Bydgoskie Breweries are coming back. They will brew beer in a bunker.

In the autumn, a brewing line of the revived Browary Bydgoskie will be opened in the Industrial Park. The flagship brand is the “Bractwo” beer, which batches, currently produced in Mazurska Manufaktura, have already reached stores in Kujawy.

The new owner of the brand has been looking for the right location for the brewery for some time. One of the considered options was the historic steam brewery in Myślęcinek. However, as Jakub Gromek, the president of Mazurska Manufaktura, informs, the ownership issues of that area have not been resolved. Another proposal was to use the buildings in the city center, but logistics posed a problem here. Breweries generate significant traffic, which would be greatly hindered in the city center. Manufaktura from Szczytno (responsible for the popular “Jurand” beer in the Warmia and Mazury region) also wanted to take over the brewery in Nakło, but an agreement with its authorities was not reached.

They will brew using an aggregate

– Ultimately, we chose the former German bunker in the Industrial Park, although it was not the cheapest solution – emphasizes President Gromek.

The work in the atmospheric aggregate began in April of last year. It is now nearing completion. The brewing line will be operated by machinery purchased in Germany, allowing for a production capacity of 20,000 hectoliters per year. The installation is used, but it is only a year old. Its owner passed away, and his family did not want to continue his passion. What’s more, as we have learned, there are already plans for expanding the breweries and increasing production.

For now, we drink “Bractwo” from Szczytno

“Bractwo”, the flagship brand of Browary Bydgoskie, is currently being produced by brewers from Szczytno. Thanks to them, the golden, foamy beverage can already be purchased in selected stores in the Kujawy region, including some of the shops from the Portuguese retail network. When the brewing line in Bydgoszcz is opened, the production will take place exclusively there. At the beginning, the brewery offers three types of beer: light, dark, and a combined one. They are bottled in 0.5 and 0.3 liter bottles. The price is around 4 PLN per bottle. According to the owners of “Bractwo”, it is a great price for a high-quality beer, although it is not a craft or artisanal product.

The heritage of Juliusz Strelow

In the 19th century, there were over 20 breweries in Bydgoszcz. The one located at Ustronie Street, on the slope of Wzgórze Wolności, was founded by Juliusz Strelow in 1858. It operated successfully until World War II. After the war, it was nationalized and operated under the name Zakłady Piwowarskie w Bydgoszczy (Brewery Works in Bydgoszcz). In 1960, it was merged with the brewery in Grudziądz. An interesting fact is that in 1972, there was a valve failure in the beer centrifuge, resulting in beer being injected into the city water supply, to which the brewery was connected.

The beer appeared on the taps in the areas around Ustronie Street – Toruńska Street and Babia Wieś. In 1992, the company was privatized, and at that time it changed its name to Kujawiak Browary Bydgoskie. Ten years later, it became a part of the Brau Union Polska brewing group, and in 2005, it was acquired by the Żywiec Group, which decided to close down the brewery a year later. Kujawiak beer was produced in Elbląg and Warce. In 2009, the buildings at Ustronie Street were demolished.

Popular beer until the 15th century

Bydgoszcz brewing has a rich history. From the 15th to the 17th century, the beer from the Brda River area was extremely popular, not only locally but also in places like Poznań. Allegedly, residents of Poznań were willing to pay twice as much for it as for their own beer. Later, brewing started to decline, which was influenced, among other things, by increased consumption of spirits by the poorer population, especially in rural areas. The revival of brewing is only dated to the second half of the 19th century. In the 1880s, the Bromberg government district had 24-26 breweries, including four in the city and one steam brewery in Myślęcinek.

The craftsmen struggled with various problems, with the most serious being the supply of ice. If the stocks were running out, the beer would spoil, or additional, very expensive ice would have to be imported from Norway. In addition to barley and wheat malt, surrogates, rice, and sugar were also used in the production of beer. From the data in the city chronicles, we learn that the overall production was not large. In 1881, 24 breweries produced 55,001 hectoliters of beer, and in 1887, 25 breweries produced 73,100 hectoliters of beer. For comparison, the largest brewery in Szczecin, the “Bergschlossbrauerei Stettin,” produced a remarkable 62,249 hectoliters of beer in the 1886/87 fiscal year.