Raising a Glass
What are the current products that are manufactured and distributed by Ganja Sharab?
Ganja Sharab-2 is one of the most recognized brands in Azerbaijan. After being privatized, the factory underwent complete overhaul and modernization, and there are no traces of the enterprise that was commissioned in 1984. We have been trying to apply the most advanced and successful practices available in the global wine making industry. We have built new workshops and sites, and even our own spirits factory. In addition, the company has 400ha of vineyards, which we use in the production of wines. The blessing for our vineyard came from our President Ilham Aliyev. When he visited our factory several years ago, we had just established the vineyard, and it only covered 150ha. On the recommendations of our Head of State, we have increased it to 400ha. Today, we produce and sell 40 types of wines, 27 types of vodka, and six types of cognac. Our products are sold both in domestic and foreign markets. Our company currently employs around 600 people, and their average salary is $380.
What is the production capacity at Ganja Sharab, and how much can that increase in the coming years?
The installation of state-of-the-art equipment in recent years has certainly contributed to increasing our capacity. Our company can currently produce 500,000 decaliters of wine and 300,000 decaliters of vodka a year. In next few years, we intend to further increase our production capacity by expanding the range of our products.
Where are your main export markets, and what is the current customer base?
In addition to selling our products in the local market, we also export a portion of our merchandise. In 2013, we sold 400,000 decaliters of wine, of which 200,000 decaliters was sold to the Russian Federation. In order to enhance the value of our products, we have participated in a number of international competitions, where our company received diplomas and medals. The most notable of our products are Chardonnay, Sevgilim, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These results of competitions have allowed us the opportunity to expand the geography of our export.
What are some of the additional features of Ganja Sharab that makes it unique within the market?
In order to achieve a worthy place on the market today, every company has to pay significant attention to the quality of its products. We attach great importance to that, and at the same time we are trying to ensure that our products meet the requirements of customers of all categories. Our surveys and observations show that the price of our products should correspond to the purchasing capacity of the population. It is no coincidence that we produce 40 different types of wines: the broader the assortment the broader the choice for the customer. This also applies to the price.
How does Ganja Sharab work with local SMEs in Azerbaijan?
Our company sells about $23.75 million worth of wholesale products each year. This is a difficult process. The production of one type of wine requires, in addition to the main raw materials, 30 auxiliary materials. Ganja Sharab-2 works with local business on the basis of agreements. Cooperation with these companies is beneficial both to them and to us. We hold regular meetings with them to exchange views and address the arising concerns.
The President announced 2015 the Year of Agriculture for Azerbaijan at the beginning of the year. In what way can the government's focus on agriculture support the development of both Ganja Sharab and the sector in general?
The announcement that 2015 is the Year of Agriculture has delighted all of us; however, at the same time it has placed tremendous responsibility on our shoulders. It is no secret that the activity of Ganja Sharab-2 is directly linked to the situation in agriculture. It is beyond doubt that 2015 will be a watershed year for agriculture. The development of grain growing will have a positive impact on the production of ethyl alcohol. It will also accelerate development in the area of viticulture and, consequently, wine making. We have set ourselves the goal of increasing our vineyards to 500ha. I am sure that the government's attention to this sector will facilitate the development of viticulture and wine making
Azerbaijan is renowned for the energy sector and is now in the international spotlight due to the upcoming First European Games in Baku. How can international events, such as this, support the development of the non-oil sector?
The fact that the inaugural European Games will be held in Baku is an indication of the authority our country enjoys in the world. In addition to the President, the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, MP Mehriban Aliyeva, is doing a tremendous job in this area. Such events make a great contribution to the development of the non-oil sector, as well as tourism and transport spheres. The steering wheel is in safe hands, and the leader of the country, Ilham Aliyev, is well known all over the world.