AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD INDUSTRY

Page 12

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

CZECH BUSINESS AND TRADE

Radlík Distillery Scores Success in the Market

CZK billion Share of GDP

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By type of R&D (Research and Development)

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Share of GDP

Wage costs

Source: www.czso.cz

This is how natural infrastructure can provide ecosystem services, which, however, are not as yet sufficiently developed and are the object of a number of applied research projects. In recent years, the potential for research in Natural Science with applications in agriculture has massively increased. An example is the BIOCEV research centre in Vestec near Prague. The centre pursues five research programmes – functional | 22

genomics, cell biology and virology, structural biology and protein engineering, biomaterials and tissue engineering, and the development of treatment and diagnostic procedures (more at www.biocev.eu) – in which international teams, people from all over the world, collaborate. Another institution enjoying an extremely good reputation on a long-term basis is the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague, boasting a number of foreign experts as

its graduates (see www.czu.cz). The oldest higher learning institution devoted to Agriculture and Forestry education in this country is Mendel University in Brno (www. mendelu.cz). There is a number of other higher learning and research institutions, which can be proud of their results, e.g. RECETOX, a research centre of the Natural Science Faculty of Masaryk University in Brno (recetox.muni.cz), which concerns itself with harmful substances in food chains, and CzechGlobe – Global Change Research Centre, the Czech Academy of Sciences (http//www.czechglobe.cz.cz) with unique programmes, one of them being the study of how the growth of trees influences the excess of greenhouse gases forming in the atmosphere. Research for the needs of agriculture is pursued by many other organisations, mainly in the framework of the research programmes of the Czech Technological Agency (www.tacr.cz) and the EARTH programme organised by the Ministry of Agriculture (http://eagri.cz/public/web/mze/ poradenstvi-a-vyzkum/vyzkum-a-vyvoj/ narodni-agentura-pro-zemedelsky-vyzkum/program-zeme-1”), in addition to the systematic support provided by the Ministry of Agriculture through its organisations (institutional support). The results of their research can be found in the VaVal public information system and the STARFOS TA CR database (starfos.tacr.cz). As mentioned before, all research work is an interdisciplinary affair. This means that far more solutions than those provided by the above organisations can be used in agriculture. Research expenses, both public and private, are continuously growing in the Czech Republic. In 2019, for the first time, they exceeded CZK 100 billion. Czech research is open to Europe and the world for collaboration. In recent years, an extremely large research base has been built in the Czech Republic with the support of EU funds. This base, and the Czech Republic, are both worthy of attention. This is not just “a paradise to behold”, but a country doing quality research and providing innovations, creating increasingly better conditions for doing business. Rut Bízková

Small fruit craft distilleries, which combine traditional spirits production with modern processes, the enthusiastic personal approach and meticulous craftsmanship of the producers, are becoming increasingly popular in the Czech Republic. One of the most distinguished representatives of those producers is Radlík Distillery in Jílové u Prahy. It is one of those distilleries which raise fruit brandies to a higher level, ranking them in the category of prestigious noble distillates. And distillates are the subject we discussed with distillery owners, Zdeněk Musil and Libor Lacina.

How did the idea of starting distillate production come about? We are graduates of Prague´s University of Agriculture, so Nature and Microbiology are dear to our hearts. Fruit spirits have always held a charm for us. We kept tasting, comparing and admiring them, until we turned our hobby into a profession. This was 22 years ago, and it felt like a miracle when the rather unattractive fruit mash was transformed into a translucid fluid with sparkling glints and captivating aroma and taste. To this day, we are fascinated by the alchemy of the entire process combining fruits of Nature, the operation of microorgan­isms, the patient work of man, the passage of time, and possibly a bit of good luck. It is still an adventure for us, and we really enjoy it.

Photo: pixabay.com

how much money is spent on research and development RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT EXPENDITURE

What kinds of distillates do you make? The basis is traditional fruits, mainly plums, pears, apples, grapes, and apricots. But we also make many non-traditional distillates, for example, from elderberries, raspberries, quinces, mirabelles, and rowanberries. Besides clear distillates, we also offer their golden versions, which mature slowly in small oak barrels. We pride ourselves on small-series products, characterised by tra-

dition, craft production, and a personal approach. The only raw material is fruit. What is the basis of quality brandy production? Its basis is the careful choice of fully mature fruits from regional fruit growers. Manual processing by a small team of enthusiasts allows us to watch the quality throughout the entire process. We also use what we call “controlled fermentation”. This means that fermentation takes place in closed vinificators, where the temperature and mash stirring are regulated by computer; pH adjustments, a meticulous choice of quality yeasts and nutrient salts are a matter of course. The heart of the distillery is a copper double pot distiller, to which we have added a number of our own original innovations. This enables us to individually influence the distillation process and adjust it to the character of the fruit. The master distiller tastes each batch several times during the process and at the end “blends” the resulting distillate.

Your success in competitions at home and abroad is well known. What are your greatest accomplishments you can be proud of? Our most important trophies are, for example, the prizes we won at the Vizovice Tast-

ing competition for a “Community with the best valued samples”, which we obtained in 2011 and 2019. There we also gained 11 “Category Winner” awards, and at the “Flora Tasting Olomouc” we won the “Testing Champion” title three times. There, we also won, on four occasions, the Distillers´ Union Prize for the best collection of distillates and the “Category Winner” title 15 times. We verified the quality of our distillates in the USA, where we participated in the World Spirit Competition in the San Francisco distillate competition. There, in 2018, in keen competition with the most famous world producers, we won three silver medals.

Is there any possibility of seeing how brandy is actually produced? An important factor is our open approach to customers. We let them follow the entire process of production from fruit processing to the final distillation. We want to help promote the perception that fruit brandies are prestigious noble distillates reflecting national traditions, using expensive and diverse raw materials, offering a variety of tastes and aromas and reflecting meticulous craftsmanship. Our wish is that brandy should not be used for uncontrolled drinking, but that it should elevate the spirit and stimulate friendship, well-being, and understanding. 23 |


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