21. Breweries (No. 88 and No. 27)

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One of the most important privileges enjoyed by mediaeval and early-modern towns was the privilege to brew beer, which has been the principal alcoholic drink since the 16th century, uplifting and stimulating good spirits. The privilege could be given to individual burghers or to the town as a whole. Consequently, beer was brewed in separate houses as well as town breweries. Owing to its excellent marketability, the production of beer constituted a field where burghers were involved in economic competition with the nobility. All of these aspects were present in Vimperk, where beer production and marketing were concentrated below the castle hill, on the promontory above the River Volyňka, between the castle and the town centre. Even now, the history of brewing is reflected in the name of the long street running through the area – Pivovarská, i.e. Brewery Street.

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The year 1587 saw the construction of a manorial brewery directly below the castle centre and the Vlček tower. It was run by the lords of the estate and underwent a number of adaptations. In 1632, part of the section above the stables was converted into a forage store, and later into offices and residential quarters for the clerks. The present shape of the complex dates from Schwarzenberg rule in the 19th century. In particular, the high building above the large courtyard bears all the marks of Schwarzenberg economic architecture encountered all over South Bohemia: Neo-Gothic appearance, walls of bare stone and brick, battlements, and a variety of spires and turrets. The extensive complex is dominated by three different chimney stacks and the Křesanovský brook disappears into the underground just below it. Once there was a town fortification running up to the castle.

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In 1641 the town started a municipal brewery in the earlier Town Hall. The building, which has survived to this day, is situated a little further down from the lord’s brewery, opposite the secondary school building, looking up to the castle. Its principal tall building with a bizarre chimney stack clings to a mild elevation below the square, and the low longish building in a wide section of Pivovarská Street has recently been restored. The white exterior shines with envelope-shaped graffiti, and with post-Baroque paintings of Our Lady with infant Jesus and a group of human figures. Now it houses the Marco pizzeria.