Styria is the centre of the iron trade in Austria, and, as in other ironworking areas in Europe, beer was at the centre of the region’s social life. It is claimed that the Gősser brewery in Leoben originated in 1010 ad when a Benedictine abbey was established in the city. Certainly brewing has a long history in the locality, but while the brewery occupies buildings that were once part of the abbey, they date only from the 1860s. Gösser became one of the biggest breweries in Austria. It started to export beer in bottles in the 1920s and by the 1970s it produced near a million bottles a year.
The brewery museum – which they call the ‘Gösseum’ – is entered through a modern glass extension. It explains the tradition of brewing in the area since the Middle Ages as well as the history of the Gösser company. Displays explain how beer is made and display advertising and bottles. A surprising item on display is a biplane with a beer advertisement on the side. Visitors have a tour of the brewery and – of course – an opportunity to taste the beer.