Spirits group Alexandrion, which is based in Romania and is present in Greece, not only has a name reminiscent of Alexander the Great, but it also has the legendary Macedonian king on its logo: This is no coincidence, as the Syrian Nawaf Salameh, founder of Romania’s biggest alcoholic beverages company and one of the biggest in Southeastern Europe, is an admirer of the ancient Macedonian kingdom and took his first business steps in Greece decades ago.
The 56-year-old entrepreneur is now preparing to meet his long-coveted strategic target of creating a distillery in Kavala, northern Greece, an area associated with Alexander.
Kathimerini understands this is a 35-million-euro investment in the industrial area of Kavala and will include a unit for the production of 30 million liters of pure alcohol (ethanol) per year, using agricultural products such as corn and wheat. Unlike chemical alcohol, suitable only for industrial purposes or for hand sanitizing, this product that has no chemical residue and is 95% pure alcohol, used for the production of drinks such as vodka, gin and even ouzo, as well as by the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
The global rise in the consumption of alcoholic beverages has increased demand for pure ethanol, while Greece has no modern distilleries or production units for it.
Given all this, the Syrian businessman will not only invest the €35 million required for the first stage of the project, but a total amount of €100 million within a decade. Sources say that the unit could even start operating in 2023, and will likely gain the status of strategic investment. After all, a key criterion for an investment to obtain “strategic” status will be to amount to at least €20 million, according to plans up for consultation.
It is estimated the Kavala unit will create some 100 jobs, with the Alexandrion group planning to turn its byproducts into animal food. An estimated one-third of the output will cover the needs of Alexandrion itself, which produces about 42,000 liters of alcohol per annum. The project also enjoys the government’s support, sources note.