Wertheimer, Pardubice


Company was established in 1867.

Successor: Hobé, Pardubice

Company was established in 1867.

The distillery factory complex, which dates back to 1867, stands across from today’s train station to this day. Building work began one year after work got underway at the nearby sugar refinery. Work at the factory for the cold-treatment of spirits and the production of liquor, founded by one Ignatius Wertheimer, got underway in 1870. The promising business was struck by fire in 1875 and the entire factory complex had to be rebuilt. The more modern tone to the structure started the development of a large spirit refinery, which was joined by a vinegar production plant in 1882. As the founder, Ignatius Wertheimer run the first spirit refinery, liquor and vinegar extract factory in Pardubice until 1899, before the company passed into the ownership of his widow Berta and two sons Max and Hugo after his death. The oldest son Max took over the running of the business. The quality of spirit from Pardubice at the beginning of the 20th century was generally recognised. The new boss began a significant stage of modernisation and his first significant act was to expand the factory in 1904 to include an industrial distillery. This he equipped with “Pampe” distilling apparatus, used for the first time in the Austrian monarchy. Customers in Switzerland, where the spirit was exported under the name of Schweizer Feinsprint, also appreciated the mild spirit until the First World War. The central office of the factory was moved to Prague in 1909 and then to Vienna during the First World War. There was a lack of qualified staff and production materials during the wartime conflict, something which struck many other companies. The arrival of the First Republic saw production take off again. The central office returned to Prague and over time the factory again broadened its range. This time, in 1923, it received a licence for the production of cologne and a cosmetic preparation of the German company Johann Maria Farina, which was based in Cologne. Indeed the distillery became this German company’s general representative in the Czechoslovak Republic. The characteristic bottles of this, the oldest and original cologne, whose recipe dates back to 1709, appeared on the shelves of shops under the name “Farina Red Brand” together with other cosmetic products, its trademark a red lotus blossom. The family business was transformed into a stock company with capital of 6 million crowns in 1924, the absolute majority of shares remaining in Wertheimer family hands. The factory returned to the production of mild French liqueurs at the end of the 1920s after a break of 60 years. This happened after the company obtained all the shares in Damase Hobé and Cie, S. A. and the production of this brand name liqueur was transferred to the Pardubice factory from Modřany in 1929.

Not even an extensive fire that broke out in the factory complex after lightning struck in 1930 could stop the prospering business. The business became number one in its field in Czechoslovakia after the distillery in Šenov in Moravia was closed and the Pardubice company bought it in 1933. The manager of the company changed in 1935 after Hugo Wertheimer took the reins for a few years. The arrival of German occupants in Czechoslovakia in 1939 saw the situation in company management change. Because the majority of shares in the distillery were in Jewish hands, the law on Jewish property hit the enterprise and the company fell into forced administration. The Wertheimer family emigrated and did not return to Czechoslovakia even after the war. The company was entered in the commercial register as the Pardubice Distillery, Spirit Refinery and Vinegar Factory (Pardubický lihovar, rafinerie lihu a octárna, a. s.) in 1939. There was a considerable restriction of spirit production during the Second World War, with a ban on the production of cosmetic products from 1942 to 1st October 1945. Production began again and products were sold under the "PARKOS” name (Pardubice cosmetics). The enterprise was nationalised on 1st January 1946 after the end of the war and the Pardubice distillery became the central plant of the Pardubice Distillery Factories national enterprise, whose other component parts included the distillery in Chrudim and the Hobé liqueur plant. There was another change and new name after the February revolution in 1948, the Pardubice distillery becoming the main plant in the East Bohemia Distilleries and Vinegar Factories enterprise (Východočeské lihovary a octárny). This only continued for several years since there was another reorganisation of the industry in the mid-Fifties: distilleries were merged with canning factories. The business management of the newly-founded East Bohemia Canning Factories and Distilleries (Východočeské konzervárny a lihovary) moved to Nové Město nad Metují and the Pardubice production plant became a component part. There were further changes after the events of November 1989. A new enterprise, “Hobé, státní podnik Pardubice” (Hobé, state enterprise in Pardubice) was set up on 7th December 1990. This was a return to previous independence and the traditional production of liqueurs. The range of Hobé brand liqueurs expanded in 1991 and 1992 to include new pineapple, banana, nut and almond flavours. Interest in other products, in particular vodka and Czech “rum”, rose in both the Czech Republic and abroad. Today’s abandoned factory buildings tell next to nothing of the factory’s previous glory, with many production buildings having been demolished and the rest of them now being rented out.

Record in the publication Adresář Prahy, 1910:
Wertheimrová Berta, spolumajitel fy »J. Wertheimer«. 1674-II, Hybernská ul. 44.
Wertheimer Hugo, spolumajitel fy »J. Wertheimer. 1674-II, Hybernská ul. 44.
J. Wertheimer — Erste Pardubitzer Spiritusraffinerie, Liqueut u. Essigspritfabrik J. Wertheimer — První Pardubická rafinerie lihu, továrna na likéry a octovou trest J. Wertheimer (telef. 3807). 1674-II, Hybernská ul. 44.

Rozhledy zaměstnanců průmyslu, 26.4.1934:
Fuse v průmyslu lihovém a lihovarském.
Na valných shromážděních firem Spojené továrny průmyslu lihového a likérového, akc. spol. v Šenově u nového Jičína, a Pardubická rafinerie lihu, továrna na likéry a octovou tresť J. Wertheimer, bylo usneseno sloučiti obě jmenované firmy.

V Lihovarské ročence 1937 je uvedena "Pardubická rafinerie lihu, továrna na likéry a octovou trest J. Werlheimer".

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