It looks like everything around the Metelka family is about a tradition, a family, a craft, and Vyškov. It’s perfectly noticeable when you speak with Mrs. Zlata Metelková, the mother of Milan Metelka. She was born in Považská Bystrica in Slovakia, then she lived in Šternberk and Bílá Voda near Jeseník. However, Vyškov has a special place in her heart because her mother was born there.
‘My brother and I used to visit our grandmother in Vyškov. I even remember being there as a small girl dressed in a Haná folk costume welcoming former president Edvard Beneš in 1946,’ recalls the energetic lady whom you wouldn’t guess the age of 82. Eventually, she met her husband Bohumil Metelka in Vyškov and soon their two children Zlata and Milan were born. Their son has decided to continue in the family tradition of liqueur craft and the circle is closed.
She was seventeen when she met her husband on the ball in Vyškov. At that time, Bohumil Metelka was back home after three years of working in the Hedvika mine in Ostrava. He graduated from Prague’s liqueur school and then he was sent to a technical auxiliary battalion because he was considered to be a member of the ‘bourgeois youth’ by communists.
At that time, the original Metelka Company was nationalized and transformed to a pub. The state took over alcohol production and all private companies lost their licenses. ‘This made a huge impact on my husband’s life. With the name Metelka he only could work as a waiter, never a manager,’ she wonders about vile methods of the former communist regime. ‘After a long time, he managed to get a better job in the officer’s restaurant Kozina in Vyškov. The situation really got better,’ says the vital lady who used to work as a saleswoman.
The whole family helped in the liqueur company
The liqueur tradition of the Metelka family has been preserved thanks to their son Milan Metelka, who started to his own business after the Velvet revolution. ‘He used to work in Kozina too, but he wasn’t satisfied there. My husband told him about the liqueur school and about the old liqueur company. Milan decided to try it himself and he was so into it soon. What information my husband didn’t remember, Milan was able to find in many bought and borrowed books,’ Zlata Metelková remembers the beginnings of 90s. During that time, her son started his liqueur company in a house that his wife Vladimíra inherited in Moravské Prusy near Vyškov.
The beginnings were difficult. But we are the Metelka family, we stuck together.
“We helped as much as we could. At first, my husband and I were the only ones who helped him. He had to buy all equipments, containers, and machines. We did everything by hand. My husband was filling the bottles and I used to stick labels. Milan didn’t even have a car, so we gave him our old sedan car,”describes the initial difficulties. And Mrs. Zlata points out that Milan used to drive and deliver rum, slivovitz, and vodka to local shops.
The most popular drink? Griotte and Hubert
Thanks to enthusiasm and perseverance of Milan Metelka, and his ability to invent successful new recipes of alcohol beverages, the situation slowly began to get better. His sister started to help in the liqueur factory, the number of casual workers increased and we switched to two-shift work process. ‘Milan bought another house. We called it a ‘cream house’ because we used to cook liqueurs there. We started to produce Hubert which soon became popular, or tasty griotte and our excellent eggnog,’ she names the beverages by which Milan Metelka enriched his portfolio. She likes griotte and Saint Hubert’s Liqueur the most. ‘During the summer, I like to spend time in the cottage near Vranovská přehrada and luckily, my two cousins have a cottage there. So when we meet together, we always enjoy a few glasses,’ she smiles.
She helped to stick labels and stamps until 2015, until the production moved to the premises of Rudolf Jelínek in Vizovice. But she enjoys her retirement and her large family these days. ‘I have such good children because they will take care of me. I’m happy to have four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren,’ says happily Zlata Metelková.