Pilsner Urquell opens a new interactive experience on Wenceslas Square

Similar to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the immersive exhibition uses all five senses to tell the story of the world's most popular style of beer.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 21.04.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 24.04.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

A new attraction is opening at the bottom of Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Pilsner Urquell: The Original Beer Experience will start welcoming the public on April 22.

The immersive multimedia exhibit fills a historical Art Nouveau building at 28. října 377/13 which was originally built as a bank. Visitors can take a 90-minute tour that brings the history of beer to life from ancient times up to the present. Adults will have the opportunity to sample some beers along the way.

Built by The Original Experience Company in cooperation with Pilsner Urquell, the Prague center is meant to be a different type of experience that taps into modern trends for tourism, with a total investment of EUR 20 million. The capacity is 300 people per hour, and the organizers hope to get 400,000 visitors per year.

“We decided to tell the story of how Pilsner became the most popular beer type in the world,” Nick Penny, the general manager of The Original Experience Company, said.

Art Nouveau details on the former bank building. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Art Nouveau details on the former bank building. Photo: Raymond Johnston

Tap into history and hands-on fun

The history portion of the tour covers ancient gods dedicated to beer, its history in Bohemia going back to St. Wenceslas, who is considered a patron of the beverage, to exactly how the distinctive light-colored Pilsner-style beer was developed by accident. People can handle hops and grains used to make beer and find out about the process.

Headphones carry the audio portion in English, Czech, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Mandarin. The audio automatically starts at the right place when a person enters a room.

People see the ingredients of beer. Photo: Best Communication
People see the ingredients of beer. Photo: Best Communication

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

Aside from the main tour, visitors can attend the Tapster Academy and learn to pour beer in three different ways: the hladinka, šnyt, and mlíko. The gift shop offers personalized beer bottles and mugs.

The street level has a pub and beer garden called Výčep u Zvonu, and a two-story entry hall with a large sculpture called Mash-Tun. The immersive experience covers the entire next floor, and another beer hall and tapping academies are on the level above that.

A new experience for Prague

The idea first emerged during the pandemic, when Penny and his partners asked what the changes would be once travel started again. “The answer was that people would ask for better travel destinations and more complete experiences,” he said.

He said Pilsner Urquell: The Original Beer Experience goes beyond traditional exhibitions by entertaining, stimulating the senses, and engaging emotions. The idea was to make something that appealed to a wide audience with lights, sound, projections, tastes, and aromas.

The Original Experience Company team also includes sales and marketing head Ondřej Veselý, who brought insight into technological innovations for implementation.

Rudolf Šlehofer, Ondřej Veselý, and Nick Penny. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Rudolf Šlehofer, Ondřej Veselý, and Nick Penny. Photo: Raymond Johnston

“This is an increasing form of entertainment. The best parallel to what we are doing here is something called the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin,” Penny said, referring to a similar interactive experience that showcases Ireland’s famous export. The venue attracts about 1.5 million visitors per year and is the number one tourist attraction in Dublin.

“What we are doing here is opening up a whole new form of entertainment that doesn’t really exist here yet but is actually a very well-established business model,” Penny said.

Rudolf Šlehofer, the craft and heritage director of Pilsner Urquell, pointed out that the opening comes on a significant anniversary.

“The first batch of Pilsner Urquell was brewed on Oct. 5, 1842. A year later it was imported to Prague for the first time. Now, 180 years later we are bringing the full story of Pilsner lager to the capital city through the Pilsner Urquell Experience. We believe it will attract all lovers of Czech beer,” he said.  

While you can taste Pilsner Urquell during the tour and at several taprooms throughout the building, no beer is made at the center. You still have to go to Pilsen, West Bohemia, for a Pilsner Urquell brewery tour.

For information on tickets, options, and opening hours visit the Pilsner Urquell: The Original Beer Experience website.

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