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Through a connection made by a friend in the US beer industry and the local distributor of Polish beers, I was fortunate to receive a private, behind the scenes tour of the Zywiec Brewery. The highlight was a climb to the top of a 10 story storage tower. Being afraid of heights, this was one of the most memorable events of my trip to Poland.
Żywiec beer has been brewed in the village of Żywiec for nearly 150 years. Żywiec Brewery started to export its products in 1913 when the brewery extended its distribution channels to other towns of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including Budapest, Ostrava and Cieszyn. Moreover, it is worth remembering that Żywiec beer accompanied the Poles all over the world to such countries as France and Great Britain, along with subsequent immigration waves. Żywiec Beer has become a symbol of Polishness for many Poles.
Żywiec Beer has a unique front label with the Dancing Couple. The Żywiec logo includes all of the most important historical symbols of the brewery. The Krakow dancing couple holds a coat of arms adorned with the crown. There are three Spruce trees and the year 1856 on the coat of arms. The name Żywiec is placed on the red sash with the golden trimming in the lower part of the mark. The Żywiec logo is the most famous mark or a brand of beer in Poland and the trademark of the entire brewery.
Żywiec was founded by Archduke Albrecht Frederick Habsburg in the mid 19th century. The plant was built from scratch in the village of Żywiec. The brewery was built in the very middle of the ŻywiecValley mainly on account of free access to clear mountain water with its source in the Skrzyczne mountains. The year 1856, which is the company's registration date, is regarded as the beginning of the brewery’s activities. This is when the first hectolitres of excellent beer were brewed and sold.
In the 1990s, the brewery was thoroughly modernized and is currently considered to be one of the most modern breweries in the world. Żywiec Beer is still brewed by means of traditional methods using all-natural ingredients and mountain spring water. Today, Żywiec Beer is the best selling Polish brand in the premium segment. Żywiec beer also matches well with the local specialities of the Beskidy cuisine.
In the brewery restaurant in Żywiec, the beer is served with the so-called "oscypek" – a special variety of hard cheese made exclusively in the Polish mountains
City of Zywiec- Located in Southern Poland, 1 1/2 hours from Krakow
Inside the historic brewhouse
My glasses steamed up when the kettle was opened.
Model of brewery complex.
Inside the modern brewhouse
Complex- taken from the top of a storage tank
I am holding onto the railing...for life.
Beer bound for the US market
The end of the day....a trip to the company tavern.