Steam Engine Brewery
The brewery in Lobeč, Czechia, is a valuable monument with a rich history dating back to 1586. The brewery is located in a picturesque village of 140 inhabitants in the Kokořínsko protected landscape area. The long-term project to restore the brewery has once more enlivened the small village and has ensured that the brewery can be enjoyed for generations to come.
The project was mostly funded by the owners’ own financial resources with support also being provided from the Czech government through the Programme for the Care of Village Conservation Reserves of the Ministry of Culture, as well as the Programme of Culture for the Central Bohemian Region and the “Green Savings” Programme of the Ministry of the Environment. The European Union’s Rural Development Programme also helped finance the restoration.
The brewery and malt house had been in continuous operation since the 16th century while the present-day structure has its origins in the first half of the 17th century. In the 1890s, the brewery was modernised into an industrial brewery with a steam engine. Production stopped in 1943; the site had been abandoned since the 1980s and had fallen into disrepair.
The architects Jana and Pavel Prouza discovered the forgotten brewery when they were 30-years-old. Over a 15-year period they worked to revive the monument while fulfilling their dream of living in a monument and developing cultural activities in the countryside.
The initial phase of the restoration focused on the physical preservation of the site, followed by a careful structural restoration. From 2014 onwards, the site was opened to the public with a balanced mix of cultural and business activities to ensure its future sustainability. After the restoration, the original function of beer production was re-established in the form of a small craft brewery.
Environmental responsibility has been emphasised throughout the project, for example, the site uses a system of part heat pumps and part geothermal energy for heating.
The project has also had a wider impact on heritage conservation practice as an example of successful project management with limited financial resources.
The revival of the brewery has brought life back to the village, with new families arriving. The village is flourishing socially; the brewery, the local chateau and the community activities make the small village a unique place to visit. The local community is proud of its brewery once again. The brewery has also joined the ERIH – European Route of Industrial Heritage, helping to raise its profile on a European level.
“This restoration is a good example of a sensitive rehabilitation of industrial heritage that has preserved the original character and the original use of the brewery in Lobeč very well”, the Awards’ Jury stated.
“This is a great achievement for individuals who invested a lot of time and personal resources to achieve their ambitions. It is a courageous project which sends a strong message about the importance of strong community engagement and collaboration between many different stakeholders”, the Jury added.
Contact: Pavel Prouza | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.lobec.cz