In 1782 the Baczewski family opened a distillery in a small suburb of Lwów, Poland. It has since been recognized as the oldest Polish distillery.
In 1810 it was one of four distilleries in the city, but as it pioneered new technologies, such as double rectification process, it stood out from the pack and produced clearer and smoother spirits. By the end of the 19th century, the founders great grandson Józef Adam Baczewski took over the operation and left it to his two sons after his death in 1911. One was a chemical expert from the Vienna University, the other a lawyer, and together they divided the factory among each other into production and marketing leaving the company in their fathers name. With a well marketed brand and ever increasing production, the Baczewski brand grew so popular that in many peoms and books written at the time the name Baczewski became a synonym for vodka.
The factory was bombed during the Battle of Lwów by Germany’s Luftwaffe in 1939 and what was left of the factory was leveled to make room for a paper factory. The Baczewski name lived on as a sign of quality and even 30 years after the war the last of the spirits sold at huge prices.
After the war, Eduard Gessler, a distant relative of the Baczewski family, reacquired the J.A. Baczewski brand and made its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. It is there that Vodka Monopolowa was introduced. Monopolowa is a distinct potato vodka made from a traditional formula that relies heavily on the idea of “back to basics” tradition of being distilled from potatoes. The Monopolowa brand has been in production till this day.
We had the pleasure of drinking the J.A. Baczewski vodka over the weekend and I have to admit, as a non-vodka drinker, that it was pretty damn good. It was very smooth, so smooth in fact that it didn’t require a chaser. The classic bottle with well designed art highlights what’s to be found inside. I liked it a lot and if it wasn’t so damn expensive I’m sure we would drink it at parties more often.