The town of Žalec in eastern Slovenia unveiled Europe’s first beer fountain on Tuesday. Hundreds of beer enthusiasts flocked to the town for the grand inauguration, which involved a light show and dramatic music.
Sadly, the fountain isn’t the free-flowing cascade of frothing ale that beer fans might have been hoping for. Instead, the fountain, which is located in the town centre next to the market, has a semicircular design, symbolic of a hop flower, with eight taps that dispense different beers.
Drinkers pay €6 for a special microchipped glass that allows them to pour themselves 100-millilitre portions of five beers. The glass is placed under the nozzle of the pump, which extends down into the bottom of the glass, dispensing the serving of beer before retracting again. The beers on offer include Laško’s Kukec dark beer, Kratochwill honey light beer and Vizir IPA.
According to the town’s mayor Janko Kos, ‘the point is not letting people get drunk here, we want to promote the culture of drinking beer.’ He hopes that the new fountain, which was originally proposed in 2014, will put Žalec on the tourist map and draw beer lovers from across the world to the town, which is the hop-growing centre of Slovenia. Surrounded by fields of hop plantations, the town is already home to Eko Musej, a museum dedicated to hops, which offers hop picking demonstrations and beer tastings.
Cheers! Or ‘Na zdravje!’, as they say in Slovenian!