They determined its name by drawing lots: Who produced Efes Pilsen Beer?

Story of Efes Beverage Group: The first days of 1969, a famous hotel in Istanbul. Around the table are Anadolu Holding's founders İzzet Özilhan and Kamil Yazıcı, Özgörkey Group's founder Nevzat Özgörkey, and senior executives of the companies.

By David Foster Published on 10 Haziran 2024 : 22:15.
They determined its name by drawing lots: Who produced Efes Pilsen Beer?

While their factories in Istanbul and Izmir were approaching the production phase, they were searching for a brand.

Nevzat Özgörkey put the name proposal on the table, representing the people of Izmir:

- Efes (Ephesus)

İzzet Özilhan also chose a name from Istanbul:

- Topkapi

Kamil Yazıcı started from the surnames of his junior partners in his companies:

- Kent (In English - City)

Tuncay Özilhan, who was a university student in those years, wrote the three suggested names separately on a small piece of paper. The papers were folded and put into Nevzat Özgörkey's jacket pocket. İzzet Özilhan made the draw:

- Efes (Ephesus.)

Thus, the brand of beer to be produced was determined. The determination of the brand was reflected in Turkey's famous newspaper Hürriyet, dated February 1, 1969, as follows:

The first special beer to be released by Istanbul Erciyas Biracılık ve Malt Sanayii and İzmir's Ege Biracılık ve Malt Sanayii, all established with domestic capital, was named "Efes Pilsen".

Anadolu Efes Biracılık ve Malt Sanayii A.Ş. (lit. Anadolu Efes Brewery and Malt Industries) produces and markets beer and malt and non-alcoholic beverages in a wide geographical area comprising Turkey, the United States, Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Anadolu Efes is a member of the Anadolu Group. Anadolu Group was founded in 1950 by the Özilhan and Yazıcı families. Exhibiting a rapid and sustainable growth since its inception, the Anadolu Group transformed into a holding company in 1969.

Kamil Yazıcı described the day when the brand was determined with the draw in his jacket pocket as follows:

- Ephesus was easy to pronounce. Topkapı's is long. Such was the fate. Honestly, Ephesus was on my mind too. But I did not express my opinion so as not to offend İzzet Bey. As a result, İzzet Bey did not object because he chose the Efes name himself.

Nevzat Özgörkey explained how “Pilsen” was added next to “Efes” as follows:

- Both words of the brand were born during a trip to Karlovy Vary thermal springs, where business partners who had established family friendships went on holiday. The spa was 36 kilometers from the famous town of Pilsen. Pilsen, which is also the name of a beer mixture, was added next to Ephesus.

Efes Pilsen, whose brand name was determined by the draw in Özgörkey's jacket pocket in 1969, grew over time and exceeded the borders of Turkey. He made important breakthroughs in the Commonwealth of Independent States countries, especially Russia.

In the autumn of 2011, it entered into a partnership with the British beer giant SABMiller with a share swap of 1.9 billion dollars and raised the bar in the Russian and CIS countries markets...

It also attracted an important foreign investor such as SABMiller to Turkey...

The founding story of Anadolu Group, the producer of Efes

The year was 1949 when İzzet Özilhan and Kamil Yazıcı, the founders of Anadolu Group, met. While İzzet Özilhan was the owner of a small grocery store in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul, Kamil Yazıcı came to Istanbul for his military service. What started as a chance acquaintance quickly turned into a partnership. Anadolu Group was founded in 1950 by the Yazıcı and Özilhan families.

Founded as the first company of the Anadolu Group, Çelik Motor started its activities with the sale of Jawa motorcycles, Puch scooters, and Skoda pickup trucks.

Anadolu Motor; It started under the name Çelik Montaj in 1965 with the production of Jawa motorcycles and Skoda pickup trucks; In 1970, it added the production of both the Jawa motorcycle engine (250 cc) and the industrial-type engine under a Lombardini license.


Anadolu Efes was established.

Anadolu Efes' first breweries, Erciyas Biracılık (Istanbul) and Ege Biracılık (Izmir), launched Anadolu Efes' first brand, Efes Pilsen, to the market.


Anadolu Efes Sports Club was established.

Anadolu Efes Sports Club was established with the takeover of Kadıköy Sports. One of the main goals of Anadolu Efes Sports Club, which became one of the milestones of Turkish Basketball in a short time, was to take Turkish sports forward and show success in European fields.


The first overseas beer investment started with the Moscow factory.

Netherlands-based Efes Breweries International (EBI), which carries out the international operations of the Anadolu Group Beverage Group, made its first investment initiatives in Russia, the 5th largest beer market in the world.

In 2022, the Bremen 1827 brand, developed together with German beer experts, was launched in Turkey.