On 3 December 2005 it will be exactly thirty-five years since the first master brewer in the newly built brewery in Nosovice, Jaromir Franzl, brewed the first brew of the then unusually bitter beer Radegast. At the time, the brewery’s output amounted to 700 thousand hectolitres with a workforce of 390 employees. Today, the brewery is capable of brewing more than two million hectolitres of beer with only three hundred employees. Pivovar Radegast is still the youngest and most modern brewery in the Czech Republic and the Radegast brand has the second largest sales of any beer brand on the market.
The origins of the brewery in Nosovice date back to an event in April 1953, when the brewery in Karvina was so badly affected by mining that it had to be closed. The region was also experiencing rapid industrial expansion and demand for beer was rising. The Czechoslovak government of the time looked at the matter and came up with a short list of five places before finally deciding in 1965 that the brewery would be built among the Beskydy hills in a place called Nosovice. One of the main reasons was the accessibility to the water from the mountain reservoir Moravka, whose quality meets the parameters for water for infants and which practically requires no further treatment.
The decision to name the Nosovice beer aftr the old Slav god of sun, fire, harvest and hospitality was the result of a public competition. People sent their suggestions after being asked to by local newspapers, and four of these contained the name of the god Radegast, whose statue, created by the sculptor Albin Polask, had guarded over the local region under the peak of the Radhost mountain since 18 July 1931.
The „inventors“ of the typical bitter taste of Radegast beer had to defend their creation from the beginning. „In two pubs, the regulars, who were used to sweeter beer, actually threw us out. After a few months, when they had got used to it, they didn’t dare to touch it,“ recalls eighty-seven year-old Jaromir Franzl, the first brewer of the brewery in Nosovice and the creator of its bitter taste. „I knew that higher hoppy bitterness could give the beer a characteristic and unique profile,“ add Jaromir Franzl.
During its history, Pivovar Radegast has made careful investments in modernising production and technical innovations:
- 1988 – Nosovice one of the first in the Republic to introduce cylindrical-conical tanks.
- 1992 – the first to try new ecological methods of collecting and processing CO2 produced as a result of brewing beer.
- 1993 – an innovation – KEG casks (replacing aluminium) and a line for their filling – one of the very first Czech breweries to introduce them.
- 1994 – new brew house commissioned, its quality of the highest international standard. One of the first filtration lines built with stabilising filter and line for filling casks.
- 1998 – breakthrough year in output, when Nosovice started the fully automated bottling line, one of the most modern in Europe, with a capacity of 50 thousand bottles an hour and flow pasteurisation. „By so doing we affected the output, which subsequently exceeded the two million mark, and Radegast became the second larget beer producer in the Czech Republic, which it still is today,“ explains Ivo Kanak, manager of the Radegast brewery.
- Due to investment in modernisation and the brewing skills of local people, the Radegast brand has maintained its leading position on the market, and its quality is confirmed by a number of prizes at prestigious competitions both at home and abroad. In the last two years these have numbered eighteen!
Historic milestones for the Radegast brewery
- 1965 – brewery foundation stone laid.
- 3 December 1970 – first brew produced.
- Until 30 June 1990 – the Radegast brewery was one of the plants belonging to the Severomoravske pivovary Přerov company.
- 1 July 1990 – Radegast brewery becomes an independent state company.
- 1991 – privatisation and creation of the Pivovar Radegast joint-stock company.
1999 – merger between Plzensky Prazdroj, the Czech market leader, and the then joint-stock company Pivovar Radegast.
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Since 1999, the Radegast brewery has formed part of the largest brewing company in the Czech Republic – Plzensky Prazdroj, a. s. Pivovar Radegast has brewed beer since 1970. It is the youngest and most modern brewery in the Czech Republic. It annually produces over two million beers with around 300 employees. It produces beer falling under the category „classical Czech lager“, and is also the producer of quality malt in its own brewery malt house. The Radegast brand includes Radegast Premium, Radegast Original and the non-alcoholic beer Radegast Birell. In recent years the brewery has invested heavily in improving qualitative parameters of production and in analysis and control procedures. As a result, Radegast has a quality which has been reflected in a number of successes both at home and abroad. In 1995, Radegast was the first in the industry to receive the ISO 9002 quality certificate, in 1996 the International Award for quality and in 1999 the ISO 14001 environmental certificate. In 2003, the brewery retained the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certificates after a comprehensive audit by the company DNV. The Radegast brewery helps maintain the beauty of the surroundings – the protected regional area of Beskydy – with a number of unique environmental projects.
Plzensky Prazdroj, a. s. is the Czech market leader and with exports to 50 countries around the world is also the biggest exporter of Czech beer. Plzensky Prazdroj’s main brands in the Czech Republic are Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Radegast and Velkopopovicky Kozel. Plzensky Prazdroj, a. s. employs 2 694 people in its breweries in Pilsen, Nosovice, Velke Popovice and in 13 business distribution centres throughout the Republic. It also runs the Slovak Pivovar Saris, a.s., number two on the Slovak beer market. Together, Plzensky Prazdroj and Saris represent the most important entity in the brewing industry in Central and Eastern Europe. Plzensky Prazdroj is part of the international brewing company SABMiller. plc, the second largest in the world. The SABMiller flag ship is Pilsner Urquell.