|6 million hectolitres |
Ursus Breweries, a subsidiary of SABMiller plc, is one of the top brewers in Romania. The company is based in Bucharest and owns 4 breweries in Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Buzău and Brașov, employing over 1,700 people. Ursus Breweries’ brands are: Ursus, Timișoreana, Ciucaș, Azuga, Stejar, Redd's, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell and Miller.
The company had been owned by SABMiller since 1996. As part of the agreements made with regulators before Anheuser-Busch InBev was allowed to acquire SABMiller in October 2016, Ursus was sold to Asahi Breweries of Japan on December 13, 2016; the deal is expected to close during the first half of 2017.
The first legal predecessor of the company was founded in 1878 in Mănăștur, which is now part of Cluj-Napoca. The company and the beer gained its name in 1927 when it demerged from Frigyes Czell si Fiii Grupa Dr. Wilhelm Czell SA, a large brewery group at the time. The brewery was nationalised in 1948, but privatised again during the 1990s, when SABMiller gained full control over the company.
In 1996 South African Breweries (SABMiller) purchased Vulturul Buzău and, in 1997, Pitber Pitești and URSUS S.A. Cluj-Napoca. In 1998 Vulturul and Pitber became URSUS S.A. In 2001 URSUS S.A. purchased Bere Timișoreana S.A. In 2005 the company changed its name to Ursus Breweries S.A. In 2009 Ursus Breweries S.A. purchased Bere Azuga S.A.
After slowly removing the 'Cluj' name from the Ursus beer label, Ursus Breweries announced on November 18, 2010 that it will close the Ursus brewery in Cluj-Napoca due to high costs and lower demand. The Cluj-Napoca brewery is the place where Ursus has been bottled for more than 100 years.
In 2016, Ursus Breweries was sold to Asahi Breweries of Japan.
In 2003, Ursus sponsored a Romanian Everest Expedition.
In 2009 SABMiller, owners of Ursus, started replacing the name of the city "Cluj" with "Premium" on their beer labels. Cluj will still be mentioned on the back of the premium bottle. Ursus Breweries representatives say that the label was changed after research studies made in Cluj showed that the most important visual element for consumers is the beer's description, which in Ursus's case is premium, black, or non-alcoholic.
In 2005 the company sponsored the city of Timișoara with 60,000 dollars for the renovation of three historic buildings in the Timișoara Square of Trajan. In September 2006 Timisoreana became a sponsor of Cupa României.
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A figure of more than €5bn ($5.32) for SABMiller’s eastern European brands had been floating around in recent weeks as a likely price tag.
-  Ursus closing original Cluj-Napoca factory - Note: Page in Romanian language
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- Ursus, not a Cluj brand anymore?
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