Nissos, a ’boutique’ beer produced in the heart of the Aegean Sea on the island of Tinos, is making its debut in Australia. Considering its award-winning journey within only 15 months of the production of its first bottle, this Greek craft beer coming to our shores is set to deliver a new refreshing experience for all those who appreciate a good beer.
At a time when businesses in Greece were shutting down the one after the other, four aspirational people – Alexandros Kouris, the well-known in Greece travel journalist Maya Tsokli, and Elina and Kostis Dalas – decided to set the foundation stone of their microbrewery Nissos.
“It has been created from scratch as a greenfield project, privately financed. Nevertheless, in a very short space of time, Nissos the beer achieved a high level of brand awareness and recognition among consumers and professionals alike as a great tasting premium craft beer from the Cyclades,” says Alexandros Kouris, who is currently visiting Australia in an effort to maximise the prospects of his premium product in the Australian market.
“In Greece and within only a few months of commercial operation, our brand has managed to establish a strong presence in leading restaurants throughout the Cyclades, as well as at trendy venues in Athens, Thessaloniki and elsewhere in Greece. Nissos has also become a popular choice among travellers on ferries operating between Greece and Italy and those connecting the Aegean Islands,” he says as he describes how his ‘island’ beer sails in Greece.
“Our brand name, Nissos (‘island’ in Greek), is written in Greek and communicates our differentiated positioning. The name is further highlighted by the illustrated logo of the sun, which adds an element of energy, optimism and heritage, while the quality label is suitably representative of the product’s merits,” Mr Kouris, a career marketing guru adds.
In reality, though, it is not effective marketing that gave Nissos wings in the Greek market. It is its impeccable quality.
Only last week Nissos beer was awarded the silver medal at European Beer Star 2014, one of the world’s greatest beer competitions, in the category Bohemian Pilsners. Never before has it been so difficult to achieve such a result, because the competition was tough this last year. In total, 1,613 beers from 42 countries including NZ and Australia were entered. An important element contributing to the prestige of the prize is the set of criteria according to which the 105-person-jury, consisting of master brewers, beer sommeliers and recognised beer experts, makes its decisions in a blind tasting. Colour, aroma, taste, aroma profile and the general impression are examined – the exact same process the consumer would use to evaluate a beer. And this is not the first award Nissos has received.
“This comes in less than two months after the recognition of the Nissos microbrewery as National Champion 2014/15 for the European Business Awards. It is one of the most prestigious business excellence competition in Europe, with more than 27,000 participations, and we feel quite vindicated, since many saw our business decision back then as a totally crazy one,” he says.
Nissos beer is already being served in some Greek restaurants in Melbourne, and with distributor Ilios Imports of Melbourne on board, is soon set to make its way to many more.