The Dešenice Brewery

The existence of the fortress is evidenced in writing from the 16th century. However, it is certain that when Dešenice was sold to the lords from Předenice in 1533 there was no brewery there. We presume it was built on the transition of the 16th to the 17th century, when the nobles started establishing breweries at most residences in the kingdom. This was after their victory in the brewing war with the towns, when they started to force the vassals to get the beer from them. Specific messages from Dešenice, however, haven’t been preserved. It was only when the town was bought by the Kolowrat family in 1686, when the land registry, the so-called “land tables”, also included a written entry of the brewery and hop field in Dešenice, in the overview of acquired goods.

A more detailed description of the brewery can be found in the evaluation of the estate from 1729, which also allows us to establish its location, that is, the oldest one. It stood “in the rear part of the castle, built from stone, and equipped with a copper cooking pan”, the capacity of which, was eight four-pail barrels (about 20 hl). In the front part of the castle, was the apartment of the brewer and the brewery cellars. Since the 18th century, historical sources allow us to follow its gradual rise and, unfortunately, also its downfall. For example, the Theresian cadastre shows that  more than 90 four-pail barrels of beer were brewed there. A description of the estate from 1756 describes the brewing operation in much more detail, and it reveals to us its location; even of the individual parts, such as the threshing floor, kiln, drying oven, and the fermentation room.

It flourished and in late 1830’s, the description of Dešenice includes a brewery with a capacity of brewing  34 four-pail barrels. This is indicated by moving the operation from the old premises to another part of the castle. Since Dešenice was constantly and distinctively losing its statute as a manor house, most officials relocated to Bystřice nad Úhlavou, the administrative centre of the Hohenzollern’s estate; under which the town belong since mid 18th century. Since there were several breweries within the estate, the estate administration started to lease out the Dešenice brewery. The most important tenant was the brewer Josef Klička, who brewed beer here in the 60’s of the 19th century; and consequently, move as a lessee and brewer into the newly opened modern brewery in the nearby village of Bezděkov. From the brewery employees, who changed in Dešenice over the course of the centuries, another significant person seems to be the brewer Ondřej Joachimsthaler. He earned a good reputation for local beer through competition with other breweries, and worked here throughout the whole last quarter of the 19th century (he devoted his entire career to the local brewery), more than 30 years in total- until 1906. This brewer reached a record in high production of the Dešenice brewery in 1899, when he brewed 18,783 hl in the course of the year.

A fatal blow was planted on the Dešenice brewery by the First World War. During the war, the production gradually decreased, and when the Hohenzollern manor farm estate was considerably affected by the land reform, its end was inevitable. Even though the estate administration considered a general reconstruction of the brewery over the course of the 1920’s, (so that it could survive in the competition of the large join-stock breweries) in the end, in 1929, it was sold by Fridrich Viktor Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to the expanding joint-stock brewery in Stod. The new owner gradually decreased the operation, and the annual production dropped to about 5,000 hl. When the Second World War was over, the restored Czechoslovakia placed the Dešenice brewery under national administration; and in 1946, the operation was shut down by a decision of the Ministry of Nutrition.

Where to find us

Dešenice 1, 34022 - Dešenice

 +420 376 571 531