French Apprentices Learned Traditional Craft from Pilsen Cooper Masters

6.8.2013 Uncategorized

Plzeň brewery welcomed six coopers in training from France who came to Pilsen on July 8 and left on July 19. An intensive language course preceded their time spent in the cooperage workshop. Each one of the experienced Pilsen master coopers took one of them under their wing, and together they worked on 50l transport barrels, including tarring.

„We were pleased by the interest in cooperage these young French students showed and mainly how handy they were. Thanks to their experience with making wine barrels, which has a long tradition in France, they understood very quickly the methods of making a wooden beer barrel and within just a few days they were able to work almost entirely on their own,” said Josef Hrůza, foreman of the cooperage party of Plzeňský Prazdroj.

The art of cooperage is experiencing its renaissance in France. Similar to the art of wine barrel making, it has been revived just recently in Dijon. Students from 15 to 23 meet there in classrooms. Some of them were attracted to the experience in a brewery because of their love for woodworking; some of them were brought to it through family tradition.

The craft of cooperage, until these days kept alive via verbal instruction, plays an important role in preserving the original and taste of Pilsner Urquell beer, unchanged since its origin in 1842. Even today, in the brewery, coopers take care of lager barrels and tubs used in historic cellars to show the traditional method of beer making, and to serve as a comparison between the quality and taste profiles of the first among the bottom fermented lagers.

Next to large lager tubs and barrels, coopers make smaller 25l transport barrels that travel all around the world and are being tapped at selected Pilsner Urquell pubs during special occasions. This year, they made more than 200 of those, and they were tapped in Sweden, Germany, Italy and Great Britain.

The art of cooperage is also a popular tourist attraction that contributes to the unique atmosphere of the Pilsen brewery. The visitors to this year’s Pilsen Fest will have a chance to learn about traditional beer making crafts such as cooperage, malt-making, ice-making and inn-keeping. This year’s well known Pilsner Fest falls on October 5, on the exact day the first batch of this world renowned lager will be brewed.

Notes for editors:

  • With its total sale of nearly 9.9 million of hectoliters during the calendar year of 2012 (including licenced productions abroad) and with its export to more than 50 countries worldwide, Plzeňský Prazdroj Inc. is the preeminent beer producer in the region and the biggest exporter of the Czech beer.
  • Plzeňský Prazdroj Inc. is the member of SABMiller plc. group. Pilsner Urquell is the international flagship brand of the SABMiller brand portfolio.
  • SABMiller plc is one of the most significant world beer companies with 70 thousand employees in 75 countries around the world. It offers more than 200 beer brands including the world renowned brand such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft a Grolsch, as well as important local brands such as Aguila (Columbia), Castle (South Africa), Miller Lite (USA), Snow (China), Victoria Bitter (Australia), and Tyskie (Poland).


Vladimír Jurina
Plzeňský Prazdroj
+420 724 617 886