Renovated historic Czech breweries get back into the brews
By Jan Flemr, AFPUNETICE, Czech Republic--Rising from the ashes after closure or near-collapse, historic Czech breweries are getting back on tap with new owners seeking to tickle the taste buds of beer lovers with new flavors.
February 26, 2013, 12:15 am TWN
Along with a wave of new microbreweries, these revamped elders — many with several hundred years of beer-making under their belts — are offering an alternative to the Czech Republic's world-famous trademark bottom-fermented lagers in a market cornered by the multinationals.
With beer drinking harking back more than 2,000 years and with their oldest brewery dating from 993, Czechs are proud of their national tipple which in most pubs is cheaper than bottled water.
They rank as the world's keenest beer drinkers, having guzzled 145 liters of the tipple per head in 2011, according to industry statistics.
First opened in 1710, the Unetice brewery just north of the capital Prague spent six decades mothballed after it was closed in 1951, three years after the Communists took over.
Now, thanks to a husband and wife team, who are using their experience gained from working in a large brewery, the suds are back.
“We took a walk through the village and saw the building with a sign saying 'brewery,'” said Lucie Tkadlecova, who runs the brewery with her partner.
They snapped up the vast facility tucked away in a valley with the help of investors, equipped it with cutting-edge technology and expect to turn a profit next year.
Unetice turned out almost 6,000 hectoliters of beer in 2012. Tkadlecova said the brewery, currently employing just six people, should ultimately produce 10,000 hectoliters of nonfiltered and specialty beer annually.