KANSAS CITY, MO — In Kyiv, Ukraine, Bakehouse has been bravely baking bread for customers, consumers and volunteers supporting the war effort. But the bakery also suffered a massive blow in March when its warehouse burned, suffering 15 million Euros in damage after being hit by shelling from Russian tanks.

The warehouse was a shared space for all the brands owned by parent company Wine Bureau, which also owns the Good Wine retailer where Bakehouse sells much of its products.

When Russian troops invaded Ukraine in late February, the Wine Bureau board of directors immediately put a plan into action for paying its employees in advance, providing them with resources to make decisions regarding their housing and safety.


“The first thing we cared about was the people,” said Anna Makievska, Bakehouse founder and board member for Wine Bureau. “I remember clearly the first day of the war … we were discussing how we would pay people their salaries. We were very worried that something would happen with the banks, and we would not be able to transfer money, so we paid people beforehand.”

It was only a few weeks later when the warehouse, just a few miles from the city center, was hit destroying almost everything inside and causing 15 million Euros in damage. Comparatively, Bakehouse had spent 1 million Euros on its new baking facility.

“The main business of the company is importing of alcohol and food for retail, wholesale and grocery,” Makievska said. “Everything we have is almost always invested in stocking the goods.”

Everything stored in ambient temperature for all Wine Bureau businesses, including Bakehouse, was stored in that warehouse. This illuminated a new — much larger — challenge: The realization that food production and storage outlets are targets in war strategy.

“Russian troops also shot at very big supermarkets. We are sure that there was purpose in this … they wanted to destroy warehouses where the food is stored.” —Anna Makievska | founder | Bakehouse


“It wasn’t just our warehouse,” she said. “In the same area, Russian troops also shot at very big supermarkets. We are sure that there was purpose in this … they wanted to destroy warehouses where the food is stored.”

It appeared that all was lost in the warehouse, which meant the retail outlet would have nothing to sell, and the bakery lost most of its dry goods. Not to mention, much of the financial resources had already been given to paying the workers across all Wine Bureau’s businesses.

However, the bakery’s flour, supplied by P&H Milling, had been stored in a different location, allowing Bakehouse to keep making bread.

Although Ukraine is known for its wheat production, when Makievska founded the bakery, she sought the high-protein flour that comes from hard red spring wheat crops in Canada and the upper US. Because she had to order in bulk higher than production, the bakery happened to have a surplus of flour that had to be stored at a cooler temperature than the ambient warehouse.

But after the attacks on large food storage, the team moved the flour to the basement bakery below the Good Wine store.

“We filled every corridor,” Makievska said. “We knew that if the flour was destroyed, we could not bake.”


Due to logistical hardships in rural areas, the bakery has also suffered shortages of butter and eggs from Ukrainian farms, requiring formula adjustments — sometimes daily — depending on what’s available. Imported ingredients are especially challenging, especially with the financial hardship the company is currently experiencing. All Wine Bureau shareholders are currently foregoing pay in lieu of purchasing raw materials and supporting workers.

Makievska has recently taken on the role of ingredient purchasing for the bakery, searching for available suppliers who could help provide the ingredients they were seeking, including attempting to procure Ukrainian flour donations for the free bread the bakery was making for volunteers and those in need.

That flour is extremely hard to come by, even domestically. The commodity’s price has skyrocketed amid the global supply crisis caused by the war.

“Logistics for these suppliers cost so much more, and this is something we cannot manage,” she said, noting how the fuel shortages have exacerbated the issue.

It’s a big reason why Bakehouse is still trying to import wherever possible. But the bakery is working to import needed materials amid the government’s wartime restrictions.

“We’ve had to negotiate with each and every supplier about how they could help,” Makievska said.

This story is Part 3 of a five-part series. In the next installment, Makievska explains the most specific needs the bakery has as it struggles to keep producing bread during the war. For information on how to support Bakehouse, visit the GoFundMe campaign, Bake For Ukraine, launched by Jonathan Przybyl, owner of Proof Bread in Mesa, AZ.