Velke Popovice, a small Czech town located close to Prague, has been mentioned since the 14th century.The first official report from the 16th century writes about the Popovice Brewery as a property of the Hysrl Family. Also the first written reference to excellent beer brewing originated at this time.
After uneasy times during the Thirty Year War the ownership of Popovice passed from a secular to a clerical administration. Originally, Popovice belonged to the Strahov Monastery and since the 17th century the manor was owned by the Benedictine Monastery of St. Nicholas at the Prague Old Town.
After the Monastery's abolishing in 1785 by Josef II, the manor was auctioned by the k.k. Major Bedrich Schiedburg. After several other owners, the Popovice manor was bought 1870 by Frantisek Ringhoffer, the Mayor of Smichov and the founder of the famous Ringhoffer Works. He built a new brewery on this spot and thanks to his works he installed modern technology there.
The year 1874, when the first beer brew was made, is the foundation date of the modern history of the Velkopopovicky Kozel, the emblem which was created by a travelling French painter as an expression of thanks for the hospitality he received in Popovice when he stayed longer than he originally expected.
In 1875, even 18.000 hl of beer was brewed and sold. After a large reconstruction of the Brewery in 1902, the brewing reached the amount of 90.000 hl.
The fast development of the Popovice Brewery was stopped by the World War I. The Kozel, nevertheless, a short time after the War gained its original position and its reputation and popularity was growing. This positive development was interrupted by the occupation of the Sudetenland. The Brewery lost the possibility to get raw material base and also the Ringhoffer Works lost several important concerns.
After 1945 the Brewery became a state enterprise and in the post-war years it was incorporated into several production organizations. Thanks to tradition and the solidarity of employees, who sought the quality of beer as prestigious concern, the Velkopopovicky Kozel has remained one of the most-favoured and best Czech beer brands.
In 1991 the Brewery got its independence and in May 1992 it became a joint-stock company with basic capital of 325 mil. Kc which later on increased and reads, nowadays, 625 mil. Kc. In 1994 the Brewery reached its record brewing of 931.000 hl. In January 1995 the crucial capital influence was gained by the Stock Company Radegast Brewery. Like that the Popovice Brewery became a part of the third biggest brewing group in the Czech Republic with 20% share on the Czech market.
More than 10% of the Velkopopovicky Kozel production is exported to Slovakia, Russia, Scandinavian countries such as Finland and Sweden and last but not least to the United States of America where in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999 years it won the gold medal at the BEER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in Chicago in the category of Pilsner beer brands.
The changes going on in the Velké Popovice Brewery are explicitly aimed at the further improvement of beer quality as well as of service towards the customers. The Brewery also seeks to develop its historical as well as modern tradition. As for the architecture it belongs for sure among the nicest breweries and production works in the Czech Republic.
In May 1996 as the first brewery in Bohemia it opened its page in the worldwide computer net INTERNET. The Velké Popovice Brewery has begun to write its new chapter in the cybernetic present.
In 1999 year Velké Popovice Brewery commemorated the 125th anniversary of its foundation.
The year of 1999 has brought big changes to Pilsner Urquell, a.s.; in March the merge of Pilsner Urquell, a.s. and the Radegast Brewery, a.s. (the owner of Velke Popovice Brewery) was implemented. In October of that same year, the entire company was bought and now has a new owner - South African Breweries, plc.
Come and see the Velké Popovice brewery for yourselves. Take a peek under the Velké Popovice brewmasters' lid during the production of Velkopopovický Kozel beer. Take a tour of the brewery, which includes beer tasting in the original brewhouse from 1928.
Awaiting you are our brand new barrier-free Visitors' Center along with the Kozel gift shop, offering a variety of souvenirs for Kozel beer lovers; a brewery tour extended by a new exhibition of the production process and a non-traditional presentation of the brewery' history. The extended exhibition will help you get acquainted with the history and the current life of the famous brewery and get familiar with the process of brewing Velkopopovický Kozel beer. The living mascot of the brewery, a billy goat called Olda, is part of the brewery tour.