Brewery: Pivovar Bytča
Popper is one of the oldest brands in Slovakia but also one of the smallest as far as production goes. Unlike many of the other breweries in Slovakia, it was never purchased by SABMiller or Heineken, so it hasn’t expanded like its competition, but its roots are strong and it shows in their beer. Since the brewery stopped producing Palatin 16% Tmavy (despite its numerous awards and favourable reviews), Popper is the brewery’s only brand. It’s named after the Popper family who owned the brewery for 100 years.
Popper Light 10%Type: European pale lager ABV: 4%
Popper’s light beer is made from Czech malt and hops. It’s golden in colour with a delicate hoppy aroma.
Popper 12% PremiumType: Bohemian pilsner ABV: 4.7%
This beer is aged in a cellar for a long time, giving it a unique taste with a greater fullness and bitterness.
Popper Tmavy 10%Type: Tmavý ABV: 4.2%
Popper’s dark beer has a delicious caramel flavour with a lower alcohol content. It is popular among Slovak women and has received awards by the Slovak Association of Historical Brewers.
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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.