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Higher consumption of alcohol-free beer draws investment to eastern Slovakia

Czech brewery is investing into expanding the Slovak brewery in Veľký Šariš.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: Gabriel Kuchta, SME)

The Czech brewery Plzeňský Prazdroj is investing €4.4 million into expanding beer production in eastern Slovakia to satisfy increasing demand. Apart from the enhancement of the existing beer can filling line and bottling line, it will build a new filtering line in the Pivovar Sariš brewery in Veľký Šariš. With this investment it is responding to significant changes the beer market has undergone recently.

“The preferences of clients are significantly moving towards flavoured alcohol-free beers,” said Grant Liversage, general director of Plzeňský Prazdroj. “This has become the most dynamically growing category in the last year when it reported an annual 20-percent increase.”

The expansion of the beer can filling line will cost €2.1 million when its monthly capacity increases by one third to 22,000 hectolitres. The new filtering line will cost €1.7 million and the company wants to use the remaining €600,000 to replace machines on the bottling line.

“Thanks to the investment in the beer can filling line, we will increase the efficiency of our production while maintaining all jobs,” said Ján Čerkala, manager of Pivovar Šariš.

The beer can filling line will be expanded next January while it should be in full operation from the end of February. The capacity of the current line is used at 90 percent with a plan of 95 percent for the next year.

Apart from its own beer brands Šariš, Topvar and Smädný Mních, Pivovar Šariš brews Birell alcohol-free beers under licensed production. The extended beer can filling line will be used for filling cans measuring 0.4, 0.5 and 0.55 litres destined for the Slovak and Hungarian markets.

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