RUDOLF JELÍNEK - Original Czech Distilleries

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R. J. Story

17th Century - The valley of plums

Plums have played an important role in the production of alcoholic beverages throughout central Europe for centuries. At the beginning of the 18th century there was a group of people in Bohemia (Czech Republic) who realized plums were very suitable for the production of a locally produced distilled spirit which eventually came to be known as slivovitz (plum brandy). According to old manuscripts and ledgers there were approximately seventy-thousand (70,000) plum trees known to be in existence at the time in the area surrounding Vizovice (Czech Republic). In fact so abundant was the fruit the area was known as The Valley of Plums.

1880 – Jakub Jelinek, The story begins

Jakub Jelinek, the grand father of the RUDOLF JELINEK, had been experiencing the art of distilling at the biggest distillery of Vizovice owned by Aron Eichen at that time.
He was in charge of the production.
Not long after him his son, Zikmund Jelinek, about whom we know that in 1882-1886 as a very young man (he was born in Luhačovice Spa in 1859) he was director of the distillery.

1894 – Zikmund Jelinek, Family distillery

In 1894 Zikmund Jelinek, the father of RUDOLF JELINEK, established the family tradition of distillers by the act of setting up the private distillery. Being one of the seven biggest distillers in the town, he as well specialized in the Fruit Spirits, namely SLIVOVITZ. Zikmund Jelinek Distillery exceeded its competitors by the quality of products and by outstanding business skills.

1921 – New generation, Zikmund Jeilnek Sons Inc.

In 1921 Zikmund leaves the well established business for his two sons : RUDOLF and VLADIMIR. They name the company ZIKMUND JELINEK SONS Inc. to the honour of their father.

1926 – R.JELINEK brand name was born

RUDOLF and VLADIMIR signed the agreement of splitting the business in 1926. The reason was the difference of strategic views. RUDOLF’s idea was to expand on the foreign markets and invest into the Brand.
From that moment the distillery bears the name RUDOLF JELINEK DISTILLERY, the name which will be later well known as SLIVOVITZ GURU not only in Europe.

1934 – USA Market entrance

The Export oriented strategy paid off. The R.JELINEK SLIVOVITZ found its first customers in the USA. The very first market for R.JELINEK SLIVOVITZ was New York. The picture shows the ad from the American Wine and Liquor Journal, January 1935.

1948 – The state owned period

For more than 40 following years the company was under the ownership and control of the State. Everything was state owned at that time. All former distilleries in Vizovice were merged under the umbrella of R.JELINEK. Luckily for the Brand the exports were never disconnected or damaged.

1994 – The tradition continues

Starting the year 1994, the company is again in private hands and successfully develops the historical brand of R.JELINEK. The grand nephew, Andre Lenard, keeps the family footmark, being the member of the Advisory board. The return to the US market was successfully ended by setting up the daughter company R.JELINEK USA Inc.