The Pivni Gallery is a living exhibit to a traditional Czech handcraft beer.
Forget about Bohemian crystal, costume jewellery, or shoes; when it comes to
tradition, Czech beer has had well-lagered reputation for centuries:Czechs
have been brewing for the last 2000 years and neither wars, plagues, or
threats of eternal excommunication by the pope have been able to stop them.
Over one hundred years ago, the country was home to around 1200 breweries, producing for both domestic and foreign consumers. Although the total number of breweries has dropped to less than 70 since then, Czech brewing is much more than Pilsner Urquell or Budweiser - Budvar. Although these two breweries are internationally known, there are still many other small and medium-sized breweries throughout the country. The goal of the Pivní Gallery is to be a common platform where these smaller breweries, many of which are available only within a limited region, can present their craft to the thirsty consumers.
An Artiste wooden palette, with holes for seven bottles of beer, is the logo of the Pivni Gallery. It was chosen by the owners to symbolize the wide variety and range of beers still available from the country´small and medium-sized breweries. Currently, visitors to the Pivni Gallery can choose from between more than 180 brands of beer selected from the portfolios of 34 breweries.
The wooden palette is more than symbolism. Visitors can take a specially designed palette home with them after filling it with their own selection of Czech beer. In addition to the palette, a range of wooden gift boxes is available. Glasses, steins, and other beer - related paraphernalia are also for sale.
Beyond the 180 brands on the shelves, the Pivni Gallery is developing its own range of specialty beers to fill the holes in the customized palette.
Each of these beers will bear the Galleries own label and be produced in a small independent brewery. The first of these seven beers is already available. It was produced by the Broumov-Olivetin brewery. Six additional beers are to follow during the next year.
Visitors to the Pivni Gallery are greeted by an oversized wooden artists palette suspended behind the counter. On the left side of the palette is the signature of Michael Jackson, one of the worlds leading critics and writers on beer and malted beverages.
He visited the Pivni Gallery in November of 2001 and wrote about the visit on his web site ( www.beerhunter.com). Other famous visitors include the French singer and actor Charles Aznavour. He was one the cast of Angelina, a TV movie filmed within the unique setting of the Pivni Gallery.
A mural depicting the brewing process is painted on the upper walls of the Gallery. Showing the progression of liquid bread from field to the final consumers glass, the mural was designed and painted by Pavel Jákl, an expert in Czech brewing history. His paintings, each signed with a JP, can be found in pubs throughout the country.
The Gallery has tables and seating for visitors wanting to test the local waters in addition to selling bottled beer for offsite consumption. Each week, a different draft beer is presented to visitors,supplementing the wide range of chilled bottled beers available.
The Pivni Gallery can also be rented out for parties and private meetings, combined with a customized beer degustation.
The hope is that the Gallery will become both a showcase for small and medium-sized brewers and provide visitors both Czech and foreign a taste of a living Czech tradition.
The Pivni Gallery was officially opened on May 2.2001 by its owners, Petr and Olga Vanek.