Entering the unknown territory “beer”
Toshkentvino Kombinati, with its history of more than 150 years, originated from a winery on the banks of the Salar in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent. Today, 4 large wine and spirits factories and 12 wineries are part of the company, which produces award-winning white and red wines as well as vodka, cognac and soft drinks. Since 2012, a glassworks has been part of the company. “Due to the opportunities in the beer market, we have decided to diversify further and to build our own brewery,” says Mirabid Mahmudov, CEO of Toshkentvino Kombinati. “When we started to bring the idea of the brewery to life, we also visited the trade fair Drinktec, where Ziemann immediately convinced us with its products and services,” explains Mahmudov. The idea became concrete at the end of 2017, when the contract for the Greenfield project was signed. Ziemann Holvrieka acted as general contractor for the process technology sector, from the malt intake to the bottling plant, including all utilities. Toshkentvino Kombinati was responsible for construction and the buildings.
Zomin as a location and brand core
“We did not want to produce at our headquarters and deliver our products from there. Rather, we have chosen a region that is gaining in popularity among tourists and the local population: Zomin, the Switzerland of Uzbekistan,” recalls Mahmudov. The Zomin National Park (in Uzbek called “Zaamin”) is located about four hours by car from the capital Tashkent in the southeast of the country on the border with Tajikistan and has an area of about 480 km². Zomin is known as a climatic spa resort and for its unique flora and fauna. The national park is a popular recreation area for residents of the near and far surroundings. In addition, Zomin is located on the tourist route between Samarkand and Tashkent.
“We really wanted to use innovative brewing technology”
The Zomin region should not only be the location, but also form the core of the brand with its numerous positive associations. For this purpose, a corresponding product had to be developed, namely an all-malt beer with a German character, but without high gravity. “We did not just want to set new standards with our product in Uzbekistan, but we really wanted to use innovative brewing technology,” says Mahmudov. Toshkentvino Kombinati decided to equip its new brewery with a grist mill type T-Rex, a mash kettle with Colibri agitator, a Lotus lauter tun, an internal boiler Shark as well as the proven whirlpool Wortex with conical bottom, tangential inflow and various side and bottom outlets for hot trub separation. The brewhouse was designed for a maximum of 12 brews per day with a cast-out volume of 110 hl of hot wort.
For the cold block, Ziemann Holvrieka supplied the entire process pipework as well as a total of 16 fermentation and storage tanks, each with a volume of 1,050 hl. The interface to the bottling plant consists of four bright beer tanks, each with a volume of 510 hl. The tanks and the other plant components were transported to the construction site by ship and truck. The turnkey project also included the essential process components and utilities, such as filter and yeast propagation cellar, brewing water treatment, refrigeration plant as well as the CIP system for the brewhouse and cold block area. The new brewery was equipped with the process control system Braumat V7, whereby the media routes in the cold block area are defined by means of swivel bends.
Almost 3,000 kilometres to the nearest seaport
After extensive structural preparatory works, the actual implementation began in mid-2018. Components and materials had to be transported by land on the last nearly 3,000 kilometres, since neither Uzbekistan nor one of the neighbouring countries has a seaport. It was also clear that “Greenfield” really meant “on the green field”. The nearest small town is a few kilometres away. However, the associated logistical challenges were mastered by the Ziemann project management and the first brew was successfully produced on December 15, 2018.
Success proves the courage
The official inauguration ceremony took place on December 27, 2018, which was also reported on Uzbekistan television and other media. Since April 2019, the Zomin Pilsner with 12 % original wort, bottled in a green 0.5-litre glass bottle, has been available on the market. Its label proudly announces a brewing tradition “since 2018” that will hopefully last a long time. “The market response is consistently positive. We also have many interesting ideas on how we can further strengthen and expand our Zomin brand. Uzbeks and tourists can be equally excited,” concludes Mahmudov.