One of the most popular Czech beer brands has just celebrated a major anniversary. 150 years ago, a group of entrepreneurs and businessmen met in a Pilsen pub and decided to establish the second modern brewery in town. Before long, the foundation stone was laid, and only a year later, in December 1870, the first barrels of the new beer were being sold to customers. Thus, Pilsen took another important step to becoming the beer capital of the country.
In the early years, the brand changed its name several times. In 1907, Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria visited the Pilsen brewery and apparently liked what he tasted. To honour this royal visit, the brand was renamed “Pilsner Kaiserquell”. When the Czechoslovak Republic was established, the references to the old Austro-Hungarian Empire became inappropriate, so the company started searching for a new name.
The final choice, “Gambrinus”, refers to John I, 13th-century Duke of Brabant, great-grandfather of Emperor Charles IV, one of the most celebrated royals in Czech history. John I was also called “Jan Primus”. Since he was remembered as the “Patron Saint of Brewers”, the connection was quite obvious.
New Name, New Fame
Since then, the popularity of the Gambrinus brand has grown steadily. This popularity paid dividends when the brewery was almost destroyed in the last months of World War II. The production was to be discontinued after the War, but Master Brewer František Hlaváček made an emotional speech and swung public opinion towards reconstruction. Today, Gambrinus ranks among the best known brands in the country, not only for the beer, but also for various social activities including sporting and cultural events. And the Hlaváček family has remained in the brewery until now, currently in the third generation.
The World will Change, the Beer Won’t
Now that the brand has celebrated its 150th anniversary, it’s looking forward to the next 150 years. This is also the main message of the current advertising campaign. It features Pilsen in 2169, filled with robots, futuristic vehicles and Artificial Intelligence. However, in the future world, one thing remains the same – there are still pubs with Gambrinus beer on tap to guarantee that the best traditions are here to stay, whatever the changes. Fortunately!