Almost at the same time, in 2003, breweries that produce three most famous Serbian beer brands were privatized: Jelen (deer), Lav (lion) and Zajecarsko (named by the city where the brewery is located). This was followed by a significant change in the visual identity, ie the logo, which we will follow on the bottle caps. Every few years, especially for important anniversaries, there were new refreshments and changes of the logo.
Jelen beer entered the 21st century with a simple silver cap with the inscription "Apatin Brewery 1756" in a semicircle. In 2003, it changed that, by introducing a deer on the cap, and changing it from an old, calm one, with long and thin horns from the 20th century to a young and excited one, with a raised head and roar. On the 250th anniversary of the brewery in 2006, came a slightly modified cap, also on a white background, but without silver vertical stripes and with reduced AP logo, now nestled in hop ears. Three years later, it was redesigned again, the deer became a contour with slightly changed horns and the background became golden. In 2016, on the 260th anniversary, the deer disappeared from the cap again, and the design was further simplified in 2017, when the base changed to yellow, as it is today. On the 265th anniversary, a new cap for 2021. was released.
Until its privatization, Lav brand had the lion on the cap as stylized Lowenbrau heraldic lion with a long tongue, because the brewery had been filling that beer for years. The redesigned lion has been tongueless since 2003, with a lush mane and a larger crown. This design remained until 2012 (120th anniversary of the brewery), when the whole lion was replaced only by the head without a crown, also in profile, and the brand name was no longer on the cap. The cap from 2016. announces the soon disappearance of the lion from the cap, because the head was now reduced, in the circle of the new slogan "WATER - YEAST - BARLEY - HOPS". The reduction of the lion began as early as the 20th century: Lowenbrau had the whole figure of a lion, the first Lav Export had the lion below the waist, the one from 2003. the lion above the waist, and in 2012. it was just the head, all from profile. In 2017, on the 125th anniversary, the lion disappears from the cap, and the logo changed so that all three letters were no longer the same height (but the middle letter was the highest), and the hook on the middle letter turned from the ball down, to the ball up orientation.
Jelen and Lav followed each other very closely, as mentioned animals disappeared from caps almost at the same time (deer in 2016, and lion in 2017), and both brands got caps of solid bright color with only the name in 2017. This change for both occured after the giveaway "Look below (the cap)", which lasted for Jelen from 16.6 to 15.7, and for Lav from 15.7. (same day when Jelen's ended) until 13.8. Jelen's giveaway cap announced the yellow color of the cap following it, and Leo's cap announced a new logo.
Zajecar Brewery was bought by Turkish Efes in 2003, and at the end of 2008. it was taken over by the Heineken Group. Its logo on the label and the cap changed from the one written in small letters ("zajecar beer") from the 20th century, through 2008 with "Zajecar beer", and from 2012 only "Zajecar" remained, and the word "beer" was replaced by a wavy ribbon resembling a sign for infinity, a calligraphic decorative element. This ribbon remained on labels and caps until mid-2020, and disappeared after a giveaway to celebrate brewery’s 125th anniversary. It is interesting to note that for Jelen and Lav in 2017 (Lav then celebrated 125 years of existence), and Zajecar 3 years later, after a special cap of the giveaway, a redesigned new cap came, and the old one did not return.
Mihailo Alić, researcher and collector, Belgrade, May 2021.