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Facts that you always wanted
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Visiting Jan Vokurka and Kitl s.r.o. in the Czech Republic 🇨🇿

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Jan Vokurka in Liberec, Czech Republic, near the German-Polish border. Jan and I share not only a friendship, but also an interest in water. Like me, he is a Certified Water Sommelier and the CEO of Kitl, a company that sells homemade syrups. The company also owns the mineral water brand Vratislavická Kyselka. Some may still know it as Maffersdorfer Sauerbrunn.

Postcard from Maffersdorf Sauerbrunn

I visited Jan not only for the sake of friendship, but also to hear the incredible story of this well told again. After all, what was once a ruin is now a modern operation. But first let's take a big step back, to the 19th century.

In 1862, Karl Skollaude was looking for a pump well for his textile factory. He quickly found one nearby. But the water tasted strange, which was blamed on the new pump pipe or gunpowder. Since the taste did not change even after a long time, the water was used for its original purpose. In the textile factory.

Maffersdorfer Sauerbrunn in 1902

Three years later, when Skollaude's mother told him that the water tasted similar to the water in Bad Liebwerda, he had it tested. The chemical analysis showed that the water was alkaline with a high iron content. As a result, the owner had the well properly enclosed and built a small bathhouse. They also began to bottle the water.

Later, the spa changed hands. Anton Porsche - the father of Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of the sports car manufacturer of the same name - became a general partner. Despite all the successes, the company suffered a setback during the First World War. Even the successful reconstruction was short-lived, as the Second World War brought it to an end.

Jan Vorkurka, CEO of Kitl s.r.o. in 2018

In August 2018, Jan took over the "golden" ruin, as I call it. He remembers his childhood well, riding the tram past the fountain and drinking water from the well with his aunt. The grounds and buildings, a magical place for him, had been neglected for decades and were in very poor condition. First, it took almost four months to clear the old production hall of his "legacy". Only then could the restoration begin.

Since July 2022, the iron-rich mineral water (at source discharge approx. 15 mg per liter) has been bottled again. Because iron oxidizes in combination with oxygen and discolors the water, it is filtered out before bottling. I was allowed to taste the water before filtering and compare it to the final product. Very interesting to taste the iron in the water.

Jan fills his water in glass bottles not only for environmental reasons. He also wants to stand out from the competition on the Czech water market. The high iron content is not the only special feature of the mineral water. It also contains natural carbon dioxide. At the source, it has 12,000 mg per liter (in comparison: Gerolsteiner Sprudel has 7,000 mg per liter). Unlike mineral water with added carbon dioxide, it remains in the water even hours after the bottle is opened. As a Water Sommelier, I can even say that you can taste the difference between natural and added carbonation.

A look at the label also reveals that it is a water rich in sodium, calcium and bicarbonate. I could imagine that Vratislavická Kyselka would go very well with dry or semi-dry white wines. With a silica content of 102 mg per liter, it is also an excellent beauty water. It is known that silica is good for skin, hair and nails 😉. In total, the water contains 1,340 mg of minerals per liter.

Jan Vokurka, Maffendorfer Sauerbrunn Vratislavicka Kyselka Mineral Water

Driven by the vision of a sustainable company, he has also started to introduce a deposit system for his glass bottles. What has been taken for granted in Germany since 2006 is still a rarity in the Czech Republic - at least for bottled water. To achieve this, Jan had to spend a lot of money and invest in a fully automatic bottle washer. He is convinced that this is the right step for the Vratislavická Kyselka brand and that this decision will further boost the success of his company.

Jan also wants transparency, so he can show guests live how the water is arriving at the plant, at what temperature, how much water is in the tank, and so on. All the data will be available on a monitor.

His next step is to bring the Vratislavická Kyselka brand back to Germany and restore the old bathhouse. In the future, it will serve as an office building for him and his employees. With his passion, energy and tireless drive, I have no doubt that he will succeed.

Thank you Jan for your hospitality and the tour of your company.

Timo Bausch and Jan Vorkurs, two Water Sommeliers

Many greetings

Timo Bausch

Certified Water Sommelier



About Timo Bausch

My fascination with mineral waters began in 2016 during my training as a Water Sommelier. Since then, I have been exploring the characteristics and diversity of water. In addition to pairing water with food, wine, coffee and other beverages, I offer the creation of water menus for restaurants and hotels. Furthermore, it is also important to me to draw attention to the importance of drinking water.


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