Almost a century

of leading identity

Following the Asia Minor disaster, the Hellenic Society of Wines and Spirits (EEOO), operating a number of wineries across Greece, decided to expand its operations to Cyprus by buying a Pera Pedi winery (an 1890 building), thus establishing KEOO (Cypriot Company and Spirits) on February 15, 1927.

Almost a century of leading identity

Following the Asia Minor disaster, the Hellenic Society of Wines and Spirits (EEOO), operating a number of wineries across Greece, decided to expand its operations to Cyprus by buying a Pera Pedi winery (an 1890 building), thus establishing KEOO (Cypriot Company and Spirits) on February 15, 1927.

New facilities were constructed, the winery was equipped with the latest machinery of the time and staffed with experienced personnel. The company took its first steps.

The KEO winery in Limassol (1934).

In early 1927, the company employed 30 people and production reached 21 thousand litres.

The first bottled wines were Othello, Aphrodite and Coeur De Lion, still surviving today. The commercial success of the company’s export operations was immediate, and this meant acquiring more land in Mallia for the construction of an additional winery as well as plots in Limassol for facility development.

An advertisement in the ELEFTHERIA newspaper (15/9/1926) for the opening of the Pera Pedi winery.

Construction of the company’s factory in the Tsiflikoudia area of Limassol was completed in 1934. During this time, it also invited winemakers to acquire shares in the newly established company. KEOO had now been growing rapidly for more than two decades, enjoying huge support from Cypriot viticulture, both in financial terms as well as training in new cultivation methods.

KEO advertising slogan (40s).

Vita made its appearance with a grape juice soft drink. Both products were met with great success.

The KEO brewery in Limassol (1951).


From the mid 1930 to the 1950s, the company was trying to juggle between heavy export dependence on the British market and the anti-colonial struggle, culminating in the 1955-59 liberation movement.

At a different, more practical level, the company decisively worked towards the registration of the vineyards with the ultimate goal of securing ‘Designation of Origin’.

It further signed cooperation agreements with the main wine-making villages, while also taking strong action to further support the Cyprus wine sector.

It also made a significant social contribution by introducing student scholarships to Europe and the United States.

During the same period, the company invested in advertising and product promotion by creating short films broadcast in cinemas, composing an advertising song, publishing a book about Cypriot wineries, printing posters and greeting cards, as well as modernising its labels.

Fleet of KEO distribution vehicles (50s).

And then there was…KEO

In 1956, KEO signs an agreement with Smedley Cyprus Canning Co Ltd (SWS), which meant expanding into the natural fruit juices and stuffed vegetables sector.

In 1959 the Cyprus Wine and Spirits Company was renamed KEO Ltd and launched heavy investment in modern machinery that could meet the growing market demand for its products, while also evolving its sales system through external consultants.

Despite these forward steps, Cyprus independence finds KEO in a difficult financial situation. It required re-organisation, so the management and board of directors at the time took to task, undertaking a structuring that would restore the company to sound financial levels.

KEO beer fleet (1951).

On-the-spot sales stabilise, as exports, mainly to the United Kingdom, progressively rise. The company is moving up again, growing into a major commercial entity in Cyprus, with the largest domestic sales and exports in its sector.

This new decade is a period of solid growth for KEO, with its products securing numerous awards in international competitions and exhibitions in which the company participates during the early 1970s.

KEO beer box packaging (70s).

Post 1974

The coup and ensuing Turkish invasion of 1974 created unprecedented political conditions and shattered economic development in Cyprus. KEO was quick to contribute in the post-war effort, no less by hosting refugees at its Pera Pedi facilities.

KEO commercial activities were suspended as the early post war years were understandably a tough proposition. With the support of the Church however, the largest shareholder, the company stayed afloat, despite the reduced purchasing power of consumers and no tourist traffic.

The winery at Pera Pedi (1891).

During this time, the Board of Directors also looked to expand further, by exploring for new export markets. After a time, there was also a relative market improvement, supported by the arrival in Cyprus of a significant number of Lebanese national who were fleeing the civil war, after 1977.

KEO Vita distribution truck .

The Company implemented a large-scale programme to promote KEO beer sales while KEO Vita also delivers huge success.

KEO facilities are modernised through improvement projects, including new machinery.

During the 1980s, the company intensifies expansion into new products and hires specialised scientific personnel in all sectors of its activities, with CEO P.Psaras spearheading the effort at the time.

The KEO group of companies includes the following subsidiaries: Cyprus Canning Company Ltd, Limassol Citrus Plantation Company, Cyprus Wines KEO Ltd London and Fifty Frith Street Limited London.

Responsible investment policy and efficient management structure, overturn the KEO Turkish invasion disaster, returning the company to its old glory. As such, it is able to make a substantial contribution to the socio-economic recovery and development of the country.

During this time, the company also conducts scientific research to evaluate Cypriot grape varieties. This study, coordinated by Dr. A. Zampartas in collaboration with Professor P. Galet (acclaimed viticulturist and viticulturist), contributed to the rescue and revival of major endangered species of indigenous grapes such as Giannoudi , Morokanell, Sportiko and others.

Gold medal

In 1987, KEO beer received international recognition, winning the Gold Medal in the lager category at a global competition held in Burton-on-Trent in the UK, with many famous breweries taking part.

Such a major award in the sector, immediately has a positive impact on Cyprus at international level, contributing both to the commercial success of the beer, as well as pointing to KEO as a distinguished company with superior quality standards.

For Cyprus, KEO is not just a dynamic, successful commercial entity.

Over time, it has made a substantial social contribution, facilitating the improvement of education and health standards and supporting sports and culture through significant sponsorships.

KEO financially supported and actively participated in the organisation of The Games of the Small States of Europe in 1988.

In terms of communication and promotion practices, during this time it hosted consumers, including both locals and foreign tourists in its facilities, for a first hand look at the production process, while the media is always regularly informed about developments in the company as well numerous events.

By the late 80s, the company has fully recovered and on a steady rise, investing heavily in personnel training and specialisation, as well as spending in expanding facilities and structure. Including upgrading methods and machinery, with the purpose of further improving product quality.

The 90’s

The early 90ss are marked by the economic crisis resulting from the Gulf war, leading to adverse effects on both the domestic and export markets. Nevertheless, the Company continues to exploit all possible opportunities at increasing turnover.

It acquires the Laona winery in Arsos and the juice company Sun Island Canning Ltd while also constructing a water bottling factory at Ayios Nikolaos Stegis in Kakopetria, as it enters the water market in 1995.

Managing Director M. Polydoridis is succeeded in 1996 by Dr. A. Zampartas .

The Mallia winery is restored and the estate (about 500 hectares) is planted with both local and import varieties.

In 1996 the company receives the Cyprus Export Award from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism and the CCCI.

21st century dynamic

KEO flows into the 21st century ready to face the challenges of the new era. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and staffed with scientific well-trained personnel, it embarks on the new millennium with a leading position in the beverage and food market. In 2002 KEO marked 75 years of life and celebrations focused on culture.

The KEO brewery in Limassol

Today KEO is a public company listed on the Cyprus Stock Exchange.

It is a multi-faceted organisation with a leading identity, constantly investing in policies and actions that maintain the consumer’s trust.

The company has been led for more than a decade now by Costas Koutsos, who’s the Executive Chairman and CEO Charalambos Panagiotou.

This new management has instilled a new vision, multi-dimensional, diverse, ambitious. KEO is firmly committed to its growth strategy, offering superior quality products, with high profitability and state-of-the-art technology, always investing in the modernisation of facilities, warehouses and fleet in order to satisfy both shareholder and society’s interests.

The changes brought about by KEO management in recent years have transformed the company into a new, dynamic and extroverted commercial entity. The reborn KEO, has built a strong development orientation and market focus, continuously improving its image, as a result of hard work at all levels, but mainly the dedication of its major shareholder of KEO, the Church of Cyprus.

This uninterrupted upward and profitable course has enabled KEO to plan the next stages of its life.

The KEO brewery in Malia

Exporting to more than 30 countries

Since 1927, when it started as a wine production and marketing company, KEO has been steadily rising, always keeping up with the strictest quality and control standards.

The company has created a wide range of products, reaching commercial peaks both in Cyprus and more than 30 countries worldwide.

KEO activities today range from cultivating vineyards, producing excellent wines and fine spirits, including the unique Saint John Commandaria.

The company’s flagship is undoubtedly the internationally renowned KEO beer, a product synonymous with Cyprus and enjoyed both by locals as well as the millions of visitors.

A milestone in the company’s history was expanding into the natural mineral water sector, with Ayios Nikolaos,  a star in its category.

The range of products is enriched by the KEO, SWS and Sun Island juice series.

The Ayios Nikolaos natural mineral water.

As a real total beverage supplier, KEO is the exclusive representative and distributor in Cyprus of internationally renowned products such as Estrella and Erdinger beers , Kopparberg cider , Laurent Perrier champagne Perrier, the Beam Suntory range of spirits, LUX soft drinks, SOUROTI carbonated natural mineral water, TRATA encased fish and much more.

KEO is…Cyprus

KEO is almost a century old. It was established in 1927 and from the outset the company became synonymous with local wine production. The big leap was taken in the 50’s with the introduction of KEO beer. Today KEO is a diverse organisation working beyond commercial activities by giving back to society. CEO of KEO plc. Charalambos Panagiotou spoke to us about what all this history means.

CEO of KEO plc Charalambos Panagiotou .

What’s it like heading an organisation that is almost 100, part of the country’s history?

KEO is one of the most historic industrial organisations of our country. A name inextricably linked to Cyprus. Leading a brand of this range is a great honour. It’s also a huge responsibility.

A burden of responsibility not only to the shareholders, the Board of Directors and staff, but society as a whole. My predecessors were excellent professionals who made their own mark behind the KEO wheel.

Combined with the shareholders expectations, it is a massive challenge. And I have to rise to the occasion.

The CEO mission is a challenging one and in a time of crisis, we are called upon to design and implement a strategy that will develop the company and deliver growth and profit to the next generation.

The KEO brewery in Limassol.

By nature, our work is multi-faceted, in highly competitive conditions.

What is vital in achieving our goals is daily monitoring of progress and strengthening corporate collaborations through flexible decisions, particularly when dealing with factors beyond our control, affecting the market.

Prudent management and allocation of resources is of great importance in building a healthy financial outlook.

Trained and experienced executives, with know-how and scientific competence guarantee a successful road ahead.


My priority are quality products on the Cyprus market and keeping the trust of consumers, both locally and abroad. In achieving this, we invested in the training of our people, the smooth functioning of every department, technological upgrades and building our corporate image.

In that framework, the company has gone through structural and organisational changes, contributing to significant reductions in operating costs.

First prize for KEO beer at the Brewing Industry International Awards (1987).

My vision is to transform KEO into a dynamic and extroverted commercial entity. Our success is evident in financial results, an upward trend of profit and the freedom to plan the next stage of its activities.

Given its history and connectivity of its products with Cyprus, it would not be an exaggeration to say that as CEO OF this company you are essentially responsible for managing a part of our country’s history.

A leader

What does the history bring to present and future?

KEO has been a fundamental pillar of Cypriot society. A human-centred organisation and one of the few original local companies that remains stable in terms of market supply.

Through more than nine decades of life, the company has employed thousands of Cypriots, raising the standard of living and contributing to the country’s economic growth.

KEO’s long time support of the wine sector is of vital importance. By absorbing the largest volume of grapes in Cyprus, it essentially contributes to the preservation of this agricultural sector and the survival of the country’s wine making tradition. Not to mention how precious Commandaria is.

With numerous partners and customers throughout the country, KEO is a leader in the trade.

What determined the Group’s DNA?

Authenticity of products, locality and history.

Its people, change over time, market developments and the unbreakable bond with Cyprus and its people. KEO’s DNA is Cyprus, plain and simple. For Cypriots and millions of foreign visitors, KEO is part of the island’s identity.

Early KEO beer printed advertisements (1951).

What sets KEO apart

What is different about you?

KEO is a purely Cypriot company. Perhaps the only global example of a domestic company not only surviving the fierce competition of multinational giants that flooded the market as a result of globalisation, but also leading the way in its industry. Most of the products on offer are produced in Cyprus.

Why do you consider your company a leader?

There are a number of reasons why KEO ranks top of the FMCGs industry.

It offers a complete range of beverage products, mostly produced in Cyprus and catering to the needs of customers in all categories of beverages.

KEO has built an extensive sales and distribution network across Cyprus, serving all sales points on both the hot and cold market. The market shares of its products demonstrate overwhelming consumer confidence in its brands.

ΚΕΟ Light 2015. The first Cypriot beer with less alcohol and fewer calories.


What stands out in this century old course?

For such an historic group, there were many benchmarks along the way.

From supporting the 1955 EOKA liberation struggle and the victims of the Turkish invasion and from brewery construction to product awards, KEO has plenty to remember and cherish.

Of great pride to KEO and the whole of Cyprus was the Gold Medal in the lager category at the Burton-on-Trent global competition in 1987.

Celebrating 75 years of life by hosting cultural events and exhibitions was a focal point for the company.

Of great importance was also building the state-of-the-art bottling plant of AGIOS NIKOLAOS natural mineral water in Kakopetria.

KEO has enjoyed significant commercial success, with a steady rise of market share and international agreements that secure the presence of our products in colossal chains abroad.

1980s KEO beer packaging.


The Ayios Nikolaos natural mineral water.

The war in Ukraine and Cyprus

We’re facing a difficult situation. Before the economy got back on its feet from the 2013 crisis, covid hit us, following two years later by the Ukraine war. How will the new crisis affect Cyprus?

It’s not just Cyprus. This is a global crisis. As the economy was finally picking up post pandemic, the war in Ukraine broke out. Cyprus also had the additional burden of the 2013 financial breakdown and was on the way to recovery.

With the covid outbreak, companies in the FMCG sector lost half of their clientele as restaurants closed down.

Multifaceted social support

Mr. Panagiotou, how does corporate social responsibility translate into action?

Over time, KEO has supported society in various ways, sponsoring education and health standards programmes, as well as sports and the arts. It’s always been characterized as the blood donor of culture.

A thousand glasses with the logo of the Games of the Small Countries of Europe 1988 circulated across the island, as KEO was the main sponsor.

Sponsoring organized groups, football teams, theatre performances and concerts, donating ambulances to the state, establishing educational scholarships and participating in charitable institutions are only some of the actions falling under the company’s corporate social responsibility program.

More specifically, KEO remains the proud supporter of the Cyprus Men’s National Football squad, the team uniting the country.

MOVEMBER CYPRUS is the main CSR application of the Company and Beer KEO co-organizes this global charity movement in Cyprus.

In addition, KEO beer has been a co-organizer of Movember since 2014. This is a global charity aiming to raise awareness on prostate and testicular cancer, as well as men’s mental health.

Participation in such social action is of great importance for both company and staff, also virtually transforming the concept of voluneering.

KEO landmarks

  • In February 1927 the Cyprus Wine and Spirits Company – KEOO is established, producing the first bottled wines Othello, Aphrodite and Coeur De Lion.
  • 1934 KEO invites viticulturists to acquire shares in the newly established company.
  • In 1947 it was decided to build a brewery and KEO beer was launched on May 17, 1951.
  • Since the early 50’s, the company has been showing a keen interest in upgrading structure.
  • In 1959 the Cyprus Wine and Spirits Company was renamed KEO Ltd.
  • The Turkish invasion of 1974 significantly affects the company. Following the initial shock, it is reorganised and growth follows, with products receiving international recognition and awards.
  • In 1987 the quality of KEO beer is internationally recognised, taking a Lager category Gold Medal in a global competition.
  • In the 90’s the company builds a water bottling factory at Ayios Nikolaos Stegis in Kakopetria and subsequently goes into the mineral water market in 1995.
  • In the 21st century, under the banner of KEO beer, the company continues developing in a multi-faceted way, having grown into a diversified organisation, with multiple activities.


Anexartisias Avenue 101,
2200 Geri,

P. O Box 21686, 1512 Nicosia,


+357 22 571 111