Cider, a beverage with a rather long European history, is gaining more and more ground in Romania. While very popular in the UK or in France, cider is just starting to make its way into the Romanian market. In this economic context, two young Transylvanians have started a small business with great potential. Transylvania brew is the producer of the Harvester cider brand, a natural product that enters the Romanian market and, implicitly, the European one.
After years spent studying and working abroad in France and the UK, Sergiu Mureşan and Daniel Crişan decided to return to their native land, Romania, to open a cider factory. At present, the duo is the only producer of cider in Romania.
Being pioneers in this field did not discourage them, in spite of a less than generous legislation in this particular field. Their cider called “Harvester” contains 100% natural apple juice, whilst the product of their main competitor in this niche contains only 25% apples juice.
The two went to the same high-school and found each other again after many years of going separate ways. The factory they founded can be found in the Transylvanian county of Sălaj, in a place called Zimbor. “Although it is a new product on the Romanian market, we refused to produce something that tastes merely acceptable, using cheap ingredients for maximum profits. Instead, we decided to go back to the roots, to the simple original product, using modern production methods. We avoid any synthetic or artificial additives, and we don’t use preservatives. Pasteurisation, a method used by our grandmothers to preserve jams, is perfectly adequate and sufficient. “After tasting our product, friends from the UK said that we have managed to put the apple back into the cider”, says Sergiu Mureşan
Polish apples, Romanian product
Making cider asks for a certain variety of apples which convey its specific acidity and aroma. Sadly, these cannot be found in Romanian orchards. Since this is a new product, no producer is willing to invest into planting these varieties. This is why the Transylvanian investors are forced to buy their apples from their Polish neighbours, who are known to be the biggest apple growers in Europe. “On the long run, should agricultural policy allow it, we would like to grow these apples in our own orchards – which is a rather ambitious plan.” says Sergiu.
“Cider has an enormous potential and we believe that, as a beverage, it reaches out to a wide consumer base. Cider is very trendy right now, world-wide”, says Daniel Crişan. The two young men who founded Transylvania Brew, the company that owns the Harvester cider brand, wants to launch three varieties of cider, asap: an apple and a pear one and one made of strawberries. In the future, both seek to obtain unique varieties, to set them aside from any competition, using local ingredients in different novel combinations. In addition to its cider production, Transylvania Brew also plans to develop a brand of natural carbonated soft drinks. After an investment of approximately € 70,000 so far, the two say that if they were to start all over again they would do so without the slightest hesitation.
Who are the Producers of the Harvester Cider
Daniel Crişan: 35, born in Cluj-Napoca, is a graduate of the Cluj Theological Seminary and of the Faculty of Horticulture, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Cluj. He left Romania in 2004 and moved to France, and then to Scotland in 2008, and returned to France in 2013, where he worked in various fields. A year later, he decided to return to Romania to develop the Transylvania Brew project at home.
Sergiu Mureşan: 35, was born in Zalău and he graduated from Toulouse University in France. He worked in the fields of pharmaceutics, marketing and promotion. Like most of the Romanian expats, he took into account the possibility of returning home to build a better future, to partake in the modernization of Romania. The idea for the cider production project came to us naturally. He is currently enrolled at the Faculty of Law of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj.