Żywiec: Poland's favorite brewery

Photo by: 123rf.com/Monticello
Photo by: 123rf.com/Monticello

Żywiec: Poland's favorite brewery

by Richard Brown
Stripes Europe

Sold in more than 30 countries and with over 13 styles of beer, Żywiec brewery produces one of the country’s favorite beers. Not many beers have the tenacity or prestige to warrant the creation of a museum but Archduke’s Brewery in Żywiec does – and for good reason. It’s one of the most popular Polish exported beers that’s sells abroad. The company has multiple locations in Poland where they brew their beer. Started back in 1856, the brewery was a state-of-the-art facility of its time; it’s now one of the most modern breweries in all of Europe.    

So, what’s with the name? Some may be confused when researching the brewery’s origins, finding out that the Żywiec brewery can also be referred to as the Archduke Brewery.  Archduke Albrecht Friedrich Habsburg, who founded the brewery in 1856, isn’t actually a family member that had the name Żywiec passed down; Żywiec is a small town in Poland.  The brewery survived through World War II and the post war period. Ultimately, it became one of Europe’s most modern beer-producing facilities in the 1990s. The Żywiec beer has since gone on to receive awards for its great taste, which includes a gold medal form the 2007 World Beer Championships.

The over 160-year-old beer has its own museum located inside the brewery itself. Learn about the history behind the dancing couple; the oval shaped label on the beer bottles have featured a man and woman dressed in traditional Kraków costumes for centuries. As historians aren’t clear on why the two appear on the label, rumor has it that they were put there to appease American importers.

The next time you’re visiting Żywiec, Poland, take a step back in time and stop by the Żywiec Brewery Museum! It’ll be a memory that you’ll never forget.


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