One of Lviv’s business cards, in addition to coffee and chocolate, is beer. Lviv is an incredibly beer city. The number of pubs and bars, as well as craft breweries here is constantly growing. Lviv Brewery is the most famous in Ukraine, and Lvivske beer can be found on the shelves of many European cities and, guaranteed, in all settlements of our country. The history of beer in the city of the lion is also interesting. We would like to tell you today about the history of brewing in Lviv and the history of beer in general.
People learned the ability to brew beer long before our era – the secrets of brewing were known to the Egyptians of the pharaohs, and the ancient Greeks, as well as the Sumerians, whose civilization is considered one of the first in the world. In Slavic peoples, the name of beer is the same and comes from the verb “pivo”, formed from the verb “piti”. Interestingly, the word “beer” once meant not a specific drink, but any drink that is often drunk. The word “beer” and “drink” are consonant in the Slavic languages: Ukr. beer, white. beer, floor. piwo, Czech. and Slovak. beer, serb. пиво / pivo, рос. beer. The Slavs were among the first in the world to add hops to beer.
Beer production was a very laborious process consisting of several cycles: malt production, beer wort production (aqueous solution formed during the fermentation of fruit or cereals), wort fermentation with special brewer’s yeast, fermentation, filtration and bottling. In ancient times, due to the complexity and lack of any special equipment, the opportunity for brewing appeared only in late winter and early spring, and all members of the community were engaged in this process. Brewing can even be considered a kind of tool for diplomacy, because brewing a common beer with someone still meant “understanding”.
The people of Trypillia, the inhabitants of the ancient but highly cultured civilization of farmers living in the territory of modern central Ukraine, Moldova and Romania, were the first to start brewing beer in Ukraine. Later, beer was brewed in Kievan Rus – one of the largest states in Europe in the tenth century, in particular, almost every monastery and university at that time could boast of its own brewery. The Cossacks were also engaged in brewing – “free people” who fought for the independence of Ukraine, but there were no large beer enterprises then, breweries were small, and beer was not often exported. Beer factories first appeared in Lutsk, Lviv and Kyiv in the 18th century, and today it would be very difficult to count all the brewing countries, there are so many of them.
Beer brewing began in Lviv in the 14th century, when a brewery’s shop appeared. The first documentary evidence of the beginning of brewing in Lviv can be considered the charter of the Lviv Breweries, dating from 1425. Since then, brewing in the city has developed rapidly.
Beer was brewed by artisans, monks, Jesuits, and the last Polish count, Stanislaw Potocki, was given the right to build his own brewery in the suburbs of Lviv – this was a turning point in the history of brewing for Lviv.
The sacred date is 1715 – the year of the foundation of the Lviv Brewery in the suburb of Kleparevo. Technologies here were advanced at that time, water was taken from artesian wells, hops and malt were used only of the highest grade, which best contributed to the popularity of Lviv beer.
The brewery was not the only one in Lviv, there were 13 in total at that time, but the largest and best. After the decline of the Jesuit order, the brewery was taken care of first by private entrepreneurs and later by the joint-stock union of Lviv Breweries.
Lviv beers of that time, in particular “Bawar”, “Porter Imperial”, “Exportowe” were known far beyond Lviv. Already in the middle of the XIX century. Lviv Brewery is one of the three best breweries in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and has become the largest brewery in the region.
Speaking of Lviv beer, it is impossible not to mention Robert Doms – businessman, tycoon, philanthropist, public figure, we can say “Local Tony Stark”.
Robert Doms is a legendary figure of the Lviv Brewery, the owner of the brewery on Kleparivska Street, during whose life it gained unheard of fame. Today, a popular restaurant near the brewery and several beers are named after him.
During the occupation of Lviv by the USSR, the Lviv Brewery became the property of the state and was renamed OJSC Kolos (1964). At the same time, Lvivske beer received its official name and trademark status and was considered the best beer in the Union.
The most popular varieties at that time were Lvivske and Zhyhulivske. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Lviv Brewery regained its original name and in 1999 became part of one of the largest breweries Baltic Beverages Holding (now – Carlsberg Group).
Worth noting is the brewing museum, founded on the occasion of the 290th anniversary of the founding of Lviv Brewery and opened to visitors in 2005. Lvivarnya is the only beer museum in Ukraine that houses a cultural space, a restaurant for tastings, and a museum with unique exhibits.