Žalec beer fountain sells 200,000th pint
The celebratory mug at the Green Gold Fountain won Jaka and Janja from the area of Kranj two more complimentary pints of the brew as well as a commemorative certificate, presented by Žalec Mayor Janko Kos.
Situated in a central Slovenian town that is surrounded by hop fields, the fountain has been seeing fewer visitors this year due to the pandemic, most markedly the absence of bus-loads of foreign and domestic beer lovers.
Still, the head of the local tourism board, Boštjan Štrajhar, finds the footfall satisfactory, considering the situation. The amount of beer sold in July was down 12% compared with the same period last year.
Apart from individual visitors, there have been quite many families, Štrajhar told reporters, adding that 90% of the visitors are from Slovenia.
Since the fountain reopened in May this year, it has sold 10,000 mugs of beer. Since its launch, the visitors have poured themselves 115,000 litres of beer.
They have had the opportunity to taste the brews of 70 Slovenian microbreweries. This year alone, 27 different beers are available from 20 Slovenian brewers.
Slovenia is the fifth largest hop producer in the world with one in 12 pints of beer worldwide made from Slovenian hops. The country has more than 100 brewers, most of them micro ones.
The oldest written records testifying to the brewing of beer in the country date back to 1160. Pivovarna Laško, the country's largest brewer, owned by Heineken since 2015, was established in 1825.
According to Alenka Lesjak of the Slovenian Brewers' Association, Slovenia exports about 790,000 hectolitres of beer or EUR 35 million worth a year, most to Croatia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Hungary.
Small brewers produce almost 30,000 hectolitres of beer with craft breweries having a market share of less than 5%.
National statistics from 2018 show that Slovenia imported EUR 28.5 million worth of beer, while data from the National Institute of Public Health suggest an average Slovenian over the age of 15 consumed 92 litres of beer in 2017.