Noblewood Group: an Ambitious Newcomer to the Montenegrin Economy

Montenegro is not the first country to come to your mind when you think about the European market of luxury goods. However, it is known for its ideal environment as well as purity of water and mountains — the factors which have attracted Noblewood Group to the region.

In 2022, the company started operations by acquiring production facilities in Montenegro. Within a short period, it hired more than 200 people with plans to expand its workforce to approximately 400 employees by the year 2025, which is good news with a consideration of the 18.4% unemployment rate, registered in the country in April 2023. 

This company produces and distributes vodka Beluga, represented in the super-premium segment, which may give a boost to the economy of this state, introducing the country to the market of luxury goods. 

The company is export-oriented, almost all the production capacity volume is exported. According to Alexander Mechetin, founder of Noblewood Group, in its inaugural year of operation, Noblewood expects to reach a stable monthly production of 500–600 thousand bottles and ship around 4 million bottles for export. The plan is to reach 10 million bottles volume within the next three years. 

Brief Timeline of Noblewood Group

In 2022, Noblewood Group acquired a distillery in Latvia and blending and bottling site in Montenegro, investing in its renovation 40 million EUR. The distillery produces alcohol for the site in Montenegro from grains grown in the Baltic States. The bottles for this vodka are made in France. The maximum annual capacity of the distillery is 10 million liters and of the site is 20 million bottles.

In April 2023, the first bottles of Beluga vodka were released. The full range of Noblewood products includes Beluga Noble, Beluga Gold Line, Beluga Allure, Beluga Celebration and Beluga Transatlantic. 

According to Andreas Ioannides, Managing Director for Global Business Development, by the end of 2023, few limited edition series of the vodka will hit the market. Another novelty of the coming months will be the lower ABV Beluga Botanicals range. New drinks will be launched in core market categories: gin, rum and liquors.

Noblewood has already begun to ship Beluga to the US, Spain, France, Germany and the Eastern Europe countries. Besides, the vodka is available on sale in home region — Montenegro and Serbia. Andreas Ioannides stated that in addition to the established distribution channels, in a short-term perspective the company plans to develop sales in new markets in LATAM and APAC regions. 

By 2024, the Group will expand its production facilities to enable additional brand categories. It will invest a significant amount in capital expenditure (CAPEX) in its already state-of-the-art facilities.

Noblewood’s Contribution to the Montenegrin Economy

Montenegro is an import-oriented state. It is mostly known as an exporter of copper ore (around 120 million USD), raw aluminum and electricity (around 100+ million USD each). Its largest foreign trade partners in exports used to be Serbia with 149.4 million EUR, Switzerland with 107.9 million EUR and Bosnia and Herzegovina with 90.6 million EUR. When it comes to beverages, Montenegro exported these products for 10 million EUR, of which wine for 6.3 million EUR and beer for 2.8 million EUR. Since the Noblewood is going to produce 4 million bottles in 2023 and increase the volume to 10 million bottles per year, the company’s role as an exporter may be significant as well as contribution to the country’s GDP. Besides, taxes payed by the company are transferred to the respective budgets of Montenegro and Latvia.

At the same time, the new strong trade partner of the US and European markets may allow the government to improve its port infrastructure facilities to enable more companies thinking to invest in the country and make it more accessible for shipping and freight companies to add additional slots and expand Montenegro connectivity and reach.

When Noblewood opened its production site at Nikšić in April, led by Alexander Mechetin, the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dr. Dritan Abazović, visited the ceremony. He stated it was a milestone for the country’s economy and added, “If all the projections are realized, this will be the biggest company that has come to Montenegro in the last 30 years”.

What Does the Future Have in Store for Noblewood Group?

As Andreas Ioannides stated, “Noblewood Group and our flagship super-premium vodka brand Beluga will soon become global Ambassadors for the people of Montenegro, proudly promoting our brands’ provenance in more than 150+ countries around the world”. He added that Montenegro will be known for the country’s purest water that the brand will be using as its core ingredient.

Well, that remains to be seen.

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