The news of the intention of the town of Žalec to erect a Green Gold fountain, dispensing beer instead of water, attracted attention outside of Slovenia as well. Not only Croatia and Serbia, but also the editorship of the British BBC found it interesting!
Thus BBC in their column “News From Elsewhere” published an article “Slovenian town goes ahead with beer fountain plan”. It reports about the plan of a small Slovenian town Žalec, known for its hop plantations, to build the first fountain in Europe which spouts beer instead of water. “The fountain does not yet have a completion date, but future visitors will find a variety of Slovenian beers on offer. Six euros will buy three helpings of two decilitres of different beers, served in a commemorative mug, intended for beer tasting,” they wrote.
Councillors are surprised by increase of prices
The author does not go into details, but these are not unambiguous. The fact is that not everybody in Žalec is in favour of the project, and that there are some complications. The municipal councillors of Žalec, on February 4 at the extraordinary session, discussed the construction of the Green Gold beer fountain, the start of which is planned for the beginning of April. The latest calculations show that the cost will be 376,000 euros, while the price agreed with the constructor, Remont from Celje, was 226,000 euros. In the municipality budget for 2015 the amount of 88,000 euros was allocated for the construction of the fountain, and 82,000 euros of non-refundable development aid are planned for this year. One half of the money will be collected through donors, Kos explained.
Trees will be sacrificed because of the fountain
STA reported that the mayor had to explain the reasons for the increase in price. Eight councillors had convened the session, claiming the value of the investment was only one of the reasons for their request for review of the decision in favour of construction of the fountain. The councillor Lojze Posedel said that the Beer Fountain project was initially estimated to 52,000 euros, but in the final document the amount is much higher, i.e. 376,000 euros. He also believes that the calculations on economic and financial viability are amateurish, and unrealistic, as the fountain would operate only eight months per year. Posedel finds the most disturbing the placement of the fountain in the city park, where some trees would have to be cut down. In his opinion the more suitable location for the fountain would be next to the Eco-Museum of Hop-Growing and Brewing Industry.
“The valley of the green gold”
The leaders of žalec envisioned that the fountain would play a role in beer tasting, thus reinforcing the position of the Savinjska valley on the tourist map of Slovenia. The fountain would have eight automatized dispensers for beer, and the visitors would be able to buy glass pitchers designed by the honorary citizen of Žalec Oskar Kogoj, and buy a desired numbers of tasting, two decilitres of beer for a tasting. The survey carried last year by the municipality of Žalec among 426 citizens showed that almost 90% of the respondents support the construction of the fountain.
Regardless of the end result – beer spouting fountain or not – the fact remains that the idea alone brought great promotion to Žalec (and Slovenia as a whole). The BBC article in the end explains that Žalec is situated in central Slovenia, known as “the valley of the green gold”, and that they paid tribute to hops by including its leaf into the yellow-green municipal coat-of-arms.
Source: rtvslo.si | A. P. J. | Translated by G. K.