Beer fountain in Žalec exceeds all expectations
Žalec, 19 September - A unique project of the Žalec municipality promoting the main activity of the region, which is growing hops and brewing beer, seems set to turn the town into a popular destination for beer lovers from near and far. Its beer fountain, which opened at the beginning of the month, is exceeding the municipality's expectations.
Although initially met with some scepticism, the idea of a beer fountain in the Žalec central park has made headlines across the world and became reality on 6 September.
Dubbed the Green Gold fountain to honour the value of hops for the region, the fountain, which immediately attracted attention of beer lovers, offers five types of beer.
Visitors first buy a special beer mug, designed by honorary citizen of Žalec Oskar Kogoj and made by the near-by Steklarna Hrastnik, for six euros. The mug contains a chip allowing its owner to get five decilitres of any beer offered by the fountain.
Žalec Mayor Janko Kos told the STA on Monday that the municipality had planned to sell 6,000 beer mugs a year, but the figure had already almost reached 10,000. 900 beer mugs are sold per day on average, he said.
"People are ordering beer mugs as business presents for New Year, some companies will give them to their business partners," he said.
Given the positive response to the project, the municipality is now in talks with tourist organisations and partner towns on how to expand the offering. "Žalec has a lot to offer, we just need to join our forces," the mayor said.
He also said that the demand for beer on one of the pipes had been so great that the beer had run out. "But this was quickly sorted out," he was quick to add.
The municipality is closely monitoring the popularity of the five types of beer and plans to replace one or two types so as to indulge visitors as much as possible. Three additional pipes are also planned.
"The fountain has also become a place where people socialise and some even get angry when we close the fountain at 9 PM, but we will not allow hard-drinking. The fountain is about the culture of drinking," he said.
The mayor also announced a big beer celebration on 1 October. The Octoberfest will feature a procession of hops producers, a wind orchestra and culinary delights. If the festival catches on, it will be stretched to several days next year, he promised.
The Žalec municipality contributed EUR 170,000 for the fountain, while EUR 180,000 came from various donors. The fountain will be open until the end of October and then again as of April next year.