BUSINESS IN SHORT

Slovaks like beer in plastic bottles

THE POPULARITY of plastic beer bottles has been growing in Slovakia. Last year, during which plastic maxi bottles were introduced, drinkers bought almost 9 million litres of beer in them. Sales in the bottles during the first five months of 2008 totalled more than 20 million litres, the Pravda daily wrote.

THE POPULARITY of plastic beer bottles has been growing in Slovakia. Last year, during which plastic maxi bottles were introduced, drinkers bought almost 9 million litres of beer in them. Sales in the bottles during the first five months of 2008 totalled more than 20 million litres, the Pravda daily wrote.

In late June, the biggest brewery in Slovakia, Heineken Slovensko, opened a new bottling line in Hurbanovo which can fill maxi bottles at a rate of 30,000 litres per hour.

The growth in demand has surprised merchants. One COOP Jednota supermarket in Bratislava's Petržalka district reported that a fifth of beer is now sold in the plastic bottles, suggesting that this kind of packaging is catching up with canned beer, sales of which account for around a third of the total.

“For now glass bottles, with a 48-percent share, dominate but the success of plastic bottles will continue,” Adrián Ďurček, the chairman of COOP Jednota Bratislava told the daily. He ascribes their success to the fact that consumers do not need to pay a Sk4 deposit (as with glass bottles) and do not have to return them to the shop to recover the deposit. There is normally no difference between the price of glass- and plastic-bottled beer; both are cheaper than canned beer.

Heineken has invested €6 million in its new bottling line in Hurbanovo.

"We are expecting to use the line to fill beer in maxi bottles for the Austrian and Polish markets, where we are now testing sales,“ Roman Krajniak, Heineken spokesperson, told the daily. Maxi bottles have already become a hit in Croatia and Russia.

Heineken plans to invest Sk500 million in Slovakia this year, increasing its total investments in the country to over Sk6 billion.

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