How to buy beer in Croatia – top breweries and beers

beer Zlatni medvjed
Enjoying Zlatni medvjed in Pivnica Medvedgrad

Croatia is quite a small country, so you can easily get overwhelmed by the large number of breweries and beer styles it offers. The Croatian beer world has flourished in the last ten years, resulting in the emergence of some quite serious beer fans.

In addition to big Croatian breweries known worldwide for their “traditional” beer brands like legendary Ožujsko and Karlovačko, you can pick from a wide variety of local craft beers. Have you heard of Nova runda, Zmajsko, or Bura?

If the answer is no, let us introduce you to the world of Croatian beer and teach you how to buy beer in Croatia. And if you are a beer connoisseur, use this guide as a reminder of what you must not skip on your journey to Croatia.

In this article, we cover:

The facts are these…

Why drink beer in Croatia

Most Croatians are still loyal to Croatian classics like Ožujsko and Karlovačko, and visiting Croatia without trying them would be unreasonable. The habit of drinking these beers arose naturally over the decades. In the past, the beer offer was not nearly as rich as it is today, so there were no other options but a few beers from mass production.

On the other hand, the number of local craft breweries and beers is constantly growing in Croatia, which is good for the country’s economy. Some craft brewers have serious plans from the very beginning. For others, their hobbies turn into businesses they never dreamed of.

Let’s see why you should connect with Croatian beer culture and enjoy Croatian beers when visiting Croatia.

1. Croatian beer is made of high-quality water

A prerequisite for producing a tasty, high-quality beer is using high-quality water. Luckily, Croatia’s water sources are of very high quality. Croatia is one of the 30 richest countries in the world in terms of water resources. Learn more about the quality of water in Croatia in this guide.

2. You can enjoy outstanding craft beers

During the past decade, the popularity of craft beer has grown tremendously. The number of small local craft beer producers across Croatia is constantly increasing. Their small plants produce lower quantities of beer than big factories, but their quality is higher, and their aromas are incredible.

Some Croatians even produce their own homemade beers, so don’t hesitate to try one if you get the chance. One with a raspberry note made by my friend’s friend was one of the most delicious beers I ever tried. Ask locals if they know where to buy a homemade beer.

3. You can try various flavors and aromas

Croatian craft breweries are very brave in terms of flavors and aromas. They play with notes of citrus, mango, vanilla, banana, coffee, chocolate, smoke – the list is endless. You can pick between various beer styles, including pilsner, lager, ale, ipa, stout, porter, radler, and many more.

4. You can pick between non-alcoholic and strong beers

The amount of alcohol varies depending on the beer, but it usually ranges around 4 to 5.5%. Mild beers have 2 to 3% alcohol, which is ideal for summer. Stronger beers contain 6 to 7% alcohol, and some more than 10%. You can also find beers with 0% alcohol.

Croatians drink beer whenever they want to relax, whether at friendly and family gatherings and roštilj (barbecue), festivals, concerts, trips, caffe bars, when going out, or after work. It is always the right time to indulge in Croatian beer, and we are grateful for our rich offer.

[Read: How to understand the Croatian culture]

Where to buy beer in Croatia?

Beer is considered a food product. Thus, you can easily buy it almost anywhere if you are older than 18. Most Croatian breweries also sell branded beer glasses, mugs, and T-shirts. If your loved ones are beer fans, surprise them with some beer souvenirs.

Below is a list of places where you can buy beer in Croatia. You can order beer online from most breweries and shops if you can’t visit physical stores.

1. Local stores and supermarkets

Smaller Croatian shops and chains like Trgocentar and Studenac are still typical for Croatia. You can buy a beer there but don’t expect to find a large offer. If you want craft beers, rather visit supermarkets such as Konzum, Spar, Kaufland, and Lidl. Prices may differ a bit depending on the store.

2. Specialized beer stores and liquor shops

If you are obsessed with following the beer industry trends, go to specialized craft beer shops. They have a constant influx of new beers, rotating taps, and knowledgeable staff. Visit Goblet Beer Store in Zagreb, Little Beer Shop in Split, or Pomalo Shop in Dubrovnik and enjoy the ride.

General liquor stores like Vrutak in Zagreb and Wine & more are also good because they usually have reasonable offers and significant discounts.

3. Booths

Buying beers at booths like Tisak is practical if you are in a hurry and don’t have time to wait in a store. Booths can be found at every corner. You will pay a higher price than in a store, but you’ll save some time.

[Read: What is a Tisak and how it may save your life in Croatia]

4. Caffe bars

Sometimes a Croatian invites you for a coffee, but they actually aim for beer. Most caffe bars offer around 10 types of beer, including the classics like Ožujsko and Karlovačko. More and more bars lately offer at least one craft beer. They also have beers on tap, but their offer won’t be as rich as in taprooms.

5. Craft beer bars and taprooms

Some breweries have their own taprooms or beer bars, which are ideal for hanging out in groups. You can enjoy high-quality beers at lower prices while listening to local Croatian bands since they often organize music nights.

Check out Nova Runda’s taproom in Zabok or The Garden Taproom and Pivnica Medvedgrad in Zagreb. You will often find some food delicacies on the spot.

6. Restaurants

Croatian restaurants don’t offer a large range of beers since each has a deal with specific distributors. If a restaurant offers a tap beer, it usually won’t be more than 3 types.

7. Beer and other festivals

Croatian music festivals and beer festivals attract beer lovers with their wide range of beers and live music. They are mostly organized in the summer season when the weather is sunny. One of the best beer festivals is the Zagreb Beer Fest.

8. Gas stations

You may be surprised by some gas stations in Croatia and their beer offer. If there is no other shop around, you’ll probably ignore higher prices and go for tasty flavors. Gas stations are a practical choice during the night hours when most shops in Croatia are closed.

[Read: Guide on driving in Croatia including highways, tolls, gas stations, car washes, and parking]

Tips on buying beer in Croatia

Here are a few important tips you should be aware of when buying beers in Croatia:

  • Follow sales and discounts in bigger stores, especially if you are buying larger quantities of beer. Some shops often have promotional or reduced prices for specific beers. You can find discounts in Kaufland almost every week.
  • Craft breweries also offer occasional discounts. Follow their social networks or subscribe to their newsletters to stay informed. Some of them also organize events or concerts with discounts, for example Medvedgrad.
  • Buy beers in bulk whenever you can. For example, Nova runda sometimes offers excellent discounts if you buy a pack of their beers as their expiry date approaches. Their quality is still high, but you can save a lot of money.
  • If the discount is very high and looks suspicious, do not buy these beers. My sister and I bought a bunch of beers on sale made by a producer we had never heard of, and they were spoiled. At least buy only a few to try, not 20.
  • Certain craft beers are quite expensive. If you are in a taproom and want to try something new, ask the staff for a sample before you order it. You don’t want to give it up after the first sip.
  • If there is no price list in a visible place, do not order a beer before asking for it. Once, we were celebrating a friend’s birthday in a trendy craft beer bar. We forgot to pay attention to prices because we were in a celebratory mood and knew what we wanted to drink. When we got the bill at the end of the night, we were frapped.
  • I prefer to drink tap beers whenever I can, especially in a caffe bar or a brewery. Their fresh, refined flavors are more intense than those from bottles.

How much does a beer cost in Croatia?

The cost of beer in Croatia depends on where you buy it, the type of beer you buy, and the producer. Craft beers are significantly more expensive than classics such as Ožujsko, Karlovačko, and Pan. In stores, classics cost around 1-2 euro, and crafts around 2-4 euro.

A beer in an average Croatian caffe bar or pub usually costs 2.5 to 5 euro. In restaurants and clubs, prices can double or even triple. Prices are also higher at booths and gas stations. During summer, prices are higher on the Adriatic coast and in bigger Croatian cities.

Cheapest prices can usually be found in liquor stores or when buying beers directly from breweries.

How to order beer in Croatia?

In a local caffe bar or craft beer bar, price lists are usually available on each table. Croatian breweries and taprooms usually have large panels above the bar, showing their beer offer and prices. You can easily view their offer once you reach the bar.

You can ask a waiter about the offer of točeno pivo (tap beer) before you order your drink. Describe the types and flavors you prefer and ask if they have a recommendation. If you have your favorite Croatian craft beer, ask if they have it. They may not keep it on tap but sell it in bottles.

If you are not familiar with a particular beer, ask the waiter about the percentage of alcohol. Once, I came to the bar and instinctively ordered a new beer from my favorite brewery. Guess what? The taste was outstanding, and it did not seem heavy and strong at all. However, I barely got up from my chair since it had more than 12% alcohol.

In Croatia, beers are sold in 0.5-liter or “big” glasses and 0.3-liter or “small” glasses. The waiter will bring you a 0.5-liter beer if you don’t specify the size you want. The big one is called velika or pola litre (half a liter), and the small one mala or tri deci (3 deciliter).

Before you leave the bar, leave a small tip to the waiter, especially if they gave you a good recommendation. Dobro se dobrim vraća (one good turn deserves another)! 🙂

[Read: All about tipping in Croatia]

What are the most famous Croatian beer brands?

Let’s review the top Croatian beer brands (breweries) and beers, including both craft breweries and mass production.

Tiny tip: Nova runda’s C4 IPA has been my favorite Croatian beer since I first tasted it.

5th ElementAba
Bura BrewOptimist golden ale
Redsand amber ale
Tornado ipa
Hurricane ipa
Carlsberg CroatiaPan zlatni
Pan pilsner
DevetkaAmerican pale ale
Belgian pale ale
Red ale
Pale ale
India pale ale
Milkshake ipa
K pivovariVukovarsko
Karlovačka pivovaraKarlovačko lager
Karlovačko crno
MedvedgradZlatni medo
Grička vještica
Fakin ipa
Crna kraljica
Dva klasa
Međimurski lepi dečkiMeđimursko lager
Čakovečko pilsner
To je vuk s-ipa
Waitapu blond
MlinaricaCzech style lager
Vienna lager
Black widow
Nova rundaApa
Osječka pivovaraOsječ
Pivovara LičankaVelebitsko svijetlo
Velebitsko tamno
San servoloSan
Šibenska pivovaraMihovil
VarionicaPale ale
Neon stout
Siesta session ipa
Zagrebačka pivovaraOžujsko
Zmajska pivovaraPils
Pale ale

View our other food posts

Frequently asked questions

How do you say beer in Croatian?

In Croatian, beer is translated as pivo. Locals also use the term piva.

What is the most popular beer in Croatia?

The most popular beers locals drink in Croatia are produced by large Croatian beer factories. These beers are called Karlovačko, Ožujsko, and Pan.

What is the best craft beer in Croatia?

It is hard to answer this question since Croatia has many craft breweries and a wide offer of craft beers. If you try any beer we listed in this article, you won’t regret it.

How much is a beer in Croatia?

Croatian beer prices in stores usually vary between 1 and 3 euros. The beer prices in Croatian bars and restaurants are twice or three times higher than in stores.

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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