Pivovarna Laško Union, 100% owned by Heineken and the largest beverage producer in Slovenia that operates two breweries in the country, announced today to stop beer production at its Union Brewery in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana. Within the next three months, the brewing process will be transferred to Heineken's other brewery in Laško, about 80km north-east of the capital.
“This decision is the result of a preventive independent safety assessment of the 35-year-old refrigeration system at Union Brewery, which showed that it is no longer suitable for operation and could pose a significant safety risk in the future. As a result, we unfortunately have to stop the part of production that is tied to the cooling system in question. Thus, the brewing and fermentation of Union beer will be transferred to our brewery in Laško,” the statement reads.
The packaging and logistics activities of Union beer will remain at its current location in Ljubljana. The production of soft drinks and water and the administrative and corporate functions are also not affected and will remain where they are. The same applies to the Union Pub and the Union Experience Museum.
“The change will not affect the product portfolio or the Union brand,” but “the impact of the transfer of part of production on employees has not yet been precisely determined,” the company said. The Ljubljana site currently employs 145 people and 18 of them are working in the field of brewing and fermentation, which is moving to Laško, according to communications manager Alenka Rozman.
“The heart and roots of Union brand brewing will always remain in the city of Dragon and in the existing location,” Heineken said. In order to ensure this, the company will establish an innovation center and a small city brewery that “will serve as a hub for the development, testing and tasting of new Union beers and will seek to upgrade the Union Experience experience that remains at this location.”
In 2015, Heineken acquired a majority stake in Pivovarna Laško that 10 years earlier already acquired a majority stake in Pivovarna Union. In 2016, Heineken merged the two companies and formed Pivovarna Laško Union that is today 100% owned by the Dutch company.