Greek Winemakers Are Forced To Adjust During Financial Crisis

Since the breakdown of the Greek economy, many companies have had to try and find innovative ways to keep their businesses afloat, NPRreported.

Despite the overall unemployment rates teetering in the mid-20s and polls showing 80 percent of Greece’s population in disagreement with the government, some companies have been able to float in the country’s crisis.

Stellios Boutaris, who is the son of wine company Kir-Yianni’s owner, spoke with NPR about the hardships they have endured to keep their business blossoming and profits flowing.

He, unlike many Greeks, seems to think the country’s crisis is a test of strength:

“If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us, it’s going to make us stronger.”

Yet one big problem remains for Greek businesses: it’s nearly beyond possibility to borrow any money.

Boutaris asked how anyone could do business without credit?

There isn’t much money for Greek banks to lend out. Before the crisis hit, many foreign lenders were present and enthusiastic to do business, but now most have left the nation. For money lenders, the chance of Greece departing from the eurozone makes doing business risky.

For companies like Kir-Yianni, most of their products have to be imported, Boutaris said:

“Unfortunately, Greeks are very much traders, not producers. It’s crazy, when there’s not a single glass factory in Greece. It makes you upset that you have to bring in bottles from Italy.”

With credit tight, most companies have to pay cash right away for everything they buy. For companies who relied on credit in the past, the challenges are only more burdensome.

Kir-Yianni has had to delay projects in response, Boutaris said:

“You’re squeezed from both sides. You have trouble collecting money from the markets, because some of the wholesalers have gone out of business, so it’s very, very difficult to sell. So you try to get cash from them, but not everyone can afford it.”

This is a great alteration in the lives of Greeks who once were able to acquire loans easily.