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The brewery dates back to the 16th century when the Thurzos family owned the Bytca estate. The only evidence we have that there was a brewery there comes from the property’s inventory document. In Latin, it states “Here is a brewery”. The estate was taken over by the Esterházy family who controlled the property until the 1860s when it was sold to timber mogul, Leopold Popper. The estate, including a castle and the brewery, stayed in the Popper family for 100 years.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the brewery was forced to update its technologies or be left behind. Steam technology was replaced by electric. Business was going well until World War II, when production slowed down considerably. This setback lasted longer than the war. Competition became fierce and Popper had to fight to stay alive. Things didn’t turn around until a Slovak bank became the majority owner. They modernized equipment and the brewery expanded its production to 80,000 hectalitres a year.
When the war ended the brewery was nationalized. It joined the organization Central Breweries and Soft Drink Factories N.P. and production increased through the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Currently, the brewery is controlled by the Slovak Society. The company has gone through a bit of an image change, updating their marketing but still producing traditional, classically mulled beer.
Posted in Breweries and tagged beer, breweries, history, pivo, popper, slovakia by The Beermaster with no comments yet.
The history of beer in the Banska Bystrica region dates back to the 1500s when the town was booming due to the plethora of copper they were pulling out of the local mines. It is believed that colonizing Germans first brought beer to the area. By the 17th century, over 80 breweries were established. When the guild system broke down, what’s now known as Banskobysticky Brewery was built. It was one of the quickest breweries to expand and started shipping beer as far as Budapest and Vienna. Although the equipment was old fashioned and all of the brewing was done by hand, they were able to produce 5,000 hectolitres of beer a year.
In 1942, the brewery was taken over by Jan Benus, who updated the brewing equipment and, within two years, brought the brewing capacity up to 20,000 hectolitres.
In 1968, Banskobystricky Brewery began construction on a new brewery. Three years later, the Urpin Brewery was complete. It was capable of producing 350,000 hectolitres of beer per year. The problem was, the demand wasn’t that high as foreign beers were rapidly coming into the market. The company struggled but has since gained a solid foothold in the brewing industry. In 2007, the company invested over 2 million euros into modernizing its brewing technology. They are now growing their business and can proudly say that they did it without any foreign capital. They are truly a Slovak brand.
Posted in Breweries and tagged beer, brewery, history, slovakia, urpiner by The Beermaster with no comments yet.
Founded in 1967, Zlaty Bazant (Golden Pheasant) Brewery was built in Hurbanovo. The location was carefully chosen because of it’s warm climate (the warmest in Slovakia) and its altitude (about 115 metres about sea level). These conditions made it ideal for growing hops. Furthermore, the water in the area is plentiful and of excellent quality. Production began in 1969 and it didn’t take long for the brewery to build a market. Having the newest brewing technology and high quality ingredients, allowed the brewery to penetrate the global market. In 1971 they became the first beer company in Eastern Europe to package their beer in cans. This transformation required a lot of work and ultimately resulted in the decision to become a joint stock company. In 1995, the company merged with Heineken. This helped them expand further internationally and allowed them to update their malting house. Other Slovak brewers were purchased by Heineken and their productions was moved to the brewery in Hurbanovo. Today Hurbanovo has one of the largest malting operations in Europe with much of it being exported across the world.
Posted in Breweries and tagged beer, brewery, heineken, history, hurbanovo, slovakia, zlaty bazant by The Beermaster with 1 comment.
Slovakia’s oldest brewery was built in 1473 by the Knights Templar in the Banska Bystrica region. This turned out to be a good choice of location, as over the years the brewery would find success selling to the miners that dominated the work force of the area. Miners in the area often refer to beer as liquid bread and they often drank it while they worked.
Since 1473, the brewery has undergone many rebuilds and changed owners several times. Production went up and down, depending on the times. During times of war, sales would increase, however, during the German occupation in World War II Jaroslav Raiman, the director of operations was killed and many of the workers were arrested. This put a halt on production until December of 1944 when the brewery slowly started making beer again. During the communist era, more people drank beer and business peaked. In 1958 they sold 280-300 thousand hectoliters. It wasn’t until 2004 that the brewery became what it is today. The name Steiger Pivovar was adopted in April of 2006 and it became the companies main brand of beer. In 2007, Stein brewery moved their production from Bratislava, the countries capital, to the Steiger brewery. Steiger Brewery currently represent only 6-10% of the beer sales in Slovakia.
Posted in Breweries and tagged beer, brewery, history, pivo, slovak, slovakia, steiger by The Beermaster with 6 comments.
In 1964, the Šariš brewery was built and it quickly became the largest brewery and the largest exporter of beer in Slovakia. As business boomed, Saris expanded. They started producing and selling soft drinks and even had their own race car.
By 1983, they were producing one million hectoliters of beer per year. They continued to be Slovakia’s largest brewery, which drew attention from SABMiller (the brewing company behind MGD, Pilsner Urquell, Fosters, and many other successful brews).
In 1997 SABMiller purchased the company. Ten years later they were merged with Topvar, another successful Slovak brewery. They continue producing the beers that made them so popular, using the same recipes.
- Pilsner Urquell (Czech)
- Gambrinus (Czech)
- Kozel (Czech)
- Master (Czech)
- Redd’s (South African apple beer)
Posted in Breweries and tagged ale, beer, brewery, pilsner, saris, slovakia, topvar by The Beermaster with 2 comments.