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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

Ten Green Bottles (well, 9.5 in this pic) - KesterTester106

Updated: Oct 28

It's tough these days setting KesterTesters, what with all the googling gadgets some of you get up to using. But I don't think that will work with KT 106, at least, I hope not.

Photo: Not hanging on a wall, but (I presume) these green bottles are about to come off the production line - holding Pilsner Urquell beer. Courtesy Plzeňský Prazdroj.

OK, this KT will be down to some guess work, but you can think about the populations involved, perhaps, and do some rough sums?

Back in September and after a visit to the site, I was working on two stories on Budapest's Dreher Brewery. Along the way, the subject of returnable bottles came up, not only in Hungary, but across the region – or at least, in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

(Dreher is part of the Japanese Asahi Group, along with sister breweries in both Slovakia and Czech Republic, which operate under the company name Plzeňský Prazdroj – that is Pilsner Brewery – which is why they co-operate so readily.)

The reason, as I noted in the first story, was because both Hungary's northern neighbouring countries sell a greater proportion of returnable bottles than do the retailers here, it seems largely because the respective countries' environmental laws encourage the discount retailers to sell beer in returnable bottles – which is not the case in Hungary, at least as of now.

Plzeňský Prazdroj communication's department were very helpful for this story, and among the numbers they sent me was that for the total returnable bottles in circulation, a number that surprised me.

So, that is the challenge for this week's KesterTester – though I will help you with a variety of numbers to choose from.

What is the total number of returnable beer bottles in circulation sold by Pilsner Brewery?

Is it: a) 800,000, b) 1.6 million, c) 8 million, d) 16 million, d) 80 million, or e) 160 million?

I should perhaps leave this for another clue, but my soft heart can't help but mention that Pilsner Brewery doesn't just sell Pilsner Urquell, that's just their flagship product. (Or, as one of their experts modestly told me on a press visit to Plzeň some years ago: “This is the best beer in the world. This is not a subjective opinion, it's a fact.” He argued this based by saying that they use the mash three times or something, like that, I forget exactly. Anyway, no other beer brand does that, he said.)

Of course, some of their returnable bottles make it to Hungary, Poland and other nearby countries (from which probably a smaller proportion return) but I suspect the vast majority remain in the original land of their birth, ie Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Right – guesstimate away. (Please answer via the website messaging system, or if by email, put KT106 in the subject line.)

And while you ponder the answers, you can read the stories I did for the BBJ while you are thinking – this is tourist-type piece on the Dreher Beer Museum, which came out earlier this month.

This piece came out in September, as a business profile of Dreher.

Oh yes, I know I haven't given the answers to KT105 yet, so you can still enter for that one. I'll aim to do the draw for that some time next week.

Meanwhile, have a great sleuth!

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