It looks like something out of a science-fiction film, this gigantic factory perched right atop Roshi mountain and surrounded by more mountain ranges. The factory is owned by Lajthiza, Albania’s biggest mineral water producer. It was on this mountain in the north-east of Albania that Hajri Elezaj, founder and managing director of Lajthiza, discovered a mountain spring with ultra-pure water which is naturally filtered by its passage through magmatic rock. That was 1999 and it marked the start of the family-owned company’s success story. The water reaches the factory purely by gravitational pull – no pumps needed – which means that Lajthiza fills still and carbonated mineral water directly from the spring.
The company has steadily upsized its factory over the past few years. The water is taken down to the valley, and material transported up to the factory, on a winding mountain road with more than 3,000 bends. Sustainability is very important for the company. Lajthiza produces both preforms and closures in-house, so that they don’t have to be transported over long distances. Any bottles and preforms rejected during production are recycled and fed back into the manufacturing process. Moreover, the company employs returnable gallon bottles that can be re-used up to twelve times. Lajthiza sells its water in Albania and other countries like Kosovo and North Macedonia. Demand for it is huge, and the company intends to increase exports – Lajthiza still has many big plans.