Barn again: a Bohemian village distillery offers a spiritual conversion with a fruity kick

Barn again: a Bohemian village distillery offers a spiritual conversion with a fruity kick

When Czech entrepreneur David Voverka decided to open his own distillery, Javornická Palírna, in a converted pub in South Bohemia, he wanted the production facility to be as beautiful as the product. For years, Voverka had been a frequent visitor to Scotland and its scenic whisky distilleries. ‘The distilleries of many renowned Scottish brands stand right beside the sea or lonely in the serene landscape. You come in and you feel the atmosphere, the history and craft. These magical moments inspired me to start making quality spirits on my own,’ says Voverka, who also runs a successful delivery service in Prague.

In 2011, he and his wife bought a collection of buildings – a former pub and dance hall and a farmhouse – in the village of Javornice, where they also own a summer cottage, with a view to converting them and producing traditional Czech fruit distillates.

To realise his ambitions for the product and the premises, he called on a few creative friends. Internationally acclaimed product design and architecture studio Olgoj Chorchoj was enlisted to create a distinctive bottle, while graphic designers Otakar Karlas and Zuzana Vojtová oversaw the distillery’s brand identity, taking inspiration from historical alcohol labels.

ADR’s wooden extension and new building (front right), with the farmhouse in the background

Prague-based architecture studio ADR, meanwhile, undertook the renovation project, creating a minimal and sleek complex, completed last year, that embraces history as well as modernity and is at one with its surroundings.

The architects added a barn-like extension to the farmhouse and constructed a new white-painted brick volume to house the distillery production facilities, creating an enclosed and protected courtyard between the old and new buildings. Inside the new structure, industrial-looking black detailing contrasts with the white-painted brick and wooden panelling. Upstairs, the pared-back guest bedrooms, reached by an impressive steel staircase, are used to accommodate friends and special clients.

The distillery complex also includes a shop, a fruit store and a refrigerated fermentation plant. Rooms in the original buildings were renovated with a nod to the village location. The restoration of the former pub and dance hall, for example, included decorative wallpapers, a traditional counter with a beer tap, a wood-burning stove, a vintage cash box and red-painted window frames. These spaces are now open occasionally for special events and social gatherings.

As for the product, the brand buys select fruit from local farmers – cherries, pears, plums or whatever is available of high enough quality at the time – and Voverka works with his family and friends to produce a very limited number of bottles of fruit distillate each year, which are available to buy from the distillery website or at its shop.

As originally featured in the June 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*219)

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