The first burgher brewery was built in Benešov in 1872. In 1897 it was bought by František Ferdinand d’Este. He built a new brewery, where production moved from the Konopiště sub-castle. At the time, it was one of the most modern breweries. The main building is built in the typical Central European industrial style of the turn of the century, which was characterized by an interest in elemental decor. After 1990, the brewery began to use the “Ferdinand” brand and the whole area became a cultural monument.
The beginning of beer brewing in Benešov, especially its ancient roots, will probably remain unknown. This originally feudal right was gradually transferred to the hands of the burghers, and from the end of the 14th century this right became a burgher law. Another epoch brought a narrow specialization in beer brewing associated with the transfer of the process of brewing beer from individual households, where beer was mostly brewed, to rooms specially designed and adapted, for which it generalizes the name “brewery”.
At that time, brewing activity was reflected in local names, street names, houses or surnames of individual families. To this day, the name of the suburban part “Na Sladovce”, the name of the street “Na Chmelnici” and others have been preserved. The first written right to brew beer was granted to the townspeople of Benešov in 1595 by Archleb of Kunovice. This right guaranteed the privilege of brewing beer “now and for future and eternal times freely without hindrance”. private breweries also grew hops in Benešov, as is recorded in 1569.
Unfortunately, the boom in brewing in Benešov was violently interrupted during the unfortunate invasion of Swedish troops into the town of Benešov. The brewing industry went into deep decline and the nobility demanded the return of all rights associated with brewing beer to their hands. The renaissance of beer brewing in Benešov occurred in the second half of the 19th century, when Benešov was incorporated into the newly built railway network. In 1872, the townspeople founded a joint-stock company, which itself then established a joint-stock malting plant and a crop market.
New establishments were built on the outskirts of the city in Táborská Street. From the very beginning, the new company had difficulty overcoming considerable financial difficulties, and as early as 1873, the founders were forced to reduce the malting plant and set up a brewery in the second half. Persistent financial problems forced the townspeople to sell the entire plant in the spring of 1887 to the new owner of the Konopiště estate, František Ferdinand d’Este. In 1897, major reconstructions were completed, which laid the foundation for today’s brewery in Benešov. After this reconstruction, the brewery produced 50,000 – 60,000 hl of beer per year until the beginning of World War I. The state, as the new owner, underwent a complete reconstruction of the brewery. The exhibitions then grew again and eventually reached 80,000 hl per year. In 1938, the “National First Congress of Czech Brewers” took place in Benešov and Konopiště.
Beer exhibitions rose to 120,000 hl per year until 1944, but the post-war years again meant a significant decline in beer production and a very gradual development in terms of investment. In 1956, the Benešov Brewery came under the administration of a national company based in Velké Popovice. Until the 1970s, the annual exhibitions grew evenly hand in hand with extensive reconstructions. The beginning of the 1990s meant a unique development for the Benešov brewery. The company’s management has started a new era of company development based on the high quality of manufactured products.
The new trademark “Ferdinand” together with the new business and advertising concept set a record in 1992 at the annual beer exhibition of 233,712 hl. The 12-degree Ferdinand beer was awarded second place in the national CTIA competition. In 1994, the Benešov brewery started the production of 10- and 12-degree beer called Staročeské pivo and thus supplemented many of its beers with another type in addition to the already traditionally produced light and black beers under the name Ferdinand.
In 2004, the legal form of the brewery was changed from a limited liability company to a joint stock company.
Currently, the brewery produces a total of eight types of beer – gluten-free light lager Premium 12 °, draft beer light 10 °, light lager 11 °, light lager Premium 12 °, MAX – special light lager 11 °, dark lager 11 °, Sedm Kulí 13 ° and light special beer d´Este 15 °. The brewery also produces limo orange, raspberry and cola, which it sells in KEG barrels, and non-alcoholic beer, which is distributed in 0.5 l bottles. The current exhibition is around 23,000 hl per year. The brewery also includes a hummus malthouse, which produces about 2,000 tons of malt per year.
At present, the brewery hosts regular events several times a year, during which excursions take place. During a tour of the brewery, it is possible to see from the lager cellar to the cellar.