The FINANCIAL -- Geoplant LLC, producer of Georgian tea under the brand name Gurieli, is planning to better position itself online, promising to redesign and renew its website to provide greater clarity about its role and its products.
Furthermore, Gurieli is developing its presence on social networks to have better direct communication with customers. First Facebook and now Gurieli has its official account on Instagram already, where the company shares photos of its delicious tea brand.
Founded in 1996, Geoplant LLC is currently the largest Georgian tea-producing company. The company owns tea plantations as well as processing and packing facilities, and is therefore a ‘one-stop shop’ for the entire tea production process.
The company has close relationships of many years with both private and state-owned tea-producing companies around the world, including Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Turkey. These liaisons are constantly nurtured by sharing scientific, technological, and practical experiences, and are the key elements for endless innovation, quality control, and expertise in the industry.
It is safe to say that, with its rich resources of raw materials, processing/packing facilities, scientific potential, and potent brand development, Geoplant LLC is a leading producer of tea both in Georgia and all of the South Caucasus.
As of today Geoplant LLC produces the following teas in Georgia: Prince Gurieli, Gurieli Classic, Gurieli Fruit Tea and Gurieli Herbal Tea. Gurieli teas are available in tin boxes as well as in pyramid teabags and pyramid teabags in individual envelopes.
As Mikheil Chkuaseli, CEO at Geoplant, said, in line with world trends, black tea in teabags is the most highly demanded product. “However, interest towards herbal and fruit infusions is quite high, which is a positive change and hopefully sales in this direction will increase as well,” he added.
As of today Gurieli tea is exported to Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Russia, Germany and the Netherlands as well as to various other European countries by private exporters.
Geoplant LLC has recently won a Golden Brand Award for its successful activities in 2015.
Q. Could you please summarise the year 2016 and the first part of 2017?
A. The year 2016 was very successful for our company and we are satisfied with the results.
Last year we experienced 11 percent growth in sales compared to 2015.
Also, last year the main challenge for Gurieli was to enter new objects and we have completed this goal successfully.
The revenues totalled GEL 4.7 million (Georgian national currency Lari) last year.
I would say that every year we have new challenges and new achievements. We always strive for the next year to be more successful than the previous one. To achieve this goal our company and all employees work very hard. This is the only way to reach success.
Q. How does Gurieli tea attract clients and retain its competitive advantage?
A. Every year we introduce new products, varieties or packaging, positioning ourselves as an innovative brand aimed at development.
The fact that Georgian consumers appreciate our products is our best competitive advantage.
Unfortunately, we do face significant problems with some cafés and restaurants, who give preference to imported products as the majority are working on a 400 percent margin. That is why they avoid selling Georgian tea.
However, a lot of our customers remain loyal to, and supportive of, Gurieli and Georgian products in general.
Q. Your goal is to revive the tea industry in Georgia. How are you contributing to this process?
A. Geoplant has been operating in the business since 1996, when Georgian tea was practically erased from the international map. We started selling bulk tea to famous tea producing companies. Afterwards the idea of establishing a Georgian brand of tea developed in 2008 and the birth of Gurieli can be regarded as a turning point, when the closed factories continued to work and the plantations followed after.
Shortly after the launch, the brand became popular and has established itself strongly on the local market, gaining about 20 percent, when initially imported products held 98 percent of the market.
Many people are employed in the business, which in turn supports increasing welfare in the regions. Production of quality tea, creation of our successful brand, and our overall performance in Georgia is beneficial for the development of the agricultural sector and the overall economy of our country.
Q. Has Gurieli tea become one of the visit cards of Georgia?
A. Fortunately, Gurieli was able to establish itself as a brand and through export as well as various expos across the world, is somewhat known to the international market. However, we have a lot of work to do and hopefully sooner rather than later tea will become as popular as, for example, Georgian wine, as we have the full potential of being one of the top producing countries. Remember that during Soviet times Georgia was in the list of the top five countries in terms of tea production. The experience and success stories connected to Georgian tea are a solid basis for its further development.