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Pradlo distillery

The communist single malt distillery! Sadly no longer active and by all accounts the remaining stock will be gone in a few short years but it’s output is still available and well worth trying, especially given the price!

In Czechoslovakia living standards were fairly high however few Western products were available for the elite. The communist states’ currencies were not convertible and the command economies failed to produce goods to exchange for sufficient foreign currency. So unable to source whisky from Scotland, they decided to make their own. The old Prádlo distillery, founded in 1929 on the outskirts of the city of Plzeň, was the obvious choice as it had been creating a variety of pot distilled spirits for decades, and happily had a hammer mill for crushing the barley.

Václav Šitner, the father of Czech whisky, was selected to head the team, however unable to travel they relied on books and experimentation. Their aim was to rely entirely on local materials, barley and clear Bohemian water were easily available however the peat from South Bohemia proved problematic. Šitner recalls that the peat “in combination with oak shavings created all sorts of problems”, in the end they managed to import Scottish peat, which although cheap enough cost a fortune to transport “we placed it on trucks and a train carriage. One carriage was enough for us for 5-6 years”. It worked, by 1984 the first batch went to market and the communist elite had an alternative to vodka.

And then in 1989 only a few years later the Berlin Wall came tumbling down on 9 November 1989, 8 days later Czechoslovakia had its Velvet Revolution and the market was flooded with western products. Production stopped and the spirit was more or less forgotten. The liquor company Stock Plzen-Bozkov that owned the distillery was privatized and the new owners saw no future for the drink. Then in 2007 London based Stock Spirits bought the business, and realised they had thousands of barrels of ageing whisky. Abandoned and forgotten for over 20 years bottling resumed in 2010.

Pradlo factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Pradlo Hammer Head Pradlo Czech Republic
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Lost 1929 - 1989 Malt Pradlo Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
V�clav �itner Stock Spirits

Pradlo Timeline:

1929: Prádlo distillery is founded as part of Leonello Stock’s Austro-Hungarian empire

1984: The first whisky is released to the market

2007: Stock Spirits bought the business discovering the sleeping barrels

Useful Pradlo links:

Pradlo at MasterOfMalts

Pradlo at WhiskyExhange

Pradlo at Whiskybase

Pradlo at Whisky

Interesting Pradlo links:

Pradlo at Scotch Whisky

Pradlo at Prague Artel Style

Pradlo at AP News

Lionello Stock at Wikipedia

Can I tour Pradlo?

No, unfortunately Pradlo distillery is not open to the public for tours