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Josef Groll

A photo of Josef Groll.

Josef Groll (born in Vilshofen on 21 August 1813, died in Vilshofen on 22 October 1887) was a Bavarian brewer, best known for his invention of Pilsner beer.

The citizens of Pilsen were no longer satisfied with their top-fermented Oberhefenbier. They publicly emptied several casks of beer in order to draw attention to its low quality and short storage life. It was decided to build a new brewery capable of producing a bottom-fermented beer with a longer storage life. At the time, this was termed a Bavarian beer, since bottom-fermentation first became popular in Bavaria and spread from there. The climate in Bohemia is similar to that in Bavaria and made it possible to store ice in winter and cool the fermentation tanks down to 39°-48°F (4°-9°C) around the year, which is necessary for bottom-fermentation.

Bavarian beer had an excellent reputation, and Bavarian brewers were considered the masters of their trade. Thus, the citizens of Pilsen not only built a new brewery, but also hired Josef Groll, a Bavarian brewer. Josef Groll's father owned a brewery in Vilshofen in Lower Bavaria and had long experimented with new recipes for bottom-fermented beer. On 5 October 1842, Groll produced the first batch of Urquell beer, which was characterized by the use of soft Bohemian water, very pale malt, and Saaz hops. It was first served in the public houses Zum Goldenen Anker, Zur weißen Rose and Hanes on 11 November 1842, and was very well received by the populace.

Josef Groll's contract with the Bürgerliches Brauhaus (citizens' brewery) in Pilsen expired on 30 April 1845 and was not renewed. Groll returned to Vilshofen and later inherited his father's brewery. The Pilsen brewery was directed by Bavarian brewers for nearly sixty years until 1900.

Josef Groll died on 22 October 1887, aged 74. He died at the regulars' table of the public house Wolferstetter Keller in Vilshofen, drinking beer.

The Groll brewery no longer exists. Parts of the brewery, however, were acquired by Wolferstetter, another brewery located in Vilshofen. Wolferstetter still produces a Josef Groll Pils.

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