PET line from Krones, so as to be able to fill the 2.5-litre and the 0.5-litre bottles separately in the future.

Romaqua has two strong earners in Romania: firstly, the group is the country’s biggest mineral water producer, accounting for about 30 per cent, and secondly, it’s its most prestigious privately owned brewing company, the fourth-largest in Romania.

Greenfield brewery

Romaqua built its one-million-hectolitre brewery in the town of Sebes on a greenfield site in 2008 – with Krones as the general contractor. Only nine short months elapsed between the beginning of construction work and final commissioning. Back then, the brewery was among the world’s most modern, featuring the very latest state of the art. In addition to the six-kettle brewhouse from Steinecker, Krones also installed an 18,000-cph PET line and a 20,000-cph canning line. Pursuing its commitment to Total Quality Management and out of its respect for its consumers, Romaqua was the first company in Romania to cover the beverage cans with pre-cut foils, which serve as a hygienic seal. A Taxomatic labeller takes care of this. It was only three years later that a glass line was added, which with an hourly output of 30,000 bottles is to this very day the entire group’s fastest line. In late 2017, Romaqua commissioned what was meanwhile its fourth Krones line, this one again for PET containers and rated at 12,000 bottles per hour.

That investment was Romaqua’s response to the growing demand for smaller PET containers. It was in 2017 that the brewery for the first time filled more 0.5-litre bottles than 2.5-litre ones, which had up till then proved so popular. Thanks to the new line, the brewery is now in a position to fill the 1.0-litre, 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre containers on one line, and the 0.5-litre size on the other.

There isn’t really a pronounced beer culture in Romania. Beer is drunk mainly at home. It was this at-home consumption that was probably the reason for the downright boom in large-size PET containers. “But a generational change is currently taking place among consumers in Romania,” says Ioan Păun, the Director General of the Sebes Division. “Disposable incomes are rising, consumers are now in the market not so much for quantity as for a higher level of quality.”

Emphasising quality: cold-filtered

“Beer in PET, that must be cheap mass-produced stuff,” you would think – but far from it. Because quality is the paramount priority at Romaqua. All of its three beer brands are not flash-pasteurised, not powder-filtered, nor are they stabilised with PVPP. No, they are unpasteurised and cold-filtered. For this purpose, the brewery right from the start invested in a combination of membrane filtration and centrifuge for its cellar, and also in a micro filtration unit upstream of the filler. “It’s the brightest beer on the Romanian market,” says a proud Ovidiu Petrenciu, the brewery’s director.

And the brewery takes great pains to ensure top-notch quality for its PET filling operation as well. Firstly, the cold-stored beer is also cold-filled, at about eight degrees Celsius. Secondly, the PET material’s barrier system, plus an additional sleeve pulled over the screw-cap, combine to prevent not only the loss of carbonation, but also oxygen penetrating into the product. The result: the beers stay fresh for longer and boast a shelf-life of five months.

Long-standing, good cooperation

With the installation of its new line, Romaqua has put in place sufficient filling capacities. “What’s now needed is higher levels of flexibility, especially in the brewery’s cold section,” says Ioan Păun. The fact that almost all lines and machines installed at the Romaqua Group bear the Krones logo, he continues, in his view enables the company “to exchange spares quite simply between individual lines and even between facilities”. And machine operators, too, can be delegated to other plants at need, since they are all familiar with Krones’ technology. “We’ve been enjoying a long-standing, good relationship with Krones,” emphasises the Director General of the Sebes Division.

It was only ten years ago that the decision was taken to include beer in the group’s beverage portfolio. And that has certainly paid off for Romaqua. Its share in the country’s beer market has increased from 3.6 per cent in the year the brewery was founded to what is now ten per cent – also and especially thanks to beer in PET.


And so that you get all the magazine articles delivered hot off the printing press to your home in the future, it’s also worthwhile subscribing to the magazine here: http://www.krones.com/en/press/krones-magazine-subscription-service.php?countryCode=de

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