27 May 2011

Boom and resurrections

The number of micro breweries in the Czech Rep. is now comfortably over 100. There are 107, according to what I heard on Monday, and it might be that by the time you are reading this, that figure will already be outdated. Only four years ago there weren't even 50.

Of course, not everything is rosy, there are a couple of worrying signs. The other day I read (without paying that much attention, I must confess) a report that talked about a shortage of qualified brewers, which, if true, could slow down the boom.

But that's not the worst, I've heard several comments about the substandard quality of the beers of several new breweries. I have myself come across beers that leave a bit to be desired, they are too green or boring or simply not all that well made. But at the same time, I believe that in a market such as this one, the problem is more the breweries' than the consumers' because if they aren't able to sort things out fairly quickly, they won't last too long.

But aside of that, the news is generally good and it's also gratifying to see the resurgent tradition of a brewery in each town, more so when some of them are actually coming back from the dead, as is the case with two whose products will soon be back on the market.

The first is the one that's been dead the longest and at the same time, is the one that I'm most excited about because it will be the nearest brewery from my place. After more than six decades Unětický Pivovar is brewing once again.

The building dates from 1710 and it functioned as a brewery until the Communist nationalised it at the end of the 1940's. According to the records, at some point it was producing more than 20.000hl/year and its beers could be found in many of the nearby villages and even in Prague.

After Pivovary Praha n.p. liquidated it, the building was used as storage of several kinds of goods. Fortunately, it didn't suffer the same fate as others of its kind (it wasn't turned into "luxury flats" or demolished) and the current owners decided to give it the use it was originally built for, brewing.

Their plans are quite ambitious, the aim to produce 10.000hl a year, and their beers, both filtered and unfiltered, will be available from June 11 either at the brewery's tap or at other pubs in the village. I hope they will follow the steps of their ancestors and soon their distribution will be extended to the neighbouring towns.

The second brewery is the one that is closer to my heart. Pivovar Podkovaň was closed down a bit more than three years ago. At that time the owners, a Russian company, if I remember correctly, said it was only for some renovations, but everyone knew the truth. I really liked the Podkovaň beers, I used to buy them to drink at home and that's why I was very glad when I head earlier this year that brewing was going to be resumed. I'm really looking forward to drinking them again, I hope they will honour the memory I have of them.

It seems that the beers from the Dolní Cetno brewery will see the light in Prague this 14 June at 6 with a presentation at Pivovarský Klub.

I wish both breweries success. Dej Bůh Štěstí!

Na Zdraví!

Travel to the Czech Republic and stay at the best Prague Hotels

1 comment:

  1. This is really good news. After years of consolidation (and sometimes loss of quality), the great Czech brewing tradition seems to be reviving and I, for one, cannot wait to try some of the new places described in your post when traveling next time in the Czech Republic. Thanks, and drink well!

    H.J. Werlen, PA - USA

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