About Rodinný pivovar BERNARD
Foundation of the brewery
In 1597, the era when the citizens of Humpolec could brew their own beer ended. Beer brewing became the prerogative of the owners of the Herálec manor. The brewery grew gradually, and in the 1930s, Marie Terezie Fügnerová, the owner at the time, employed 40 full-time workers and produced 20 000 hl of beer. Both the lager and the light and dark draught beer were of very good quality and sold in and around Humpolec, Havlíčův Brod, Ledeč and Pelhřimov.
A new beginning
The Humpolec brewery was technologically defunct, the image of the beer poor and its sales at rock bottom. Nevertheless, Stanislav Bernard, Josef Vávra and Rudolf Šmejkal partnered up to buy the brewery in an auction under the “small privatisation” scheme… for five times. Its original value. With enthusiasm, they began to fulfil their dream of a brewery that makes honest, Czech beer. They also built the Bernard brand, which is known across the country and becoming legendary.
The fight for small breweries
Stanislav Bernard founded the Association of Small Independent Breweries and began the almost two-year battle to reduce excise taxes on breweries producing no more than 200 000 hectolitres of beer annually. Thanks to his efforts, small breweries not only survived, but also began to thrive. As of late 2020, there are more than five hundred in the Czech Republic.
Our brewery refurbished the bottling plant, boiler plant and electrical substation. It organised the transition from aluminium to stainless steel kegs.
The fight for the survival of the brewery was over and several important investments were made: the brewery introduced microbiological filtration without pasteurisation, the first in the Czech Republic to do so; it obtained its own source of excellent water for brewing its beer; and it opened its first Bernard store in Humpolec.
Two pivotal events also took place. In 2000, the brewery bought its own floor malthouse in Rajhrad. In 2001, the Belgian brewery Duvel Moortgat acquired a 50% share in the company. The sale made it possible to make other necessary investments in the brewery.
Bernard’s slogan now being Vlastni cestou – Our Own Way.
We started selling beer in retro flip-top bottles and wooden crates, all to great success. “Our Own Way” campaign was also successful, but the “Svět se zbláznil. Držte se…“ (“The World Has Gone Mad. Hold on…”) was even more so.
We built a new kegging plant. With the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU in 2004, we began to focus intensively on export.
The first issue of Vlastní cestou (Our Own Way) magazine was published. Since then, it is published quarterly.
We came up with our first alcohol-free beer. And we were the first in the Czech Republic to begin brewing semi-dark alcohol-free beer. Later selling our innovative: alcohol-free beer with natural fruit flavours. First it was Švestka (Plum), and in 2010 we culminated our series of new products with the alcohol-free beer Višeň (Sour Cherry).
Our new campaign “Pivo jako šperk” (“Beer Like a Gem”), is used to this day. The Bernard Store opened and exports increased.
Company values – openness, trust, cooperation, responsibility and positivity – were chosen by our employees themselves.
The staff at Bernard Family Brewery are persistent in their dream to produce the best, authentic beer. The brewery continues to invest in improvements to quality: that is even more important than maximising production or profit.
We brew 16 kinds of beer, including gluten-free, Black Avalanche and top-fermented ale.
The Rotating Tap concept is used. While the Bernard Day and the Bernard Prize Awards are part of our traditions. The network of Bernard Pub and Bar franchises is expanding.
The brewery continues to refuse the use of non-refundable PET bottles or aluminium cans for its beer.
On the 30th anniversary of the Bernard Family Brewery, the company plans to open its new visitor centre.