|In 1805, Count Pletenberg-Mietingen came to Karlovy Vary to be treated at its medicinal springs. As was common at that time, the Count's personal physician, Dr. Frobrig accompanied him. As chance or fate would have it, both gentlemen found their accommodation in the Becher family house called 'The Three Skylarks' in Trzni street. In the same house, pharmacist Josef Becher had his pharmacy of high repute.|
Dr. Frobrig soon made friends with Josef Becher and they spent most of their time in Becher's pharmacy. They shared a great passion for mixing herbs, aromatic oils and alcohol. By the time Dr. Frobrig left Karlovy Vary, both gentlemen had already conducted many experiments. After his companion's departure, Josef Becher found in one recipe a typically English note by doctor Frobrig: 'I am quite satisfied with this.' From that time on, Josef Becher dedicated every free moment to the development of Dr. Frobrig's recipe.
Success came in 1807, when the recipe for the original digestive liquor was born. Josef Becher began producing the liquor in his pharmacy and sold it as digestive drops under the name of Carlsbader English Bitter. The 'digestive drops' were first sold in small glass medicine bottles; Josef Becher began filling them in larger, 0.5-liter bottles in 1810. Josef Becher operated his business, whose profitability kept increasing, until 1841. Just before his death he entrusted the mysterious recipe for the beverage's production only to his son and heir, Johann.
Johann Becher soon proved to be not only the proper guardian for the recipe but also an excellent businessman. He built a new factory, equipped it with modern machines and, in 1876, commissioned his brother-in-law Karel Laub from Karlovy Vary to design flat bottles with their own labels. These typical bottles are used to this day.
At that time, Becherovka was sold under the name of English Bitter or also Becher Bitter. At the end of the 19th century, Johann's son Gustav Becher unified the name and, with great foresight, registered the trademark Johann Becher. Already at that time Becherovka faced a real threat from cheap and imperfect imitations.
Rudolf Becher, the next successor to the throne of the family empire, deserves the highest credit for the Becherovka repute reaching beyond the borders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1907, Becherovka celebrated its 100th anniversary. On this occasion the company introduced new bottles - still with the typical shape, but green. This guaranteed that the beverage would permanently keep its golden colour in the bottles. During this period the drink's name settled on Becher Bitter, for the first time appearing on the familiar yellow-blue label.
Thanks to its supplying the army with special military rations, Becherovka's popularity and production increased in World War I. The disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918 gave birth to an independent Czechoslovakia - and with it the birth of 'Becherovka.' Between the wars, the market again blossomed and Becherovka survived World War II. In 1945 the family company was nationalized and remained in the state's hands until 1997. Today, the Jan Becher company and its flagship Becherovka are part of Pernod Ricard, the world's third-largest producer of distilled liquors and wine.
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