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Georgian Lemonade for the German Market

Export Manager Malkhaz Chakaberia wanted to find out how popular his lemonade “made in Georgia” was in Germany. The sobering result: the soft drink is too sweet for German taste buds. The enlightening result: he can sell it nevertheless because he has found a niche market for it.

“Too sweet, too fizzy” – German test customers all agreed on that at the tasting of the different flavours of the “Natakhatari Lemonade” brand such as pear, grape or tarragon, which is popular in Georgia. Chakaberia carried out the test in April 2017 with a German marketing agency which he got to know during an event. Together they wanted to sound out what chances the Georgian best-seller had with German customers. However, no one had expected this sobering result. “That was quite a dampener”, says Chakaberia. But he did not let it get him down; he took use the Manager Training Programme (MP) as an opportunity to change his strategy.

A Niche Market for “Eastern European Specialities”

Natakhatari Lemonade, named after the spring that provides the water for its production, is a brand of Lomisi AG, which produces the major share of beer and lemonades made in Georgia. These products are already on sale in Germany; however, not in conventional retail chains. The Monolith group of companies imports the lemonade and sells it in their own MIX-Markt chain, which specialises is international products. Because the market has potential, Chakaberia decided to strengthen the already existing cooperation with a business partner from Bergheim in Germany. Roughly 12 million consumers in Germany are of Eastern European origin. In contrast to Germans, they love their lemonade sweet and sparkling. Furthermore, many of them know the soft drink from their home countries.

Measures to Promote Sales

Chakaberia met with the managing director of Monolith during the MP and discussed with him measures for promoting sales. Monolith has over 160 MIX-Markt supermarkets in Germany. In addition, the firm has branches in other European countries. Together, the entrepreneurs developed a marketing campaign and advertised the soft drinks, for example on television. This had a positive effect on turnover in Germany and in the other European countries to which the beverage specialist exports his goods: Greece, Poland, Bulgaria and the Baltic States.

Moreover, further activities to promote sales were agreed on for the German market, for instance special discounts for a certain period and the inclusion of the lemonade in the weekly special offer flyers. And the beverage is now displayed more prominently in the supermarkets. “We were able to increase our turnover with Germany by about 30 per cent in the past two years due to these activities”, the 40-year-old sales expert is pleased to say. After all, that was his goal when he applied to participate in the MP.


Photos: © Malkhaz Chakaberia