Maryna and Boris Rozdobudko are trained brewmasters from Kiev. After the start of the war in Ukraine, the couple fled with their children to Schwabsoien, where they founded their own beer brand.
Just a few hours after the first bombs hit Ukrainian soil, Maryna and Boris Rozdobudko grabbed their two sons, got in the car and drove straight to Schwabsoien. "We were lucky to have a place to go here," says Maryna, who lived in Kiev with her family. When the four of them had to flee from the Russian troops from one day to the next, they were accommodated in the house of an acquaintance of Maryna's sister.
That was a good year ago. Today, Maryna sits at the dining table in the spacious kitchen-living room, with her sons Daniel (1) and Jan (4) next to her, and talks about her home and the company the couple founded in Germany just a few months after fleeing in an almost accent-free German. "We brew our own craft beer," says the 36-year-old with a smile.
It is an industry in which the Rozdobudkos feel at home: both are trained brewers. Boris (34) graduated from the National University of Food Technology in Kiev with a specialization in fermentation products, taught as a lecturer and worked in two breweries. Maryna completed her master's degree at the same institute and then took a job as a standardization engineer at a national brewing association.
Couple from Kiev flees Ukraine and starts their own business with beer brand
After the outbreak of the war, they had to give up their jobs, but the passion for brewing beer remained. "Actually, we can't do anything else," says Maryna with a grin. Because she and her husband were looking for a job in Germany, they wanted to earn money and achieve something, they dared to take the step into self-employment. "Liberty" is the name of their craft brewery.
Maryna fishes two bottles out of a large cardboard box on the sideboard in the kitchen and takes two glasses out of the cupboard. "So far, we have two varieties," says the 36-year-old. "Barbados" and "Nice Peach". Maryna opens the bottle with the pink label, "Nice Peach," and pours it. The beer is yellow and fruity, the peach taste clearly dominates. Maryna explains that Ukrainians prefer to drink beer, which is not so bitter. "This is different from Germany, where brewing is carried out according to the Purity Law." What distinguishes their varieties from Bavarian beer is that they are not drinks "to quench thirst". "Our craft beer is too strong for that."
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The craft beer that the Rozdobudkos brew in a brewery in Holzhausen near Landsberg is based on the Ukrainian palate. Sweet instead of bitter. "Our varieties are very fruity," says Maryna. This is what makes up the composition of the ingredients: In "Nice Peach" peach and apple puree is added, in "Barbados" the ratio of barley, wheat and oat malt in combination with fruit aromas creates a sweet taste. For both varieties, the brewmasters use special hops, which they obtain from Copenhagen.
When setting up a company in Germany, the couple encountered some difficulties
"With 'Barbados' we still have more of the classic beer taste," says Maryna, opening the bottle, which is adorned with a blue and orange label. In fact, the drink, which has a strong yellow color, tastes a little more tart, but the fruity note stands out clearly. Next, the brewers want to try their hand at tomato beer. "This is very popular in Ukraine," says Maryna.
It was not so easy to find a brewery where the Rozdobudkos could produce their craft beers. "We must have written to ten breweries," says the 36-year-old. In Holzhausen, it finally worked. Mainly classic beers are produced there, but the brewery has also been able to gain experience with craft beer. "In addition, the owner has Ukrainian roots, which is why we had a good feeling right away."
In January of this year, the Rozdobudkos were able to start production. Previously, the couple had long been busy with the bureaucracy involved in starting a business. One or two times the two have already reached their limits, says Maryna. "Especially with the tax consultant. I only understood half of it."
For Mill Day in Schwabsoien: Beer "Schwabsoier Hell" brewed
Now it's a matter of making the craft beer public and bringing it to as many retailers as possible. "We need to build a network now." So far, the "Liberty" beer has been available in Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and Kaufbeuren. Actually, the couple wanted to sell their beer mainly in the region, "also because of the shipping costs" that would otherwise be incurred. But that's not so easy. "Craft beer is not so common in Bavaria," says the 36-year-old.
In order to make themselves and their products better known, the Rozdobudkos want to set up a stand at this year's Mill Day in Schwabsoien. "Anke Firlefanz gave us the idea," says Maryna. The artist Firlefanz sits on the Mill Day committee and offers a colorful program herself when the village presents and celebrates its old industries on Whit Monday.
Especially for the Mill Day, the Rozdobudkos brewed a new type of beer: the "Schwabsoier Hell" – a classic lager. "We ordered 400 labels for this," explains Maryna. In addition to the "Schwabsoier Hell", there will also be the two craft beer varieties to try and buy. The brewers also see the whole thing as a small experiment: "We want to use the mill day to find out which flavors are well received by people."
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