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Encouraging people to talk beer

ŠARIŠ Brewery launched an educational association for friends of beer on March 30 - the Orosený krígeľ (Frosted Beer Mug), which aims to promote, teach about, and support beer culture throughout Slovakia. Open to newcomers, the association's first meeting discussed the figures posted by the Slovak beer market and introduced new glasses for the Czech beer Pilsner Urquell.
"The basic mission of this association is to improve the culture of drinking beer in Slovakia," said Drahomíra Jančovičová, a PR specialist at the Šariš Brewery, Corp, which belongs to the Plzeň (Pilsner) Prazdroj group owned by the international SABMiller Brewery, the second largest beer conglomerate in Slovakia after Heineken Slovensko.

ŠARIŠ Brewery launched an educational association for friends of beer on March 30 - the Orosený krígeľ (Frosted Beer Mug), which aims to promote, teach about, and support beer culture throughout Slovakia. Open to newcomers, the association's first meeting discussed the figures posted by the Slovak beer market and introduced new glasses for the Czech beer Pilsner Urquell.

"The basic mission of this association is to improve the culture of drinking beer in Slovakia," said Drahomíra Jančovičová, a PR specialist at the Šariš Brewery, Corp, which belongs to the Plzeň (Pilsner) Prazdroj group owned by the international SABMiller Brewery, the second largest beer conglomerate in Slovakia after Heineken Slovensko.

According to Roman Šusták, the chairman of the Slovak Union of Beer and Malt Producers and the honorary president of the newly founded association, Slovakia is a traditional beer country. "We are among the top 10 in beer consumption per capita and our beer is comparable with beer products around the world. That's why education in this field is important for the development of the Slovak brewing industry."

Currently, Slovakia boasts 60 different beers made in the country's 10 major breweries, as well as six to eight "mini" breweries.

Since the 1980s, when the trend of lowering the specific gravity of beer (which measures the amount of malt prior to fermentation) eventually stabilised at a maximum of 12 degrees Plato, consumption had been on the rise. By 2002 each Slovak poured 94 litres of beer down his or her throat in a year, which placed Slovakia eigth on the world beer chart. The largest consumer in 2002 was the Czech Republic (160 litres), followed by Germany, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Great Britain, and Belgium.

"However, the 2003 increase of excise taxes caused a 3.9 percent drop year-on-year. In the period from August to December, production decreased at an average of more than 10 percent a month," Šusták said, expressing optimism that beer lovers would again find their way to the drink.

The informal Orosený krígeľ association will enhance this through regular meetings that provide education on all aspects concerning beer production, support, and consumption. Jančovičová said: "By founding the association, we want people to talk more about beer."

For more information on the association and on joining the club, visit www.saris.sk, or write to oroseny.krigel@saris.sabmiller.com.

- Zuzana Habšudová

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