The Metelka Distillery has Been Associated With Quality Liqueurs for Over Eighty Years
Did you know that real absinthe is perfect for meat cooking? You may not know that strong alcohol is very useful in the kitchen but many major chefs work with this ingredient quite often, mainly, when they prepare meat. They usually cook with over-proof spirits as it brings another great flavor to meals such as pâtés or steaks. “I was able to offer a grilled deer loin with a venison demi glace sauce flambéed in absinthe and roasted seasonal vegetables and potato pumpkin puree,” the chef of a restaurant in Olomouc describes the speciality to which the absinthe gave the unique flavor.
Metelka – A Family Business From the Heart of Moravia
The tradition of the Metelka brand dates back to the 1930s. A family, a tradition, a quality are three words that describe the essence of the Metelka Liquor Company and its products.
The Metelka distillery is a family business and you might say it’s just a phrase. But that’s not true when we talk about Metelka. When you think of family in context of the distillery, it’s important to mention that the liqueur craft is inherited for several generations and the company is run by the proud family members. This fact suggests the number of employees is comparable to a larger family and above all there are very good relationships. One would say family-like relationships.
It takes maybe a spade of mystery and little magic, but mainly an extremely developed sensation for exceptional taste and long-time professional experience. That might be a simplified recipe for how to become a renowned and sought-after distiller, who prepares original recipes of successful beverages for his own business and colleagues in the industry. Milan Metelka has become such person.
The work of the CEO Milan Metelka is based on a legacy of his founders – his grandfather Antonin and father Bohumil. He relies on the skills of his closest family members and his products with unique recipes and quality processing have gained popularity among customers and experts. Milan started his business in one small room and he was delivering his first products himself in an old sedan car. Nowadays, his liqueurs, spirits and first-class liquors are enjoyed by customers all around the world.
It Began With Spirits Called Wolga, Rezna, and Rosbassky Liqueur
It all began back in 1935, when then 32-year-old Antonín Metelka decided to extend the range of alcoholic beverages in his small tavern. He wanted to serve his own beverages so he and his brother started to produce alcoholic beverages just for self-consumption. Their popularity quickly increased and they soon began to distribute their liquors to all over the South Moravian region.
Tavern owners and merchants soon started to buy their favourite brands – Rezna, rum, griotka, a herbal liqueur Praded, a soft bitter liqueur Wolga, Rosbasský liqueur, or Liqueur de Chartreuse. The Metelka brothers also supplied them with their original products such as a special herbal liqueur Hubertus which was originally made for hunters. A current owner of the company has followed up on the popularity of Hubertus with his own liqueur Saint Hubert’s Liqueur at the end of the 90s.
Two Totalitarian Regimes Destroyed the Brand Development
The spread of good reputation and high sales in 1940 was cut by World War II. Due to high consumption of alcohol during that period, alcohol allocations were introduced. Shortly after the war, a fresh graduate of the liqueur academy Bohumil Metelka tried to follow up on his father’s achievements. But the historical events and political situation didn’t allow him to fully develop the possibilities of the company.
The Communist regime abolished all private businesses after 1948. The liquor industry was taken over by the state and all private companies lost their licenses. After several years, the Metelka factory was completely ruled by the state and later shut down. Bohumil was marked as an ‘unwanted bourgeois youth’ and he was sent to serve as a soldier at the Auxiliary Technical Unit. He sacrificed three years of his life for freedom of thought. That caused him to be treated as a politically unsuitable and was sent to be ‘re-educated’ by hard labour in Ostrava’s coal mines.
From Moravske Prusy to Markets Abroad
The company was revived by Bohumil’s son Milan soon after a ‘Velvet Revolution’ in 1989. Milan Metelka started to apply experience and knowledge which have been passed on over two generations in 1992, when he re-established a family business in Moravske Prusy near Vyskov. Despite the success of the company, he made an important strategic decision in 2009. This commitment ensured the stability and development for the company’s future. It became a joint-stock company and the third shares is now owned by the world-famous company Rudolf Jelinek Group SE. Metelka opened his own factory and laboratory in the premises of Rudolf Jelinek.
The import and distribution agreement has significantly helped all Metelka’s products to gain popularity abroad. Since 2013, the Rudolf Jelínek Company has been distributing premium liqueurs and spirits on the domestic market. However, the Metelka Company still maintains its family attribute. Not only is the majority of company controlled by the family, but Milan Metelka trains his own potential successor. His oldest son Jan is entrusted to be the Chief Operation Officer. The future of the family business of the Metelka Company could be secured for a long time.
Nowadays, the company exports its range of products to more than twenty countries around the world (Bulgaria, Russia, Chile, China, Romania, Poland or Italy to name a few). The partnership with Rudolf Jelinek has been very important for the export expansion. Moreover, Metelka's products expand their range of fruit spirits not only with wide range of milky liqueurs but also with premium real absinthe.
First Metelka's Liquor Store
A small Moravian town called Vyskov has population of approximately 20,000 people and is located on the border of the Hana region. The town is known for its beautiful historical sites such as château with its beautiful gardens, renaissance City Hall, Trinity column and fountain in Masaryk square, The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, and the fortification.
In the historic city centre of Vyskov, which used to be called Hana Versailles, is located another attractive spot – Metelka Liquor Shop. It was opened in 2015 and it’s one of a kind shop in Central Moravia. The shop located in a small but cosy place. It offers all Metelka products and also other Czech and foreign premium liquors. “I wanted it to be more than a regular shop. I wanted a pleasant place where customers can rest and get information about high quality spirits and the culture connected with it,” Milan Metelka said. He often uses the shop as his office.
This vision was fulfilled in the interior design which was inspired by natural materials and calm symmetrical lines. As soon as you enter, you see massive wooden shelves with a wide range of alcohol beverages, a central counter, and tables inviting to sit down for a while. “As well as our entire production, Metelka Liquor Shop isn’t a regular liquor store. The shop is specialized in selling premium spirits and giving professional advice,” Metelka said. He adds that customers can select from more than 300 liquors which are mostly unavailable in supermarkets. “The other advantage is our ability to tell a story almost about every bottle we sell to our customers. This is what they never experience in supermarkets. I believe people who look for a lovely valuable gift for their love ones or they want high quality liquor will be very pleased in our shop,” Metelka said.
Thanks to years of cooperation of Milan Metelka and his business colleagues, you can also find the products of Rudolf Jelinek and high-quality liquors from around the world such as Caribbean rums, French cognacs, absinthes, special vodkas, whiskeys, or tequilas. And because good drink works well with good tobacco, they also sell a wide range of cigars, cigarettes, and chocolate products.
The central shelves at the entrance are reserved for Metelka products. All product lines in various bottle sizes are displayed here. “Some customers come for a particular product. For example, during Easter they come for eggnog liqueur and in the Christmas season they usually buy absinthes and Shaker products. Other just comming to see our shop and they are surprised by the rich offer,” said Milan Metelka’s sister, who is in charge of the shop.
The Best Eggnog on the Market
Speaking of eggnog liqueur, this excellent product was awarded as the best eggnog on the market. The recipe was invented by Milan Metelka on the basis of profound study of various family recipes and their production. He says: “I wanted people to return to their childhood memories when they taste our eggnog. I wanted them to say, Yeah, it tastes like my grandmother’s eggnog from my childhood memories.” At the end of the day, he has such feeling about all of their products. The most important thing is that homemade eggnogs are made in cold process but Metelka's eggnog liqueur is heated and all ingredients are more united together. By the way, all Metelka's milky liqueurs are heated over 50 °C and everything is being done in warm process. According to their experience, flavours combine together perfectly and are more fragrant. To make pretty good eggnog is a hard work. A lot of ingredients and aromatic substances are needed.
Eggnog is a delicious beverage that can make pleasant moments at home but it has a further use. It can be used in legendary cheap mix drinks with an original recipe or by pastry chefs as a necessary ingredient for achieving the right taste of desserts and pastry. The low alcohol content and characteristic flavour make the liqueur to be widely used in pastry shops. There are many types of petits fours and sweets where eggnog is an essential ingredient. And there are plenty of pastry products where eggnog adds another quality to it – cakes, slices, biscuits, pralines, profiteroles and so on. Literally, eggnog can be used in every pastry you can imagine.