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SB meets… Dinara Naamatova, AYU

The senior sales manager of AYU discusses innovation, vodka trends and plans to expand across the globe in 2020.

Dinara Naamatova, senior sales manager of AYU

Please tell our readers about AYU.

AYU is the largest alcoholic beverage company in the Kyrgyz Republic. We can say that AYU is a new generation company reflecting the latest achievements and innovations in the liquor industry, with a team of highly professional and skilled specialists, using only the most modern technology.

What makes AYU’s products stand out from other spirits on the market?

Our products are distinguished by their quality above all. Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country, and our main resource is the purest drinking water, which flows from the tops of the highest mountains in the world. The height of the mountains in Kyrgyzstan reaches 7,000m. Water is of course one of the main components of vodka.

The second critical component is alcohol, which we ourselves produce from grain. We fully control the entire process of preparation and production of our vodka, from the preparation of raw materials to the bottling of finished products.

We do not purchase raw materials from others and do not outsource part of the production process like some other companies. Our highly equipped laboratories, modern filtration and bottling technologies make it possible for us to produce high-demand products in a rapidly changing market.

Which is your biggest market?

Our largest market is of course Kyrgyzstan. We also export our products to Kazakhstan, Armenia, Russia, China and Vietnam.

Which markets do you hope to expand to in 2020?

We produce a range of very high-quality alcoholic beverages. We hope to significantly expand our sales in Russia. And we have now decided to expand to the US, Europe and India. We are actively negotiating with distributors in these markets.

What do you think will be the biggest trend in vodka this year?

We are not captive followers of trends because trends often create only temporary demand. We know that there is a constant market demand for high quality products. Therefore, from year to year we are working intensively on quality improvement of our products. We believe that this is the main key to consumer loyalty to our brands.

What innovation are you working on at the moment?

As you may know, the Kyrgyz Republic was part of the Soviet Union until to 1991, and all alcohol factories were state-owned. Our company was the first private alcohol company. Therefore, the owners of the company decided to build new plants from the ground up and to utilise only the most advanced equipment.

Our company makes the best overall quality of alcoholic beverages in the countries of the former Soviet Union, including Russia. This year our company turned 17 years old and we have already developed a tradition of making only the very highest quality alcoholic beverages.

In the last year, we decided to pay special attention to creative packaging, especially bottles, so as to stand out on the retail shelves with innovative bottle designs. At the end of last year, our Gradusnik vodka received two Silver medals in an international competition in London, one in the ‘super-premium vodka’ category for its quality and another for its innovative design. We also received a Gold medal in China.

What would you say is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Surely it is understanding that I am part of a very talented team at AYU, and the realisation that I am actively involved in the implementation and promotion of our innovative new projects. It is very satisfying that our new brands and their innovative designs are being successfully advanced in a modern and very competitive market.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The creation of new, innovative products and their packaging so that they are unique and can compete with the products of the largest players in the global market. We also enjoy the challenge of finding the ideal balance and price point for a quality product at an affordable price for the consumer.

What are your plans for AYU in 2020?

Our team is now very actively working on three new products that we will launch in 2020. We believe that they will be able to compete in all respects with other similar alcoholic products in the global market.

We are also planning to expand our assortment of products in the brandy, whisky and wine groups, and to more fully penetrate our target markets with our entire line of products.

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