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the distillery history the museum

The city of Lancut (pronounced wine-tzoot in Polish) is tied to the history of the Lubomirski and Potocki families. Today Lancut is associated above all with Lancut Castle, the Carriage House and precious collections of paintings, sculpture and applied art. Less often recalled is its industry, which nevertheless has played no small role in the city's and the castle's history, bridging the old with the new, the past with the here and now.  

 To maintain this bond, to show what industry has meant to the growth of this city, a company museum was organised at the Lancut Distillery portraying the plant's traditions. It quickly became evident that this exhibition concept did not convey the significance of the distillery industry to the city and the Lancut estates, since its inception in 1784, so it was decided to revamp the company museum and thereby create the Distillery Museum, with a broader scope than the plant's "hall of tradition" had. The museum is located in a neo-classic manor designed by Ludwik Boguchwalski. Since 1970 the building has been maintained by the Lancut Distillery. The manor was built in 1883. Once it was the headquarters of the estate management. It is possible that the sugar-mill administration was housed there for a time. From 1925 the building ceased to be the management headquarters and became a residence.

After the Second World War the Farm Mechanisation Vocational Institute was installed there. The building was improperly used, and parts of it deteriorated. In 1993-1994, in concert with the Castle Museum in Lancut and the Museum of Factory Interiors in Lodz, it was decided to restore the manors appearance from its estate days, and to make the exhibition reflect the splendid epoch of Count Alfred Potocki's Privileged Distillery of Liqueurs, Rosoglios and Rum.

Adapting the dilapidated building for museum purposes demanded great effort. It was essential to renovate the manor's exterior, to search for exhibit items, and to research the original documentation.

Inside the museum, which is arranged in the style and spirit of the late nineteenth Century we can trace the distillery's growth and become acquainted with its everyday life. There are photographs, old documents, diplomas, labels from the past, bottles with sometimes ornate shapes price lists, measurement glassware, glasses used for tastings, and antique machinery -from Lancut and from other parts of Poland.
A model takes us through the whole gamut of work involved in distillation, from start to finish. All the objects collected here, witnesses to days gone by, tell the distillery's story best: its successes at grand international expositions, its share in the life of this city.

The museum's windows are adorned with stained glass showing the coats of arms of two families important to Lancut, the Lubomirskis and the Potockis. In the office, furnished with late nineteenth-century furniture, there is a guest book on the desk for museum visitors to sign, on the walls of the fireplace room are portraits of the Potockis, copies of the ones in Lancut Castle. Along the walls of other rooms are exhibits depicting the history of the Polish distillery industry outside of Lancut. Closing the circle we have travelled and capping the time we have spent, the exposition features a collection of the beverages produced today.

The Manor museum is surrounded by a park. In front of the building are two white benches inviting you to rest. Nearby one of the most modern distilleries in Poland bustles through its regular shifts. And once again the past meets the here and now.

written by Joanna Bojarska