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The Warsaw Voice » Other » February 20, 2008
Chair of the Year 2007
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Constant Learning
February 20, 2008   
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Bartosz BoŠko, president of Toorank Polska, a subsidiary of the Dutch Distilleries Group, talks to Bo┐enna Osucha.

Your company started operating in Poland in 1996. Was it a difficult beginning for you?
The Polish drinks industry is the fourth largest market worldwide, which provides many opportunities but also means very tough competition.

It was extremely difficult to start operations in Poland. In the mid-1990s, the Polish government was distrustful of foreign direct investments. Toorank Polska S.A. acquired a water-bottling company in Jasienica, a village [near the southern city of Bielsko-Bia│a] where the unemployment rate was rather high. In 2000, our company changed its focus from low-profile products like vodka and wine to a more specialized, premium portfolio. Since then, despite competition from long-established companies, sales of our specialized handmade spirits have increased 30 times in this mature market. Last year alone, Toorank Polska sold over 1 million bottles internationally.

Toorank has won a number of awards and certificates for its products. How important are these awards to your company?
Our company's philosophy is constant learning. This is why we decided to implement the ISO, HACCP and BRC standards systems-the three internationally recognized certificates of production quality. Toorank Polska was the first company in the Polish spirit market to get these certificates. We have also received the Silesian Quality Award in Management, a Teraz Polska competition award for our honey vodka Miodula from the president of Poland, and finally in 2007 the Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 award from the mayor of Bielsko-Bia│a.

How do you think your products are perceived among Polish customers?
It is crucial to communicate what we have achieved to our customers. Our gold and silver medals and International Best in Class Awards in London (at the International Wine and Spirits Competition) prove that Toorank Polska is a reliable partner for other companies. For our customers, they prove that our products are the best in the category.

Apart from its business activities, Toorank organizes various social events. What are they?
Since 1999 we have participated in the Highlanders' Culture Week, one of the biggest cultural events in Poland. We have also organized events such as a bartending competition in Cracow, Danziger Goldwasser Day in Gda˝sk, and various Polish events throughout Europe.

Contact: Bartosz.Bocko@toorank.com.pl
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