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Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Pivovarna

The next morning starts early and noisily, because a friendly forklift driver is moving the logs first to the left then to the right and in between cutting the grass.

I'm off to my next interview, to Pivovarna Union.

Mr Varsek, the technical director, greeted me kindly, and to my surprise, the interview is conducted entirely in German. Mr Varsek told me later that his language skills were down to a year he spent in Graz.

The company has been producing beer since 1864, using natural spring water from six wells located on the company’s own premises. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the subsequent decline of the beer market, the brewery re-structured strategically, expanding its product range to include still water, which ultimately becomes the basis for drinks of various flavours. Amongst the stretch blow-moulding machines there is a Sidel, whilst a KHS machines handles the filling and labelling side. Side by side with the beer in cans and glass there is the annual production and bottling of flavoured water drinks in PET bottles totalling 70 million units and bottle sizes of 0.5 and 1.5 litres, with a market share of 80% in Slovenia.

After a pleasant meal in the company canteen, I shoot a few final photos and take my leave, because I have another appointment shortly.

My next interview is a one hour drive away to Lasko and Pivovarna Lasko, which is the principal shareholder of Pivovarna Union. Unfortunately, a tight schedule and unpredictable traffic plays havoc with my planning, and by the time I arrive at the factory gates, my contact, Mr Miro Firm, has had to leave for another appointment. I content myself with taking a few photos of the premises.

Basking in the summer temperatures, I take the opportunity to do a bit of filing and put my paperwork into some sort of order. It’s time also to fill the Editourmobil water tanks. I take time off to admire the wonderful scenery which is very reminiscent of Northern Italy.

My next destination is an hour away, in Radenci, where I have a meeting tomorrow with the Radenska company, another member of the Pivovarna group. My satnav started to play up so I enlisted the help of a charming old lady who successfully pointed me in the right direction. At the second attempt (the first ended with me going wildly off course), I managed to find a convenient parking spot and a pleasant place to get my head down.