The history of Kalnapilis dates back to 1902 when a private brewery by the name of Bergschlössen (English: “the little castle on the hill”, Lithuanian: “Kalnapilis”) was founded in the town of Panevezys in northern Lithuania. The founder, who was of German descent, was Albert Foight.
In 1918, Kalnapilis became a limited company.
After the Soviet Union's takeover in 1940, Kalnapilis – along with many other Baltic businesses – was nationalised. When Lithuania regained its independence in 1992, Kalnapilis was again transferred to private ownership.
In the years 1970-1990, Kalnapilis underwent comprehensive renovations, replacing most of the old production facility.
Modernisation and product expansion
In 1994, Kalnapilis was taken over by BBH (Baltic Beverages Holding). In the course of two years, BBH invested USD 12 million in Kalnapilis. This transformed the company into the most modern brewery in the Baltic Region and served to optimise product quality. At that time the capacity was 600,000 hectolitres annually.
After the modernisation of the brewery, Kalnapilis launched several new brands of beer along with massive advertising campaigns, which secured increased market shares.
In 2001, Kalnapilis was acquired by Royal Unibrew. Kalnapilis soon became the fastest growing brewery in Lithuania continuously steeling market shares year on year in the Lithuania beer market.
The brewery supports both culture and sports in Lithuania, for instance as the main sponsor of the Lithuanian basketball league. Basketball is by far Lithuania's national sport.
At the World Beer Cup 2004 in the USA, two new Kalnapilis beers won gold medals in competition with 1,564 other products from 393 breweries in 40 countries.
Vilnius-brewery, Tauras, moves to Kalnapilis
In 1999 Royal Unibrew acquired its first Baltic company, AB Vilniaus Tauras, which was placed in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.
Tauras Brewery was established in 1860. Until First World War the brewery provided more than half of all the beer in Vilnius. At the time it was the biggest brewery in Lithuania with export to e.g. Rusia, Poland and Belarus.
In the 50' and beginning of the 60' the company went through big mechanical chances. It was still owned by the government. Besides beer production they began bottling mineral water from wells in the surrounding country.
After Royal Unibrews acquisition of Vilniaus Tauras in 1999, the production increased to the maximum, approximately 204.000 hectolitres a year. The incorporation of the Kalnapilis Brewery provided a needed extra capacity to the Lithuanian beer production. In 2005 Royal Unibrew decided to move the production of Tauras to Kalnapilis, and thereby enhance the brewing capacity in Lithuania.
Today Kalnapilio-Tauro Grupe has 350 employees, is brewing 700.000 hectolitres of beer a year in Panevezys and holding a 25% market share in the retailsegment of the Lithuanian beer market.