Zlata Zelová: I helped my brother from the start with whatever needed

When in 1992 Milan Metelka renewed the family liqueur tradition reaching back to 1934, he could rely on his nearest and dearest offering selfless help. But their support went beyond mere words, and they got involved directly in the building of the brand’s good name. His mother and father also worked in the liqueur factory in the humble conditions of a residential house in Moravské Prusy, for example they filled the bottles or stuck on labels, and at the start they gave him an old Lada car too. And because the Metelka family sticks close together, Milan’s sister Zlata Zelová also soon started to work in the family business. She has been an essential part of the firm for 26 years now.

“I helped my brother right from the start, even before the liqueur business was up and running. I assumed that I would join the firm in time, and that in view of my economics education I would mainly do bookkeeping. I was in charge of invoices, wages, personnel documents and also customs paperwork, and I ensured the transport of goods,” says about the difficult beginnings the cheerful lady, who the communist regime had let know that her father Bohumil had spent three years in the “Black Barons” penal brigade as an alleged member of the bourgeoisie. Due to her “class origin” she could not study for her leaving certificate at the Secondary School of Economics in Prostějov, and she could only study on the two-year programme. Thanks to her determination and doggedness she passed her school leaving examination later, while she was working, during three years of study at the school in Vyškov

In addition to ensuring all accountancy operations, from the very start she was her brother’s right-hand woman, a support and an essential assistant who helped ensure the practical running of the liqueur plant. The family was always the first to taste and rate all the liqueurs, the right recipes for which Milan Metelka searched for in his laboratory. “My favourite liqueurs are from the Milky range, specifically the types Whisky flavour, Caramel and Coffee, and I also like the griotte which my brother developed for the firm Bartida,” admits Zlata Zelová.

The situation changed a little after the liqueur company Metelka joined with the company R. Jelínek and the production of shifted from Moravské Prusy to a new hall in the Vizovice complex. “This meant a shift from double-entry bookkeeping, which another firm started to do for us. I started to help out in production. Then the firm moved to Vizovice and we opened Metelka Liquor Shop. Since then I have worked as the manager of this shop, and I also help out Milan as his assistant,” says Zlata Zelová, describing the changes in her work.

In the boutique shop in the historical centre of the Haná Versailles, as Vyškov is also called, she offers customers all the products of the Metelka liqueur plant and also select, rare or luxury liqueurs and spirits of other brands from the Czech Republic and the rest of the world. “It is interesting and varied work. I’m really glad that I’m in the shop and in contact with people. We have repeat customers where I know what they have come for, but also new ones coming to choose, to ask advice and chat,” says Milan Metelka’s sister about the only shop of its kind in central Moravia. And which of the Metelka liqueurs generates most interest? In her experience it is definitely St. Hubert‘s. “It is a really successful herbal liqueur, it is popular and sells well. “But I don’t drink it because I don’t like herbs,” says Zlata Zelová with a smile. In addition to the bricks and mortar shop, she is also in charge of the company e-shop and completing the necessary data for the company accountant and employment contracts and wages of all employees.

Although she enjoys her work in the Metelka Liquor Shop, she most of all enjoys spending time with her nearest and dearest. “I’m happiest when I’m at home with my family and mainly with my three grandchildren,” adds the cheerful grandmother.