FORBES: Nemiroff on the Way to Global Leadership

9 minutes

Nowadays Nemiroff is one of the most successful businesses in Ukraine. The company tops a chart of vodka product exporters with the mark Made in Ukraine. The goods with Nemiroff labels are sold on five continents in more than 80 countries of the world with recently added Bahama Islands, Island, Portugal, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Ireland, and others.

Before the beginning of the full-scale war, the company was one of the top ten most popular vodka brands in the world and one of the top three main suppliers of vodka products to global Duty-Free and Travel Retail shops. And it all started with a small vodka distillery in Nemyriv town, Vinnytsa region, more than 150 years ago in 1872. By the way, the main Nemiroff vodka production and bottling facility is still operational there in Nemyriv.

The recent epoch of the brand started in 1992. The company, from a country that just won independence, needed only two years to enter the international market. And this was only a start for the great Nemiroff development.

The success was based upon concerted efforts of the team, a sound approach to operating procedures at every stage of production, high quality of raw materials and final products, permanent technology improvement, and continuous modernization of production.

Nowadays Nemiroff includes almost 900 employees whose values resonate with the company’s values. This is the close-knit team that helps the brand to become stronger promoting Ukrainian products on all continents.

Why do employees, no matter locals or foreigners, stay with Nemiroff? What are those motivations that make all hands to be the backbone of the company in all periods including both the successful and hard times? The employees themselves will say it best.

Oleksandr Ivanusenko, Chief Production Officer

Works in the company since 2002. Started as a technologist in the alcoholic beverage industry. Since 2004 is the Head of a renovated workshop.

For more than 20 years that I have been working with the Nemiroff team the company underwent huge changes. In 2004, there was a new product line rollout. In 2016, we performed the renovation of production facilities in three workshops that were grouped in a single place. During the next year, we launched a product line for the De Luxe premium segment, renovated the design, and developed new spirits. Nemiroff is a developing venture. Even after many years of working here, it is interesting to watch the production cycles: the withdrawal of water from artesian wells, the process of water purification, mixing of water together with spirits, multiple-stage filtration, creation of alcoholic beverages from obtained liquid, and its further bottling. It is especially interesting to watch all of this and observe how product standards, alcoholic beverages, and the brand itself change with the course of time in general. What makes me continue working in the Nemiroff team? The unstoppable progress. When you work for many years in the company, you begin to feel yourself as a part of its huge organism. It changes, it develops, and you do it together with it. Moreover, the company decently proved itself during wartime: it saved all the jobs, including those who emigrated and those who were enlisted to defend our state. Wages were paid to the employees even in the hardest first months of the war when production practically stopped.

Iryna Marchenko, Analyst

Nemiroff is a team of strong personalities. And our team is friendly, hearty, and open. These are the people who make your work comfortable, who support you in the hardest times, and who show understanding. Here we have an atmosphere where workers feel their value. For instance, when I returned from maternity leave my colleagues warmly welcomed me. I felt that they were waiting for me. In addition, during the war, the company did me a favour and provided me with the possibility to work at home so that I could be near my child in times of air raid alert. Working in Nemiroff means unique and at the same time interesting professional goals. For example, now my objective is a simulation of purchasing raw materials from Mexico under the conditions of unstable logistics. I have to work out optimal ordering models taking into consideration the peculiarity of logistics and requirements for additional financial investments. The enhancement of the export market for Nemiroff gives us new colleagues in different corners of the world and makes our work more interesting as well. Moreover, the company is always eager to improve the level of English of its employees by organizing courses for us.  I can tell that for the time I have worked in Nemiroff the company has become more technologically modern, and functionally grown up.

Grzegorz Kuwalek, Global Chief Commercial Officer

Works in the company since March 2021. Is responsible for global sales, and is in charge of the Trade Marketing department.

Before this job, I used to work for a large international company. The determination of the company to expand to new markets, and aspiration to become one of the best among global spirits producers made me join Nemiroff. Working in Nemiroff has become for me both a challenge and a new opportunity for professional growth. The new job, new culture, restrictions related to the pandemic COVID-19, and the start of the war, all have influenced my adaptation. At the same time, I witnessed the unbelievable perseverance, resoluteness, and devotion of the team to the Nemiroff company. The war brought about new daily challenges. Nevertheless, everyone from the team undertook all efforts to let the company provide services of the highest quality both in Ukrainian and in international markets. The level of salary in a Ukrainian company is a bit less than it is offered in Europe. However, it should be noted that the income of Nemiroff employees is higher than average in Ukraine. Among other things, the living expenses in the country are much lower than in European countries. What is more, the Ukrainian company allows growing professionally and implementing ambitious projects focusing on a dynamic working environment. I understand that we have much work ahead. Nevertheless, we are on the way to enforcement of standards that are implemented in large international corporations. Also, I am sure that moving forward our company will keep on raising the bar creating the best conditions and experience for the team and clients.

Maryna Krynytska, Marketing Manager EMEA

A few things motivate me to be a part of the Nemiroff team. The company practices a flexible approach to the professional development of its employees. For instance, if some project requires additional training of the team, then the company organizes it very quickly. Moreover, we have a wonderful digital library with learning materials convenient to use. Nemiroff is a constant participant in different international events that include world exhibitions related to the Duty-Free and Travel Retail segments, and the conferences as Bar Convent Berlin that are arranged abroad. This is a perfect opportunity for the company’s employees to meet in person the partners and colleagues from various countries of the world and adopt their experience. The essence of the company operations comprises the philosophy of business without limitations and multiculturalism. We analyze special aspects of the global market, cultural specifics, and the habits of alcohol consumption in different regions in order to understand the requirements of our target audience. For example, the specialists of the marketing department promote our products to the market of Italy, where people prefer cocktails and prolonged sitting in bars, and to the market of Poland, which resembles Ukrainians when it comes to drinking, and to the Nordic countries, where the sale of spirits is strictly regulated in terms of legislation. We find the most effective solutions and methods of their implementations everywhere, at the same time operating in different markets taking into account their particular qualities. Before I joined the company, I had known that Nemiroff aimed to create a global brand with the Ukrainian DNA featuring an indomitable spirit. And I had a desire to be a part of it. My adaptation to the company was rather quick. Nowadays our marketing department is quickly developing: it is reinforced by new specialists, it creates vectors for implementation of the new strategies in markets, it generates the vision and plan of development for the following years, and it defines the focuses for enhancement of the company’s presence. If we talk about the advantages of the employer then, of course, we distinguish understanding of employees’ requirements, flexibility, and performance of promises. Nemiroff is not the type of a company that, let’s say, declares the remote operation mode, which in reality is followed by some restrictions. For instance, now I work remotely as I am abroad. Such a mode naturally complies with the actual structure of the company.

Svitlana Senyk,  HR Director 

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the company updated the methods of work and implemented the program Employee’s Journey, which allows the practice of a package approach to supporting employees at every stage of work. For example, this is the process of new employees’ adaptation, foreigners in particular, and those who work remotely, adjustment of the working process in the hybrid mode, training, excursions to the distillery, and familiarization with a line of products. To facilitate the adaptation the newcomers get a mentor in the person of their senior officer or more experienced colleague. The company engages its employees in cross-functional working and project groups. Therefore, the members of the team take part in decision-making. One more activity is a full-fledged internal and external training for all employees. Corporate training is provided depending on employees’ requirements and the company’s business objectives. For instance, English language courses, project management, training in regular management, effective communication, finances, safety arrangements and precautions, and so on. In 2023, for the first time, foreign specialists who are living abroad were involved in work for the company, as well as employees who are constantly working remotely. Since the beginning of the war, the Nemiroff company has provided help for mobilized employees, supporting them in acquiring equipment, ammo, and transport. The expenses for all this reached about 3 million UAH. More than 7.68 million UAH the company spent on the procurement of medical equipment and medicine for hospitals and donated to many charity funds. In addition, there are many available vacancies in the company for those who want to join the Nemiroff team.