The province of Lubusz has a long brewing tradition, which is not surprising considering its proximity to Germany, a country for whom brewing is practically a way of life. Brewing in the town of Witnica (which then was just a tiny village known as Vitz) is documented as far back as the 14th century when Cistercian monks came to the area and brought their expertise in brewing with them. It was in 1848, however, than the current brewery came in to existence. Originally the property’s owner, Ernst Ferdinand Handke, merely leased the property to an existing brewing company, but by 1856 he had taken it over himself. Operating under the name Stern Brau, the brewery expanded throughout the latter half of the 1800s, becoming, at the time, one of the most modern small breweries in the region.
In the aftermath of WWII, the brewery was nationalized by the new communist Polish state and was run by the regional Agricultural Combine. With the fall of central planning and the transition to a market economy in the early 1990s, a new chapter in the brewery’s history began to unfold. In 1992 the brewery regained its independence, transitioning into an employee-owned company and then into a stock company in 1995. The brewery was expanded and modernized throughout the 90s and into the 2000s, including the addition of a new “green” natural gas boiler and waste water treatment plant.
Browar Witnica remains a small, regional brewery, only producing about 60,000 barrels a year. In addition to the cities of Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz, Poznan, Jelenia Gora, and Szczecin, for the last decade the brewery has been exporting limited quantities of their beer to Germany, Austria, Sweden, and the USA, for which we give them a big “Thank You!”