September 28, 2016

Bohemian Brewery Designs a New 12-pack that Remembers Founder Joe Petras

When you buy Bohemian Brewery’s new variety 12-pack, you’re also purchasing a history lesson. The brown box, decorated with black and red graphics, is covered with historic tidbits, facts about the “old school” techniques the Midvale brewers practiced, and about the background of the 12-pack’s three beers. Inside includes a picture of the brewery’s late founder, Joe Petras, who passed away in 2012.

“I feel like we needed something new for the market,” said owner, Helen Petras, of the new packaging. “It gives you lots of information on the back.”

The new packaging is the first of a handful of changes planned for the 13-year-old brewery. The brewery is designing new labels for its Bohemian Czech Pilsener, Viennese Lager and Cherny Bock. These are Bohemian’s mainstay beers, though it also produces seasonal brews.

Bohemian has maintained a unique niche by following the German Beer Purity Law, using only malted barley, hops, yeast and water. For seasonal beers, they also use wheat. They also do not pasteurize their batches which, they say, destroys delicate flavors and aromas. And they age the beer instead of filtering it.

Helen said the brewery has also applied to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to brew high-point beer, though she was hesitant to say much more about that. “I would like to do high-point beer, but that depends on lots of things. That’s up to the liquor commission and that is a long wait. I might wait for a year,” she said. “I would like to give people choices, something new. We would come up with a new product.”

As for growing beyond the brewery’s sole Midvale location, that doesn’t seem likely. “I would like to expand but I’m too old for it. Come on, I’m a grandmother!”

The grandmother, and her late-husband, were recently given the Cernin Palace Medal on behalf of the Czech Republic. Czech Ambassador to the United States, Petr Gandalovič presented the award in January at a reception at the brewery, considered the largest privately-owned Czech restaurant in the U.S.

It was “a really big deal,” Petras said. “It’s for promoting [the] good name of the Czech Republic,” she said, referring not only to how they brew her native country’s beer, but also the food the brewery serves, including roast pork served with sauerkraut, brats and bread dumplings.

One thing that won’t change is how the beer is bottled, or, canned. Bohemian was one of the early adopters of aluminum cans for its craft beer and now others, including Utah’s Uinta, have joined the green bandwagon.