“We have not overcome the combination of covid waves, but also the increase in the price of gasoline, glass, malt, and also the lack of quality personnel. In short, we have reached the point where we no longer want to borrow,” describes the situation of entrepreneur Anna van der Weerden.
The Švihov family brewery in Němčice, which is located by the reservoir of the same name (also known as Želivka), focused from the beginning on brewing Belgian and Dutch ales and special beers. With their flagship beers Švihadlo, prepared according to a Dutch recipe from the 19th century, and Grep Ale beer, the couple represented the Czechia, even during the pandemic.
The couple built a brewery with a beer club out of a dilapidated farmhouse. “It also includes a barn in which accommodation or facilities for weddings can be built, we didn’t have time to finish that due to the pandemic,” says entrepreneur Anna van der Weerden.
The pandemic affected the operation of the brewery right from the beginning. The first batch was supposed to hit the market in April 2020, but it finally reached customers after a four-month delay in August. Immediately, the couple began touring farmers’ markets and festivals with their beers. Their Belgian and Dutch specialties appealed to consumers. However, a few weeks later, another wave of covid came and the operation of the pivot on wheels had to be interrupted.
However, they needed to get their beers onto the market, so they came up with the idea of opening a branch in Prague, where the sales of their beers could be larger than in Němčice. In the spring of the following year, they opened Švihlý krám in Vinohrady, Prague – a beer shop with a tap. At the time, they also launched a farm shop on the brewery grounds filled with products mostly from local farmers.
The business started to take off again, but in two years of covid, the couple not only exhausted almost all their finances, but also ran out of the necessary strength and enthusiasm. So last summer they decided to sell part of the business. They were looking for a suitable investor who would not only bring the necessary financial injection into the business and would not destroy the spirit of the business. “However, in the end it didn’t turn out to be a good idea, I would have to correct my dreams with someone else who could be driven by financial motives, not emotional ones,” explains Anna.
Therefore, their intention with the investor did not come true, and after a few months, the couple finally parted ways – in business and in private life. “Martijn is returning to the IT field and I would like to start working on new projects, build a love brand again and then pass it on to someone else,” Anna reveals her plans for the future.
The brewery under the baton of the van der Weerdens will probably end after the holidays, but they do not intend to close it completely. “We don’t want to close the brewery overnight, on the contrary, we want to continue smoothly and hand it over to someone in full operation. Someone who will have strength, courage and, above all, an economic background,” adds the businesswoman.
A potential interested party should prepare nearly thirty million for the purchase of the complete premises of the microbrewery, the real estate agency’s offer shows a price tag of CZK 29,980,000.