Czech Republic, in 2004, was announced as the highest beer consuming country per capita in the world, consuming approximately 248 standard 633-milliliter bottles, for a total of 1,878 kiloliters and 156. 9 liters per capita volume, according to a report by the Kirin Research Institute of Drinking and Lifestyle (2005). Not only this, the country has established the first beer museum in the world, the first beer brewing textbook, and its president the first to have written a play based on his experiences working in a Czech beer brewery in 1974 AD (Cesky Rozhlas, n. d. ).
Although it was also reported that the country has decreased the bottles by 3. 2 yearly, “environment and conditions for beer drinking are improving [and] the average beer consumption in the Czech Republic has been rather stable for more than 30 years with 158-165 liters per inhabitant” (Bechtin, 2007). In addition, it was also noted that customers are shifting attention from beer drinking to putting style in beer culture. Thus, pubs and restaurants has risen to 35 thousand in the past 10 years, and people are starting buy the “environment” more than the “beer” (Bechtin, 2007).
The beer started in Bohemia as early as 859 AD when hops are cultivated in the region and exported since 903 AD (Cesky Rozhlas, n. d. ). The foundation charter for the Vysehrad Church in 1088 first mentioned brewing in the Czech territories when Vratislav II, the first Czech king, decreed hops tithe to the Church. Considering hops as prized possession continued even with King Wenceslas, as he announced death penalty for exporting them outside the country. King Wenceslas then was eventually named the Good King for convincing the Pope to revoke banning brewery.
In fact, when he established the town of New Plzen in the Redbuza River in 1307, he “granted 260 citizens rights to brew beer and sell it from their houses” (Smagalski, 2008). As such, Czech beer remained to be a popular beverage throughout the country, but the art of cultivating beer started with Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, when he ordered cultivation of Burgundy grape vines in Bohemia. Although brewery started in individual houses for personal consumption, a cooperative central brewery was first conceptualized and established as early as 1118 in Cerhenice as the demand for beer grew and was recognized.
The demand continued to rise as the beverage was exported in the international community and royalties began to cling for it as a healthy substitute for other beverages. For instance, Emperor Rudolf’s personal physician wrote a treatise for the beer upon recognizing its healthy and helpful effects. Communism also helped in establishing “beer drinking as perhaps the single most popular hobby among Czech men” (Cesky Rozhlas, n. d. ) for under this government, beer was very cheap and legal.
Although the communists failed to contribute in the art of brewery and doubled its prizes in 1984, 99% of Czechs still consider beer a natural part of the Czech culture according to a survey by AISA Agency (Bechtin, 2007). Breweries in the Czech Republic is basically divided into central, north, south, east and west Bohemia, and north and south Maravia. The following list of breweries from Central Bohemia were collected from Project Beer Culture in Cesky Rozhlas web site (n. d. ). 1. ) Pivovar Herold, Breznice was founded in 1506 by Zdenek Malovec.
It annually produces 30,000 hl of beer and exports their products in Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Cuba. It produced in 1993 the first 12% wheat beer known as the Hefe Weizen, which won second place in the PIVEX Gold Cup in 1995 and in 1999. Aside from this, the brewery offers Herold 8% light beer, 10% light, 10% semi-dark, 12% light, and 13% dark beer. The latter beer won first prize in the dark beer category by an independent panel of experts and journalists at the Great International Beer Festival in Stockholm in 1996.
In addition, Breznice’s 13% dark beer was declared as the the “Best Dark Beer in the World” by Swedish newspapers. 2. ) Pivovarsky Dvur was founded in 1992 by Miroslav Hojda. It annually produces 2,000 hl of Dvorni 10% light and dark, and Granat 12% lager. It is known as the smallest brewery in the Czech Republic that provides beer to the government and the parliament. It was awarded first place among beers by the rew of the Zemak campaign bus during the 1996 Senate elections. A certificate signed by Milos Zeman, chairman of the Social Democrats, is displayed inside the restaurant.
3. ) Pivovar Klaster was founded in 1570 by Jiri Labunsky of Labun. It annually produces 50,000 to 100,000 hl of Klaster 8% light, 10% light and dark, and 12% light beers, which are exported to Germany, Russia, and some republics in the former Soviet Union. The brewery is known for its underground beer cellars cut directly into the rock. 4. ) Kralovsky Pivovar Krusovice was founded in 1581, but was purchased by Emperor Rudolf II for the Czech Crown in 1583. It was associated with the Krivoklat estate, with Binding Brauerei AG Frankfurt as its major shareholder.
In 1996, it was recorded to have produced 740,000 hl of 10% light and dark beers, and 12% light lager, which are exported mainly to Germany. It has tripled in quantity for the last four years, and has regularly delivered beer to Vaclav Havel during his presidency in the Czech Republic. 5. ) Pivovar Velke Popovice was founded in 1874 by Frantisek Ringhoffer. It annually produces 600,000 hl of Velkopopovicky Kozel 10% light and dark beer, Velkopopovicky Kozel 12%, 14% dark, and Velkopopovicky Kozel non-alcoholic beer, which are exported to Slovakia, Russia, Finland, Austria, Sweden, and the USA. 6.
) Prvni Novomestsky Restauracni Pivovar was founded in 1993 by Novomestsky Pivovar. It manufactures 11% light and dark yeast lager, and is particularly known of its ambiance reminiscent of “Old Prague. ” 7. ) Pivovar Ferdinand, Benesov was founded in 1897 by Archduke Francis Ferdinand D’Este. It annually produces 175,000 hl of Ferdinand 8%, 10% and 12% light and 11% dark beers, Rytir light beer, and Staroceske Pivo 10% and 12% light beers, which are exported to Ukraine, Russia, Belorussia, Moldavia, Lithuania, Germany, Italy, Spain, and to Holland during summer that makes up 3. 5% of the sales.
The Congress of Czech Brewers was launched here on May 6, 1938. 8. ) Pivovar Lorec Kutna Hora was founded in 1573 by Vaclav Dacicky of Heslov, brother of the famous Mikulas Dacicky. It annually produces 200,000 hl of Lezak Dacicky 12% light, Kutnohorske Svetle Vycepni Pivo 10% light drought beer, Knutnohorsky Havir 10% dark, Knutnohorske Lehke Pivo light beer, Old Bohemia Beer 10% and 12% light, and Lorec 14% special light beer, which is served only during Christmas season. The brewery exports to Russia, Lithuania, Italy and Ukraine, and supplies beer to the Dvoracky chalet in Krkonose.
It is famous for having its own well for beer production. 9. ) Pivovar Nymburk was founded in 1895 as a cooperative of townspeople with brewing privilege. Today, it is owned by Pivovary Bohemia Praha, and annually produces 150,000 hl of Doktorova 8% light, Pepinova 10% light, Tmave Pivo 10% dark, Zlatovar 11% light, and Frantinuv Lezak 12% lager, which are exported to England, Spain, Italy, France, Albania, Ukraine, and Russia. Writer Bohumil Hrabal spent his youth at the brewery when his father became the manager from 1935 to 1951.
The novel “Postriziny” was based on his life at the brewery and may spell out the origin of the label “Postrizinska” in all the bottles served. Like Pivovar Lorec Kutna Hora, it is famous for its own 40 meter-deep artesian well. 10. ) Pivovar Podkovan was founded in 1434 by Lord Bohus of the Kovan Estate. It annually produces 8% and 10% light beers, 12% light lager, 14% holiday light lager, 10% dark, Dia low-sugar beer, and non-alcoholic beer, which are exported to Sweden, Germany, and Poland.
Aside from brewing, it bottles Aqua Plus water, which is suitable for newborn babies, even without boiling. 11. ) Prazske Pivovary was founded in 1898 by the Prague brewers. It annually produces 2,620,000 hl of 10% Branik and 12% Branik lager, and the only brewery to process the beer yeast waste and to prepare a multi-vitamin called Pangamin from it. After extensive reconstruction, the brewery is now the most modern operation of its type in the Czech Republic. 12. ) Pivovar Staropramen was founded in 1869 as a joint-stock brewery.
It produces 10% light Staropramen, 12% light lager, and Dia, which are exported to Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, USA, and Austria. Emperor Francis Joseph I in 1880 was the first to sign in the guest book reserved for famous visitors, where the Duke of Edinburgh also signed in during the state visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the Czech Republic in March of 1996. It is currently the main sponsor of the Extraliga ice hockey league. “Beer is ingrained in Czech culture so much that the beer industry is considered a part of the national heritage” (Prague. net, 2008).
Patriotic claim over its history is the primary and the most obvious reason why foreign breweries failed to compete against the Czech beers since 1989 (Prague. net, 2008; Cesky Rozhlas, n. d. ). Songs praising beers have penetrated the Czech patriotic song books, and beers served as the typical theme of literature and journalism in the country (Vinopal, n. d. ). Czech also prefer to drink beer at pubs rather than at homes, perhaps the main reason behind the rise of pubs and restaurants in the country, and the increasing demand over style and ambiance.
Furthermore, most Czechs believe that drinking beer is best associated with eating the national cuisine, and that beer tastes better in bottles than in cans (Cesky Rozhlas, n. d. ). Despite the common stereotype on Czech, some citizens generate shameful and untoward feelings over the claim that Czechs are known to be drinkers as proven by its national history in the country. Yet, the fact remains that the Czechs are generally proud of it, and the identity brought about by the beer, whether shameful or positive in nature, gives fuel to the stable demand for more beers, whether locally or internationally.
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