STA, 26 October 2021 - The country's largest beer maker Pivovarna Laško Union will no longer make beer in Ljubljana. It has decided to move the production to Laško due to an outdated cooling system at the Ljubljana facility. It is not clear yet how this will affect staff. The packaging and logistics activities will continue at the Pivovarna Union facility in the capital.
The decision on the move was based on a security assessment of the 35-year-old cooling system at Pivovarna Union, which showed that the system was no longer appropriate for use and could pose a significant security risk in the future, Pivovarna Laško Union says on its website.
Thus, the part of production linked to the cooling system needs to be suspended. "As a result, the brewing and fermentation of Union beer will be transferred to our brewery in Laško, where we expect production to start no later than January 2022," the company said.
The change will not affect the product portfolio or the Union trade mark.
Packaging and logistics will still be conducted at the Ljubljana facilities. There will also be no changes to the production of non-alcoholic beverages and water, or the management, the Pivnica Union bar or the Union Experience museum.
"The transfer of part of the brewery's production to Laško will enable our further growth and development, as the existing location in the city centre of Ljubljana currently limits this," the beer maker added.
While it is not clear how the move of the part of production will affect employees, Pivovarna Laško Union asserted that the affected staff "will be treated with due respect".
According to the company's head of communication, Alenka Rozman, 145 people are currently employed at the supply chain of the Ljubljana brewery, 18 of whom in brewing and fermentation, which is being moved to Laško.
But she said it was too early to say how many will be affected by the move. "We will look into all the possibilities to limit those effects - such as transfer to other units, possibly even to Laško, or potential early retirements."
The head of the in-house trade union, Andreja Sojer, said the employees were disappointed at the decision to move part of the production and expected layoffs, but could not say yet how many.
"As you will have heard it's due to a security risk, which would require an investment. It's up to the owner to opt for investment or not. In this case they did not opt for one. The employees are extremely disappointed," said Sojer.
The company said earlier it wanted to preserve as many members of the staff as possible to "make sure consumers still get the iconic Union beer made by the same recipe that they have been used to all these years".
In Ljubljana, a centre for innovation and a small city brewery will be set up to serve as a centre for development, testing and tasting of new Union beers and an upgrade of the Union Experience.
Pivovarna Laško Union is part of the Heineken group. The Dutch company acquired the Slovenian brewery in 2016.