Becherovka: the 13th Spring of Karlovy Vary

Becherovka: the 13th Spring of Karlovy Vary

The traditional Czech herbal liqueur made in the West Bohemian Spa by Jan Becher.

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Becherovka of Karlovy Vary is currently the bestselling liqueur in the segment of bitter herbal liqueurs, and thus it is no surprise that it is often called the 13th spring of Karlovy Vary. Approximately 8 million litres of Becherovka are annually made and exported to almost 40 countries throughout the world. If you would like to get to know this legendary Czech beverage, comprising more than 20 types of herbs and spices made according to a secret recipe, there is nothing easier than visiting the Jan Becher Museum in Karlovy Vary.

Tasting is a must in the museum

The Jan Becher Museum is located in Karlovy Vary in the former Becherovka factory, which was built in 1867. More than 60,000 tourists visit the museum every year. During the interactive tour, you can see the original Becherovka pipeline, old bottles, labels and also the barrels in which Becherovka used to mature. In addition to the expositions of historical exhibits related to Becherovka, the tour will also take you to some of the original manufacturing and basement areas, you will see a unique film made for Becherovka by the Caban brothers, and you will, naturally, taste several specialities at the museum bar. And to experience the true atmosphere of “Becher’s Vary” from 200 hundred years ago, visit Becherplatz, an extraordinary space in the centre of Karlovy Vary, where you will get a true sense of how it felt in the square in the 19th century. Take a break with a cup of good coffee in a period café, buy souvenirs in one of the local shops, or walk down the oak stairs to the original Charles IV Restaurant and Brewery.  

What else to see?

The Becher Villa, built by Gustav Becher, is the most distinct building that closed the Westend villa quarter in Karlovy Vary before WWI. Today, it hosts an interactive gallery for young artists. You should definitely visit Becher’s Bar. The famous bar, which is located in the basement of Grandhotel Pupp and offers culinary specialties and a wide range of long drinks served until the small hours, is furnished in the 19th century English style. And if you would like to discover exactly how the secret mixture of herbs is made, what chemical processes take place in the making of Becherovka, or if you would like to meet the person who knows the unique recipe, then visit the new Becherovka factory in the Bohatice quarter, where you can uncover the secret of the legendary Czech beverage.

Becherovka is born

Becherovka was created by an experienced businessman, Josef Vitus Becher (1769-1840). In 1794, the spice merchant rented a small distillery in the city and started experimenting with liqueurs. In 1805, he received a recipe for a new liqueur from Christian Frobrig, an English physician. Josef Becher spent two years testing the recipe before he began selling the English Bitter liqueur, which was designated to treat stomach issues. The Becher family started exporting Becherovka in the first half of the 19th century – they opened a shop in Štětín in 1834, then in Vienna, and Munich a year later, before they began selling their product in Paris in 1838. Becherovka finally conquered the United States in 1934 – after the prohibition ended, and four years later also England. Johann (Jan) Nepomuk Becher, the son of Josef Becher, is considered the true founder of the liqueur empire. He developed Becherovka for almost 40 years and in 1867, he moved the growing Becherovka production to a new factory in Steinberk. His signature as the confirmation of traditional quality and taste can still be found on every bottle of Becherovka today.