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Georgian Customers Name Austrian Schirnhofer as Favorite Meat Product Brand in Golden Brand Survey

For its traditional Austrian quality, a variety of choice and the best taste, Austrian meat product brand Schirnhofer has firmly established itself on the Georgian market.

Lasha Babuadze, Founder of Everest 2010, a distribution company that imports Schirnhofer to Georgia, told Golden Brand that for years Schirnhofer's products have occupied first place among sausages and meat products imported to the country.

This year again Schirnhofer has been named Georgian customers’ favorite meat product brand in a survey that involved more than 2,000 consumers and 100 experts. Babuadze said winning Georgia’s most prestigious and influential business award, the Golden Brand, was gratifying for the company as the idea had always been to offer the local market the best quality meat products, and “our efforts have been appreciated by customers.”

“Schirnhofer's products have long been loved by Georgian consumers. And double-digit sales figures also prove it,”

Currently, there are seven stores operating under the brand of Schirnhofer in Georgia, offering customers Austrian meat delicacies, cheese, and cookies made with Austrian technology.

“Besides offering the sausages for which it is known, an Austrian cheese and meat delicatessen can also be found in our stores, and an assortment of freshly baked bread made from Austrian flour in the Austrian style. Delicious sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs and everything that is needed for any family is also available at our store,” Babuadze said.

Q. Could you please tell us what makes Schirnhofer meat products so unique and popular among Georgian customers?
A. With almost a century-old tradition of producing over 600 varieties of meat products, Schirnhofer is one of the largest Austrian meat product manufacturers, producing 12,000 tons of meat and sausage products per year, using only Austrian meat for production.

The company’s head office is located in Kaindorf, Austria, which is considered one of the safest ecologically. Schirnhofer has 630 partner farmers. Its strict quality control begins at each of these farms. Quality control is paramount at every stage of production, and Schirnhofer uses ultra-modern technologies and laboratories. Schirnhofer holds an IFC (International Food Standard) certificate, which ensures product quality control.

Schirnhofer was founded in 1926 by Joseph Schirnhofer. The family business was carried on by his son Karl, who began producing sausages in 1950 with his mother. Soon the company became one of the largest Austrian meat product manufacturers.

Karl Shirnhofer himself was a founder of the Schirnhofer Company in Georgia, which entered the Georgian market in 2007 and quickly gained popularity among customers for its affordability, variety, and top quality products.

Q. How many products are sold at Schirnhofer stores in Georgia?
A. There are more than fifty varieties of meat delicacies and more than ten varieties of Austrian cheese available at Schirnhofer stores.

We also bake about twenty types of bread with Austrian raw materials and recipes.

The Schirnhofer cafeteria, which is open at every Schirnhofer store in Tbilisi, is very popular. At our stores you can have hot dogs, pizza, fried potatoes, onion and squid rings.

Schirnhofer branches will prepare delicious sandwiches to suit your taste.

Q. As far as meat products, what is the favorite of Georgian consumers?
A. For its quality and taste (although the products are not cheap for objective reasons) Schirnhofer meat products are very popular and in demand among Georgian consumers.

I would single out baked goods with Austrian raw materials and recipes. The demand for this type of product is increasing each year.

Q. Have sales increased over the years in Georgia?
A. Like all other businesses, the last two years have been very difficult for us too. A pandemic, global logistics problems, increase in transport and product prices, inflation problems ⁠— all these factors affected our business as well.

Unfortunately, this was compounded by the completely unjustified and unacceptable Russian invasion and occupation of independent Ukraine.

Despite these challenges, our team tries its best to keep products affordable to customers.

Q. How would you characterize the Georgian market and its competitive environment?
A. The Georgian market for sausages and meat products is saturated and thus highly competitive.

But we are not afraid of healthy competition. Our main trump card is the high European quality of these traditional products and the high standard of service in the stores.

Q. Schirnhofer has won its second Golden Brand award. How did the brand achieve this success?
A. It is a pleasure to receive any award. Especially when you put so much effort and energy into the work.

Our success is due to the traditional Austrian quality of Schirnhofer meat and bakery products and European standards of service, which our team have been trying to maintain for years.

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Golden Brand Winner Shiraqi to Expand Portfolio with New Dairy Products

Shiraqi, a Georgian producer of dairy products, is planning to expand its line with new products such as yogurt, matsoni (strained sour milk similar to yogurt), dambalkhacho (made from buttermilk cottage cheese), aged cheese and other varieties of milk products.

Founder of Shiraqi Nikoloz Beniaidze told us that the company has a “great desire” to create a Cheese Museum in the country, “where master classes on cheese and tasting events will be held,” he said.

Currently the company produces fifteen raw milk products ⁠— sulguni, smoked sulguni, Imeruli cheese Extra, Georgian Cheese, twisted cheese, smoked twisted cheese, sulguni sticks, smoked sulguni sticks, matsoni, cottage cheese, ghee, butter Glekhura.

Dairy products under the brand of Shiraqi are sold not only locally but on export markets as well. Today, Shiraqi cheese and sour cream is sold in Singapore, Dubai, France, the USA, and Bahrain.

Beniaidze said that Shiraqi is working to expand its exports, with Canada and Israel showing interest in Georgian produce.

The company processes up to ten tons of raw milk per day, of which 15-20% is exported. Shiraqi exports about forty tons of products per year.

Q. Shiraqi won the Golden Brand in the category “favorite cheese producer”. What does this recognition mean to the company?
A. The whole Shiraqi team works hard every day to create a complete cycle "from field to table" to deliver the highest quality raw milk products to the consumer. For us, for the whole team, this award is appreciation and recognition of our work.

It is more gratifying to see that the company’s hard work done last year is appreciated this year. And I want to tell you that 2022 was quite challenging for Shiraqi. Due to a shortage of raw milk, it was difficult for us to meet the demand for raw milk products for some time, but we successfully overcame this obstacle and even became a recognized producer company this year.

Q. How has Shiraqi been developing on the Georgian market over the years?
A. Founded in 2006, Shiraqi was first involved in milk collection and over the years has grown into a large producer of dairy products. This success was based on the experience and knowledge of my and our company’s employees in various training programs that we did in Europe and America. Successful and growing farms I saw abroad had a great impact on my plans. In 2013, we laid the foundation on the Shiraqi farm.

Q. Please introduce us to the whole production cycle of Shiraqi, as you said ⁠— “from field to table”.
A. We produce Shiraqi raw milk products with 100% local raw milk.

We have our own dairy farm of high-yielding Holstein cattle, who are fed mainly with food grown in our farm. We also collect milk and import raw milk from other high-yielding dairy farms.

We have raw milk collection points in Kakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions.

Q. Golden Brand survey showed Shiraqi is Georgian customers’ favorite cheese producing company, but what are the best-selling products according to sales data?
A. Imeruli cheese Extra and sulguni, Georgian Cheese, smoked sulguni, matsoni, cottage cheese are among the top-selling products of Shiraqi.

Speaking of sulguni, I want to mention that Shiraqi sulguni was the winner at the blind tasting of EBIARD/FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Georgia patented sulguni cheese according to Shiraqi’s internal standard of sulguni-making.

Overall, due to the increase in the price of raw milk, the prices of raw milk products were high last year, but in spite of this our sales were stable.

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Shangri La Casino to Open in Georgia’s Black Sea Resort City of Batumi

Georgia’s most stylish and top-service casino, Shanrgi La, is continuing to develop on the Georgian market with the opening of a new branch in the country’s Black Sea resort city of Batumi.

“The Shangri La brand is currently expanding in Georgia with plans to open a new location in Batumi. This will give our staff the chance for career development and offer a fantastic new location for both our regular and new guests," Helen Keane, newly appointed General Manager of Shangri La Tbilisi, told Golden Brand.

Currently there is only one Shangri La casino operating in Tbilisi. Located in one of the most historic and picturesque areas, near Bridge of Peace, Shangri La has been offering the best casino experience with classic table games and a variety of modern slot machines in a luxurious, comfortable and secure atmosphere since 2012.

Shangri La Tbilisi is part of the Shangri La casinos family, managed by Storm International, a world-famous gaming business operator with around 30 years of history and reputation.

The company upholds all the established international gaming standards along with excellent service and security. This year Shangri La has been awarded the most prestigious and influential business award in Georgia, Golden Brand, for the sixth time.

Q. You are the new General Manager of the Shangri La casino in Tbilisi. Please introduce yourself to us and tell us about your best managerial experience.
A. I started my career in the UK as a trainee dealer when I was 18 years old. At that time the casino industry was developing world-wide which gave me the opportunities to travel and work overseas. While it is difficult to pinpoint the best managerial experience, one thing I do get a lot of satisfaction from is seeing our employees rising through the ranks. To see someone start as a trainee dealer, like myself, and eventually reach a managerial position is very rewarding.

Q. What will your impact on Shangri La Tbilisi be, in your opinion? What are your plans, what will you try to accomplish or improve in the casino?
A. Storm International rotates its top managers, this allows us to look at our operations with a fresh set of eyes and identify areas that can be improved.

As our staff are our greatest asset, we are constantly looking at how to improve staff conditions and the work environment. I am constantly striving to maintain and improve the standards which Shangri La is renowned for, assure policies and procedures are adhered to, and assist staff with their career growth.

Q. What was the first thing you did when you got to work at the casino?
A. When I first took over in Tbilisi I had many meetings with Heads of Departments and employees in order to get to know them and understand their concerns and visions for the future.

Q. How do you feel about living in Georgia? What are your impressions about this country and about its gambling sector?
A. I love living in Tbilisi. The people are very warm, the food is excellent and it’s a very vibrant culture with a unique atmosphere.

The gaming sector in Georgia is well-developed and very competitive. In my opinion, competition is good for the casino industry. It helps raise standards which attracts more foreign clients who, in turn, contribute more to the Georgian economy.

Q. What would you do if you won the jackpot?
A. I think I would throw a big party then treat my family to a world-wide cruise!

Q. Do you play sometimes and what is your favorite game?
A. I don’t usually have much time to play but on the occasions when I do, I play blackjack or poker.

Q. Why did you become interested in working in Tbilisi's Shangri La?
A. Casino work at all levels can be a transient job, that’s one of its benefits. Its always interesting to experience a new culture and country. The experience of working in different countries teaches you different management approaches.

Q. You have experience working in Minsk, Kiev casinos... Can you compare these markets to Georgia's ⁠— what are the differences, similarities, how well-developed is Georgia in comparison? What are the challenges here?
A. The main differences are legislative and tax related but, in general, the business itself is very similar in most countries. Game preference varies in different regions but at the end of the day all players expect top level service and professional staff. One of the main challenges is attracting new visitors to the casino when advertising laws are extremely restrictive in Georgia.

Q. Please tell us what Shangri La casino currently offers guests ⁠— games, atmosphere, gastronomy, and anything else.
A. Shangri La provides an internationally recognized level of service, confidentiality, and a comfortable atmosphere. We have the most popular games, high limits and state-of the art slot machines. We offer Russian, Caribbean, Texas Hold'em, Ultimate Texas Hold'em, and Three card poker.

Our restaurant is also renowned for both its Georgian and international cuisine.

Q. Shangri La has won the Golden Brand again this year. In your opinion, why have the experts chosen Shangri La as their favorite casino in Georgia all these years?
A. It is an honor to win this prestigious award for the sixth year running. For the Shangri La brand it is a testament to our approach to business and how we keep adapting to meet and exceed market demands.

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About Us

The brand popularity is revealed by the preliminary survey making key focus on creative branding-related solutions. Entrees are judged by about 100 experts. Nominee brands are selected by awareness, popularity as well as by their creative advertising campaigns.

The winners will be granted with diplomas and Golden Brand Statue. The event will be broadcasted via television, radio, printed and online media.


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