The HOP MUSEUM The HOP MUSEUM is housed in a former hop storage and packaging plant. The displaying area of 2.500 square metres documents the development of hop growing from the early Middle Ages until the early 1950s.
In addition to the many exhibits displayed, visitors will see the building, which is of technical interest itself. It is one of the finest examples of functinal industrial architecture from the end of the 19th centiry to be found in Zatec, famous all over the world for the finest hops.
The entrance area of the Museum reflects the long tradition of hop growing in Bohemia and Moravia (see T.Hajek's text in P.A.Mattiolli's Herbarium from 1562), with the emphasis on the major hop growing areas in Bohemia (the Zatec, Ustek and Trsice areas). It outlines the essential preconditions for successful hop growing, such as soil and climatic conditions. -
J.Cerny 1517 The first floor is devoted to hop growing and hop picking since prehistorical times. A map of European archeological sites where hop remains were found, depicts our knowledge of the beginnings of hop cultivation in detail. In addition, hop illustrations from early herbariums (e.g. Hortus sanitatis, Cerny, Fuchs, Bock, Hajek) are exhibited.
In his drawings and wood engravings the Silesian Jan Willenberg captured the Cyech towns at the turn of the 16th century with remarkable attention to detail and accuracy. Those of Zatec, Most, Kadan, Klatovy and Rakovnik clearly show than in those days hops were grown both in gardens and fields. The huge piles of hop poles seem to point to hop griwing being a large-scale activity in the 16th century. Zatec - Willenberg 1611
This part of the exhibition also houses an enlargement of Willenberg's colour engraving of Zatec from 1611 with both Latin and Czech texts, which has only recently been discovered. The note under Exhibit No.23 mentions "Lupuleta" - hop fields. This wood engraving when compared to a drawing deposited in the Strahov monastery in Prague is complete and also illustrates those parts which are missing on the Srahov drawing. The added text comes from a Chronicle by V.Hajek of Libocany.
From the 16th century farming instructions for estate managers and workers, later followed by farmer's books contain sections on growing hops, drying processes, storage and brewing. The Czech language was used both in printed and hand written documents before the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620. However, after the Thirty Year War, due to property transfers, the arrival of foreign speaking landlords and further centralization of feudal power by the Habsburg Dynasty, the Czech language was completely replaced by the German language.
The only exemption were Farming Books written in Latin by a Jesuit monk Krystof Fiser (1679) which were translated into Czech by J.Barner (1705-6). They were also reprinted in Germany, at least four times. Their sections on hop growing were well known by agrikultural writers as late as the mid 19th century. However, a book by Jiri Holik, an axile, which included a chapter on hop groving, despite being reprinted in Germany twenty times, was never published in Czech. Some examles of chapters on hop growing written by Czech and Central European writers (e.g. Hohberg, Glorez, Mehler, Fuss), as well as a Czech chapter on hop growing from J.F.Kauble's textbook (1933) are also displayed in this part of the Museum. Klatovy 1533
There are also maps showing the increase in cultivation and the spread of hops in Bohemia up to the middle of the 19th century.

Towards the end of the 18th century estate breweries began to dry hops in drying kilns, whereas in towns and villages hops were dried under roofs on trays.

In the 19th century, the population, especially the urban population, grew rapidly, which led to the increase in hop cultivated areas: the introdiction of new technologies, the use of animals in transport and cultivation, the introduction of artificial fertilizers and faster drying through the introduction of heated oast houses.
In the 19th century, especially from the 1850s on ward growing hops on hop trellises rapidly and became concentrated in the most suitable areas of the country.
Storage and packaging plants were rapidly established at that time. Better methods of preserving hops, transport, sulphurization and pressing were also introduced.
The growers also tried to protect their hops against unfair trading practices. Hop provenance checks were introduced in Bohemia at the beginning of the 16th century and these quickly spread in the 1860s when the Zatec Hop Market was established. The hops begun to be sorted into the categories of minicipal, district and regional hops and were legally established at the beginning of the 20th century.
Protection of hops against pest and diseases was introduced and developed quickly from the end of the 19th century (hand pumped or backpack sprayers, spray barrows, animal drawn and self-propelled machinery, preventative agents). The former regional varieties of hops have gradually been replaced by more productive types, clones and varieties (Semsch, Osvald, New Cultivation).
Further floors of the Museum focus on the use of hop trellises and hop poles. After a period of merely collecting wild hops in the early Middle Ages, it is established that hops were grown on poles in hop gardents as early as the 11th-13th centuries. The earliest depictions of hops on poles, however, date from the 16th century (J.Cerny - 1517, the Klatovy town hop seal from 1533). Hops were mostly cultivated manually. There appeared some regional diferences in growing and cultivation which resulted in the appearance of new regiponal types of hops. the tools used were very simple wooden ploughing instruments - spades, hoes, ladders, pole levers. This simple way of hop growing was used till the beginning of the 20th century. The very last pole hop gardens in Bohemia vanished in 1957 and in Moravia between 1981-3. This, at present, the longest period of original hop cultivation technology is displayed on the third floor. -
- The period of growing hops on trellises began in the first half of the 19th century. However, it only became more widespread in Bohemia towards the end of the 19th century, whereas in Moravia it developed even later, after World War II. The new technology introduced new tools, implements and equipment. The earliest stage was characterized by the use of farm animals in cultivation and the appearance of a variety of new sets of tools - special ploughs, tools for hanging and so on.
New methods of picking, drying, storage and packaging were introduced. The hop growers and those in crafts relevant to hop cultivation showed remarkable technical skills and creativity. However, from the 1950s this era with its innovative technologies and reliance on animal transport began to disappear through the rapid introduction of new sources of energy (engines, tractors). Visitors may appreciate period photos, literature and an Anheuser Busch billboard from the beginning of the 20th century promoting Czech hops.
- A separate ground floor room depicts the very beginnings of these changes in hop growing linked with the arrival of new technologies of hop cultivation, new machines and tools - e.g. chamber oast houses, new hop picking machines, tyred vehicles, a small caterpillar tractor PT 10, a pruner cutter, partially automated hop equipment for lowering vines.
PT-10 -
Hop collection and distribution from storage and packaging plants were carefully structured. Many routine activities involved manual and animal transport, the manual handling of hops in storage, labour intensive pressing of hops, sulphurization and distribution, accurate book keeping, grading and the attaching of seals.
PT-10 The visitor may envisage the processes and various activities undertaken at these premises when visiting the area exhibiting the original bale presses and a ballot press from 1884. In addition, the tools and implements used in storage and packaging plants as well as an original carefully restored sulphur chamber can be seen there.
In the part related to hop transport, there is a cart used by the so-called "wheelers" (men who transported packed hops to a hop grading barn and back to the packaging plant), which is well worth seeing. These "wheelers"were typical only in Zatec.
During the restoration of the Museum building a medieval kiln was discovered and the artefacts found were carefully preserved for display. This documents the long history and tradition of arts, crafts and farm activities in the former royal town of Zatec.

Adress: Chmelarske museum
Mostecka 2580
438 19 ZATEC
Ing.Jaroslav Urban
tel: +420-397-626125
mobil: +420-602-416140