My dearest friends and devoted followers. I have a confession to make. My poor laptop that was purchased by the good grace of the earliest Molly Rose supporters WAS STOLEN. It was taken from me in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. I must also admit that I was not overly phased by the situation (travel insurance covered the loss) and I still thoroughly enjoyed Slovenia.
A small country wedged in between Austria, Italy, Croatia and Hungary, Slovenia has a long and proud history as well as a fantastic culture of food and drink. When I asked a local whether she enjoyed traditional Slovenian food her response was one of the best I have heard: “Slovenians, we are a very hungry people. We eat a lot”.
A normal Slovenian dinner consists of meat, potatoes and bread. The meal is usually served with local wine and bookended with local schnapps. When eating the hearty local fare, you can imagine that this is how people in the area have been eating for centuries. Despite the long-time emphasis on brilliant food in Slovenia, for many years there were only two beers available. One came in a red can and the other in a green can. The noticeable distinction ends there.
That was until an Australian decided that he would like to help grow a craft beer industry in Slovenia. Matt launched Human Fish Brewing in 2008 and was the first craft brewery in Slovenia. His beers are excellent and the passion that he and his team have for growing craft beer in Slovenia is admirable. To literally introduce a country to craft beer and help pave the way for 25+ local craft brands in less than 10 years is a brilliant achievement and doesn’t come without a lot of hard work. They help build and run home brew clubs, they tour beer festivals tirelessly, they run regular educational events at pubs and bars and they install tap systems and share them with other craft brewers. It is no mistake that the Slovenian craft beer scene is thriving, growing and making some cracking craft beer.
The people in Slovenia have not moved as far away from village production most of the rest of the world. Local farmers, local butchers, local bakers and local grocers are just a part of life and not some new locavore movement so it is no surprise that craft beer made in an old dairy down the road would be accepted as a part of a town’s fabric. Unfortunately for craft brewers in Slovenia their product is almost twice the price of the red or green cans of macro lager. Human Fish overcome this by opening up a bar in their brewery a few days a week so that their loyal, local customers can come and grab a growler fill and a pint at an affordable and almost comparable price.
If there is a lesson that I learnt from hanging out and talking beer with Matt and his team in Slovenia, it is that with a great attitude, great beer and a genuine company from top to bottom you can easily overcome any hurdles you might be facing.