Polish beer

Polish Beer History



The practice of brewing beer stretches back to the middle ages, but it was really only in the 19th century when large-scale, industrial brewing began. At this point, Poland started to borrow many ideas, techniques and equipment from the industrial breweries which were beginning to develop in Britain.


The first modern beer style to gain popularity in Poland (and other countries near the Baltic ) was Porter exported from Britain. It then became the first style of beer produced in the new Polish breweries. After many decades, bottom-fermenting techniques then developed across Europe and, as a result, the Pale Lager styles (associated with Czech, Germany or Austria) were adopted in Poland.


Although Pale Lager became the dominant style in Poland, Porter also remained popular and survived to this day. Although most Polish beer styles today combine elements of Czech, German and British influence, Poland also developed its own unique 'Grodziskie' beer style.






Today there are over 80 breweries in Poland (including brew-pubs), with most still having the name of the town or city in which they were founded.














In terms of the beer market, production levels grew steadily in Poland up until the outbreak of the World War I. The economic crisis between the wars slowed production growth but by 1939 there were 137 breweries in Poland. That number started to decline during the years of German occupation.


After World War II, most breweries were nationalized under the Soviet regime. Following these significant changes, beer production eventually started to increase again and by 1950 approximately 3 million hectolitres were being produced. By 1992 this had increased to 14.2 million hl and by 2009 the total was 36.9 million hl.


Following the collapse of communism, the free market economy evolved and that led to a number of international beer companies moving into Poland. A period of consolidation then followed, with some of larger Polish breweries being brought under the control of the international beer companies.


Since 1990 there have also been many closures of smaller breweries. This has been mainly due to either financial difficulties in the free market, or closure as a result of production being moved elsewhere after being bought by large brewing companies.




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