Devastating import duties at 30% were imposed in Serbia, Croatia and other south-east European states. Despite that Happy Day and Bravo have been highly popular in the region since the early 1990s. The refreshing Bravo drinks saw a positive boom in 2001, however, as the modern, practical PET bottles found their way onto supermarket shelves. The packaging was new and guaranteed excellent quality.
But soon the local competition got in on the PET action. Even the brand's most loyal customers struggled to remain true when faced with a 30% price difference. Rauch had to come up with a solution quickly: how was Bravo to become one of south-east Europe's own?
An Italian plant manufacturer and Rauch partner hinted that he had just installed a modern PET bottling plant for a small mineral water manufacturer in Macedonia. The Macedonian company soon agreed to become a co-packer. They were glad of the additional workload.
Rauch Hungary supplied the raw materials. Experts from Budapest were responsible for the technical details, as anything with the Rauch label on the outside must have the highest quality on the inside – no matter where the products are bottled. The solution made Rauch fully competitive again and Bravo soon became the number one drink in Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
Most of the supervising technicians really enjoyed their time in Macedonia. Although the plant was in a tiny village 40 kilometres away from the next town and in the last few kilometres on a single-lane bumpy dirt road they prayed that a lorry wouldn't come towards them, the hospitality, the food, and the area were second to none. And an extra bonus awaited passionate fishermen such as Martin Berchthold, the Production Manager in Hungary. The small river next to the factory was teeming with trout.
In a picturesque valley in Macedonia the success of Bravo PET in south-east Europe was born.