alc.: 4,0 %; bottle
available in kegs and 0,5 l bottles
alc.: 4,8 %; bottle
available in kegs and 0,5 l bottles
Konrad 12 %
alc.: 5,4 %; bottle
available in kegs and 0,5 l bottles
Konrad - Jocker 14 %
alc.: 6,0 %
available in kegs and 0,5 l bottles
Konrad 8 %
alc.: 2,8 %
available in 0,5 l bottles
Konrád Eso 11 %
semidark special lager
alc.: 4,7 %
available in kegs and 0,5 l bottles
Konrad 11 %
alc.: 4,4 %
available in kegs and 0,5 l bottles
Konrad Červený král ("Red King")
special "red" lager
alc.: 5,0 %
available in kegs and 0,5 l bottles
alc.: 0,5 %
available in 0,5 l bottles
Since September 2006.
The Vratislavice brewery has been brewing high-quality beer in the north Bohemian city of Liberec - Vratislavice u. Nisa for 130 years.
HOLS a.s., the brewery's owner, has staked its all on high quality and the straightforward brewing trade. Its credo its to brew beer that is loved by all of its consumers. Preserving the genuine production process is a contributory factor, plus the use of recipes on which old-time specialties have been based. The brewery makes its own malt that has a proven quality, and uses hops from the Žatec (Saaz) hop-growing regions, as well as a high-quality source of water.
And here are the results! Konrad beer has been awarded three prestigious prizes at the Czech beer-compete in last year - the gold, silver and bronze beer seals for the traditional 11° KONRAD light lager, the popular 11° KONRAD dark lager and exclusive 12° KONRAD light lager, this beer won prestige price in Poland too.
A "Pivovarský šenk" has been opened on the premises of the brewery. You can sample the excellent Vratislavice Konrad beer here. The bar seats 48 guests and the little salon can house another ten. We are pleased to prepare refreshments according to your preference.
The burghers of Liberec obtained the right to brew beer as early as June 1560. The rules laid down in the confirmation of the brewing right were very precise. They not only regulated the amount of beer produced and its quality, but also – as we would say today – compliance with health regulations during brewing. The further progress of the brewing industry in Liberec was complicated and full of contradictions – as tends to happen in history.
At the beginning of the second half of the 19th century there was a shortage of beer in industrial Liberec and its surroundings (as many as 200 000 barrels (vědro) a year of Lower Austrian measure (1 vědro = 51.62 litres) had to be imported). The burghers rejected the possibility of rebuilding the old brewery, because it was in the centre of the town. So a new building site was looked for outside the town boundary. Obvious conditions even in those days were accessibility of transport and above all a good quality and ample source of water. Chemical analyses showed that an excellent source suitable for brewing purposes existed near Vratislavice. That was what decided that beer would be brewed precisely there in coming years. From words to deeds did not take our ancestors long. Otherwise – judge for yourselves.
21 July 1872: the local and provincial column of the Reichenberger Zeitung published a comprehensive advertisement of the Company of the Liberec Brewery and Maltings in Vratislavice, offering shares. The persons named in it on behalf of the company were prominent representative of North Bohemian capital (for example, the Liberec factory-owner and chairman of the Liberec Chamber of Industry and Commerce Franz Siegmund, another Liberec factory-owner Johan Baron z Liebigů, the owner of the Frýdlant estate Eduard Count z Clam-Gallasů, the Vratislavice industrialist Ignatz Gienzkey, and many others). It was already decided to brew a Pilsen-type beer, competitive and capable of export in the brewery with its modern equipment.
22 July 1872: in a single day 3 000 shares were sold, with a nominal value of 200 guilders each.
Spring 1873: construction work started on the site of the future brewery. The speed of construction was astonishing. Thanks to it, it was possible to install the machinery as the work progressed.
Autumn 1873: building work was still going on, but the first raw materials were already delivered to the stores – Žatec hops and barley from the Elbe valley. The owners of the brewery were very lucky in the choice of the first manager. He was the former head brewer of the Burghers' Brewery in Pilsen, Mr Hájek.
22 January 1874: the brewery was ceremonially opened. Mr Hájek proudly presented the first malt produced in it.
April 1874: only a year after the start of construction works on the brewery, beer drinkers in Liberec and environs got the new beer. We do not know how much of it was brewed in the first month, but it is recorded that interest was shown in it in Vienna, which is a reliable barometer of its quality.
End of 1874: in nine months of the life of the Vratislavice brewery 34 680 hectolitres were brewed.
In 1875 beer consumption in the Czech Lands fell, and in addition not enough hops were grown and their price increased sharply. That also affected the price of beer. Sales fell. The first critical period for the Vratislavice brewery started, and it did not end until 1880. In April 1877 the general meeting even decided to stop production in the brewery and wind up the company. In 1879, however, the liquidation committee composed of the most important shareholders asked for permission to produce 48 080 hectolitres of beer in the following year. Two years later an association of several local industrialists decided to buy the brewery and restart beer production.
The crisis in the Vratislavice brewery had been averted. In 1885 its production developed intensively and beer output exceeded 60 000 hectolitres. In the next two years the Vratislavice brewery even ranked in second place in Bohemia in terms of size. The owners of the brewery invested the profits in modernising the production equipment.
1890: new machinery was installed, a railway siding built, and the ice reservoir enlarged. Interest in the successful brewery was shown by prominent citizens of the time. Even Emperor Francis Joseph I came to look at it on 1 October 1891. It received the first official award and a prize of honour for the quality of its beer.
End of 1896: output of beer exceeded 131 000 hl, and the maltings produced what was then an unbelievable quantity of 10 000 q of malt.
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the first phase of the development of the Vratislavice brewery ended. At that time it had to face competition from a number of smaller breweries owned by the nobility in the region. Competition from other breweries in the Czech Lands also increased. But the Liberec Brewery and Maltings Theodor Frank Vratislavice share company entered the new century as a well-known brewery with modern equipment successfully facing up to the competition.
To maintain a position in the Czech beer market was not easy at the beginning of the 20th century, especially if the interests of Czech and German capital clashed. The wise representatives of the Vratislavice brewery decided on a merger of the two largest brewing firms in the district.
1908: after complicated negotiations the Liberec Brewery and Maltings Theodor Frank Vratislavice share company merged on 31 August 1908 with the Medinger Brewery Vrkoslavice by Jablonec nad Nisou share company. A new strong share company came into being, Liberec-Vratislavice and Jablonec Breweries. The two breweries continued to brew independently and the "regionalisation" of sales also remained unchanged. Naturally, the very good quality of the beer did not change either. However, there were big transfers of capital. The new share company cooperated with the Austro-Hungarian Bank of Vienna and it was only logical that Austrian capital should come into it.
An important representative of Austrian capital was Baron Adolf von Bachofen, one of the best-known Austrian brewing entrepreneurs. At the time when the new share company was set up, he was the owner of a substantial (unfortunately, it is not known how large) shareholding in the Medinger brewery. This exceptionally capable man became chairman of the board of directors of the new company. Changes also took place on the board. Its composition remained stable until the end of the Second World War. Only the names of the representatives of the individual owning families changed. The first manager, and until autumn 1945, when he was deported to Austria, the only manager, was Dr Julius Roesler. Yes, he really was manager for 37 years. Even in those days that was unusual, and it says a great deal about the capabilities of the people who owned and managed the brewery in Vratislavice.
The management of the share company "staked" on developing the brewery.
A vacuum pump was bought, speeding up transport of the barley from the wagons to the maltings.
1910: equipment was bought for artificial cooling in the lagering cellars. Experts in the history of technology at that time certainly think highly of that investment. It is of interest that in that year a sickness fund was set up in the Vratislavice brewery.
1911: although the cool summer did not bring the company the expected profits, it was nevertheless decided to modernise and reconstruct the brewhouse.
On what took place and what the economic results were in 1912 to 1914, reliable records are unfortunately not available. But if we consider the annual output of beer (98 563 hl, 94 638 hl, 80 077 hl), they cannot have been bad.
In the history of mankind, wars have always had a negative effect on society. Although beer did not stop being drunk during the First World War, as a result of the shortage of raw materials beer production in Vratislavice got into difficulties. The army requisitioned horses and two motor vehicles, and skilled employees had to join the army. The confiscation of all non-ferrous metals for military purposes had a tragic effect on brewing in wartime years. As is known, most of the equipment and the distribution pipes are made from copper.
It seems incredible today that beer was brewed at that time from sugar beet, potatoes, syrups and other substitutes. Its quality was undoubtedly affected. The shortage of coal also left its mark on production. The brewery worked in this difficult situation until the creation of the First Republic (1918).
Even after the fall of Austria-Hungary the main owner of the share company was still Austrian capital. Its progress was a positive reflection of the demand for beer, which grew literally at a leap. The management of the company reacted resiliently to the changes in the political situation, the creation of Czechoslovakia and the situation in the market. We list those changes in chronological order up to 1938.
1918: the brewery bought a modern goods lorry.
1921: the company provided the employees with an accommodation block of nine flats.
1922: concrete vessels holding 3 500 hl were installed in the fermenting room. As a result, production of yeast from the Vratislavice brewery increased and was among the best known in Czechoslovakia at the time.
1924: the company built more dwellings for its employees. In the cellars of the brewery, concrete lagering tanks with internal cooling were installed. 1925: a garage and petrol pump were built. The company bought two more lorries. Building work on expanding the cellar continued. 1926: the brewery bought more vehicles, a vehicle repair shop was set up, building work continued in the fermenting room and the cellar.
1927: a new steam boiler was installed and the bottling plant rebuilt. The brewery cellar was extended by another two sections.
1928: a new automatic pitching machine was put in, and a new building built in which were the previously dispersed repair shops were concentrated. A new woodworkers’ and coopers' shop was included. Eleven coopers worked on the modern barrel production line. Svatopavelské pivo ("St Paul's Beer") was well known throughout Europe and was supplied to exclusive restaurants (such as Lippert's).
1929: the worldwide economic crisis affected beer production in Vratislavice. The loss of foreign markets in particular had a negative effect on the firm's results. None the less, development of the company did not stop in this year or the next four years, although it did slow down.
1934: a spent grain drier was constructed in the brewery.
1937: a new porter's lodge was built, and also a road leading to the brewery. Improvements in the water system were completed. Relations between Czech and German employees were affected by the worsening political situation in the Czech borderlands.
1938: a new mash tun was installed in the brewhouse. Nationality divisions between the employees became deeper. The Czech border area was joined to Nazi Germany.
The period of the Second World War slowed down the development of the Vratislavice brewery but did not stop it. With the annexation of the Czechoslovak border zone by Germany, however, German capital acquired a strong influence on the brewery. New shares were issued and the capital increased (after conversion) from 2 to 5 million Reichsmark. There were no exceptional changes in the management of the share company, however.
Czech employees continued to work in the brewery. After the declaration of war the Germans went to the army and were partly replaced by prisoners of war of several nationalities.
Once again there was a shortage of the basic materials for brewing good quality beer, like in the similar period of the First World War, and substitutes had to be used again. Most of output was beer of only 3°, but 10° beer was also brewed for the needs of the army. As a result of the Vratislavice brewery being designated as German, no great problems affected its development. Its survival was well ensured. Let us mention specific examples:
1939-1941: an extensive reconstruction of the maltings took place. They were converted to the pneumatic system and Saladin boxes were added.
1941: a new steam boiler was brought into service and the boiler house complex was reconstructed.
1942: pasteurising equipment was installed.
The Second World War concluded an important stage in the development of the Vratislavice brewery. During the "First Republic" the Vratislavice Brewery strengthened its position in the market, and with minor fluctuations in the German market too. The war did not noticeably affect its development either. "Physically" there was minor damage to the buildings on 3 May 1945 in an air raid when bombs fell not only on Vratislavice and district but also on the brewery. The material damage was small, however, and there was no loss of life.
Immediately after the end of the war, chaos and anarchy appeared. Among citizens of German nationality, fear and uncertainty prevailed. The brewery's employees stopped going to work. From the deserted plant, thieves and pilferers stole what was there. So until the situation calmed down, a small unit of the Soviet army guarded the brewery premises. After the first euphoria was over, the newly created administrative organs were given the task of restoring production in the Vratislavice brewery as fast as possible.
We will leave it to the historians to assess the situation immediately after the end of the war. It is a fact that the majority of Germans were expelled from the Czech border region, the board of the company also ceased activity, and the former manager Dr Julius Roesler, a man of special organisational talent, was also deported to Austria.
1945-1947: the share company was wound up and on 4 June 1945 the brewery was put under national administration. Until 1948 Jaroslav Kopecký was national administrator, and Jaroslav Haase was appointed manager. The first chairman of the works council was the cooper Rudolf Matura (he had worked in the brewery since 1926).
The first three post-war years were not easy for the Vratislavice brewery. Raw materials for brewing good quality beer were again lacking. Until autumn 1945 the brewery "lived off" its stocks of malt. Only with the arrival of head maltster Jaroslav Ježek did the situation improve a little. 3° beer was still produced, later 5°, and by 1947 7° beer was already brewed.
A great problem was the shortage of skilled workers. The new employees "settling" the borderlands had first to learn the new trade.
1948: after the February coup d'état there were substantial changes, especial as regards persons, in the management of the brewery. The national administrator Jaroslav Kopecký was recalled in April and manager Jaroslav Haase got "tenure", albeit only for another year. 1948 was the time when national undertakings were created. The Liberecko-Vratislavické a Jablonecké pivovary share company too changed into the Severočeské pivovary national undertaking. Its management base was in Vratislavice and under it were breweries in a wide surrounding area. For example, in Jilemnice, Lomnice nad Popelkou, Podkováň, Svijany, Rumburk, Cvikov, Jablonec nad Nisou, Šluknov and a number of other places. The first manager of the national undertaking was Josef Starý.
Despite all reservations towards the period after the February coup, one cannot overlook the fact that the development of the Vratislavice brewery did not stop. That is shown by a sequence of basic facts, in the "first round" up to 1969.
1949-1951: breweries closed in Frýdlant (1949), Česká Lípa (1949), Krásná Lípa (1950), Česká Kamenice (1951) and other places in the North Bohemian region.
1950: the brewery went over to regular brews of 10° beer.
1952: establishment of a works apprentice school preparing new brewers for the brewing industry (in 1965 it was transferred to Pilsen).
1953: several breweries were "broken off" from Severočeské pivovary. Another undertaking was set up, Pojizerské pivovary.
1954: the yeast propagation plant ceased operation. The Vratislavice brewery therefore had to obtain yeast from the Staropramen brewery in Prague and the Prazdroj brewery in Pilsen.
1958: Severočeské pivovary and Pojizerské pivovary were joined together again. The Vratislavice brewery started to supply Slovakia with pale 10°.
1960: reorganisation of Severočeské pivovary national undertaking and transfer of the firm's management to Louny. The Vratislavice brewery became a main plant of Severočeské pivovary with its plants in Svijany and Cvikov. In Vratislavice rebuilding of the dumping kiln floor was completed.
1961: on 1 January producers of soft drinks were also joined to the brewery, the nearest of them being in Liberec. The first large-scale investment in Vratislavice took place. New steel tanks were installed in the lagering cellar, and in the bottling hall a new bottling line was put in with a capacity of 9 000 bottles an hour.
1962: end of the first phase of work in the lagering cellar (work on installing steel lagering tanks continued until 1990), and a new substation was built.
1963: conversion of the former stables for the production of soft drinks.
1964: end of operation of the Liberec soda water and non-alcoholic drinks factory.
1965: in the barrel-washing plant a new MB 240 washer, on which metal barrels too could be cleaned, was brought into service.
1967: the obsolete shower coolers for the hopped wort were replaced by modern plate coolers. End of deliveries of beer to Slovakia, where new breweries were constructed. 1968: rebuilding of the bottling hall. A new prototype line of Czechoslovak manufacture with an hourly capacity of 15 000 bottles was brought into trial use on 26 July and into full use six days later. It was in use until 1989.
1969: the Vratislavice brewery too got ready for conversion from classic wooden barrels to metal barrels. The washing plant was therefore equipped with a Bothner washer.
Beer consumption in the Czech Republic continually increased. The Czech breweries worked at the limits of their capacity. Although there were some technical changes and modernisation, the fact is that the breweries were not able to invest their profits in modernising their operations. It was nevertheless necessary, however, in view of the requirement for greater beer production, to put at least some resources into production. And that was the case with Vratislavice.
1970s and 1980s: although the equipment of the brewery was clearly obsolete, production increased. There was therefore a rebuilding of the machinery and energy installations. A new substation was installed and the distribution system and high and low current distributors rebuilt. The capacity of the air compressors was raised to ensure production of up to 500 000 hectolitres of beer. The entire cooling system was also rebuilt, including the building of a new machine room in which efficient cooling compressors were installed. New fencing round the brewery was gradually put up. A significant culmination of innovative effort was the construction of a new brewhouse with dominant copper covers, which with its semi-automatic control system ensures a good brewing process for many years to come.
1976: an important action was the bringing into service of a propagation plant (remember that it had ceased operation in Vratislavice in 1954) including fermenting vessels and storage tanks for yeast. The brewery was linked to steam heating from the municipal power station in Liberec, thus ensuring sufficient heat energy needed for production. 1983: a fire caused extensive damage, especially in the boiler room, the central steam distribution and the store of surrogates. Renewing the equipment required substantial financial means. Production of malt, beer and soft drinks was not threatened. 1985: building was completed of a high-capacity production plant for non-alcoholic drinks with a possible annual production of 230 000 hectolitres. Production of non-alcoholic drinks was ensured by a sufficient capacity of storage tanks for syrups, special machine cooling, and a supply of CO2 and liquid cleaning materials for bottles. Construction of the soft drink plant was the largest investment action since the end of the Second World War. 1986: construction was completed of a new fermenting room with 21 stainless steel vessels. The old filters in the filtration block were replaced by efficient kieselguhr filters and plate filters for final filtration. Cleaning of the metal barrels took place on two lines independent of each other. Reconstruction of the communications network, building of a garage, a store for packagings, cleaning of the ponds, setting up a central fuel depot and minor rebuilding work also took place.
1989: the original wet grist mill was dismantled and replaced by dry milling. A mash tun was added to the brewhouse.
The Vratislavice brewery continued after 1989 despite the privatisation changes to produce good quality beer, which was reflected in increasing output. The proportion of bottled beer also increased.
1991: the brewery exhibited its products at the BRAU 91 fair in Nuremberg and was successful, which had an effect on the interest of German customers in beer supplies. An exceptional interest in the beer was shown by firms operating in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
The bottling plant was provided with two lines, each with an hourly throughput of 15 000 bottles. On one of them a tunnel pasteuriser was installed, and both had modern labelling machines. One bottling line was also installed in the soft drinks plant. 1992: at the beginning of May the company Pivovar Vratislavice nad Nisou, a.s., was established. In the bottling line a palleting line and technical equipment for packing bottles in cartons were brought into use. Intensive work was carried out on installing washing and racking lines for modern kegs, which gradually replaced aluminium barrels. Rebuilding of the water system was started and preparatory works for the conversion of individual centres to control by computer. The quality of production was improved by a general reconstruction of the malthouse, including the technical equipment.
1994-1994: The Vratislavice brewery built up a network of owned and contracted wholesalers. The aim was to cover the demand for beer in the northern part of the Czech Republic and expansion into other regions. Thanks to that, beer from Vratislavice was sold with success in the Podkrkonoší region, Kolín and Žatec. Later also in Prague, Chrudim, Karlovy Vary, Most, Chomutov and Opava. The Vratislavice brewery paid attention to supplying restaurants with dispense equipment, tablecloths, glasses etc. A high point was a television advertising campaign, as a result of which it was possible to obtain about 40 contractual partners in the Czech Republic, to whom a quarter of production was supplied.
Beer from Vratislavice celebrated great success in reunited Germany and in Great Britain, where it complied with all regulations and found its loyal customers.
1995: the results of the Vratislavice brewery had a positive effect on the interest of investors. A fundamental, and from the point of view of the brewery's future exceptional, event was the entry of a majority shareholder – the British company Bass plc. The management of the firm also changed. The company concentrated on strengthening the position of the brand on the Czech market for beer and non-alcoholic drinks.
1996: definitive conversion to the new system of racking beer into kegs with a simpler system of tapping, filling and adjusting. The new automatic washing and filling line had a capacity of 150 barrels an hour. Vratislav 11° beer won the Beer of the Year award given by the magazine Pivní kurýr.
1997: on 31 January 1997 Pivovar Vratislavice nad Nisou became part of the newly combined company Pražské pivovary (Prague Breweries), one of the three largest brewing groups in the country. The present structure of commercial agencies completely covered the northern part of the country.
1998: on 25 May the board of Pražské pivovary a.s. decided to cease all operations of the Vratislavice brewery. All employees were dismissed. From that date the production of malt and soft drinks stopped and brewing of beer under the Vratislav brand was transferred to the Braník brewery. By the end of August the last stocks of beer brewed were tapped in Vratislavice and the brewery was then closed. By that step the reputation of the brand was damaged and the foreign markets were lost.
2000: on 25 May the firm of Hols a.s. restarted production of the popular 11° beer under the name Konrad. On 29 June fans of Vratislavice beer were able to taste it once more. By the end of the year 15 000 hectolitres of beer were brewed (10° pale, 11° pale, 11° dark). Konrad 12° was also maturing in the cellar.