The Fischl & Rosenbaum spirits distillery, later to be called Fischl & Sons, then Zlichovsky Lihovar and now Zlaty Lihovar, was built as a spirits distillery in the early 1800’s - it is believed 1836 - under the name of its founding partners.

The location was specifically selected for its convenient access to the Vltava river, the railway lines leading south from Smichov Station, the road network, and its proximity to the commercial centre of the city of Prague. It also offered land for future expansion. As the spirits company grew the railway became the principal means for the incoming raw materials and the outgoing finished products and a railway track was soon built from the distillery site to join the main railway line just south of Smichov Station. Cargo wagons could then be hauled alongside the distillery buildings for on/off loading.

The most prominent and oldest remaining feature of the original distillery is the Varna distillery building, where distillation towers were housed that concentrated the spirit up to 99.6% alcohol purity. Zlichov Distillery in 1925
This building is 24 metres and five stories high and stands as a dominant historical feature on Nadrazni Street. The impressive 50 metre high polygonal brick chimney stands in the centre of the site alongside the boiler house and coal storage bins evidencing the large energy requirement of the manufacturing processes. As output increased and industrialisation and mechanisation progressed, the energy requirement of new machinery grew and oil replaced coal to fire the boiler. In later years the oil was replaced by gas. To this day, the chimney is a distinctive recognisable Prague landmark for travellers approaching from the south.

During the early 1900’s additional new buildings were constructed on the site encompassing manufacturing, warehousing, fermentation & storage tanks, bottling and packing halls, as well as administration offices. The site also includes very substantial underground cellars for the fermentation and aging of spirits in large wooden barrels and steel tanks. In 1939 the German’s seized the distillery due to its Jewish ownership and in 1946 it was taken over by the Czechoslovak State.

KOLI yard with bottlesIn 1950, the company was incorporated into a State owned industrial food group known as KOLI (Konzervarny a Lihovary) which included food processing, canning and pickling/preservation and a large central food testing and analysis laboratory was set up on the site for servicing all of the KOLI companies. In the post war years, as well as spirits, the company expanded production to vinegar, ultimately to become the largest vinegar producer in the Czech Republic with an output of some 60% of total national production. During the communist years when the company was State owned, little new financial investment was made but the company continued to produce spirits and vinegar as well as other alcoholic drinks such as rum and flavoured vodka for local consumption. In the late 1990’s, after the Velvet Revolution, KOLI experienced economic difficulties and finally it went into bankruptcy.

In March 1999, some of the assets of KOLI, including the Zlichovsky Lihovar site in Smichov, were sold to Zlaty Lihovar a.s., a new company owned and controlled by an overseas investment group in a privatisation sale. Under new management, Zlaty Lihovar a.s. restarted production of spirits and vinegar but continued to experience economic difficulties in re-establishing its market place and in 2000 production of spirits finally ceased, followed in 2001 by closure of all production and sales activities.

In 2001 the company appointed Professor Tomas Senberger, Dean of Construction at the Technical University of Prague to undertake a full historical survey of the Zlichovsky Lihovar site and advise on the potential for the preservation and 
kominreconstruction of significant buildings on the site. As a result of a very comprehensive Varna 2015report, it was subsequently concluded and approved by the Ministry of Culture, that both the original Varna distillery building on Nadrazni Street and the 50 metre high brick chimney were worthy of preservation. In the same year, architects were also commissioned to develop a scheme for a future development on the Zlichovsky Lihovar site and an application was lodged for a change of use from industrial to mixed-use. The new zoning designation SV-I was approved in mid-2004. In the following few years several development options for the site were evaluated but finally the worldwide recession began in 2007 and all activity was suspended.

In mid-2014 a new study was commissioned by Zlaty Lihovar a.s. to evaluate the Prague construction market and subsequently in early 2015 the decision was made to appoint architects and commence a new project for the site.