The long history of the ILGEZEEM brewery goes back to 1863 when the first ILGEZEEM facility was built in Riga suburb Hilgezeem. Production of beer was booming that days. No later than 1870 the TANHEIZERS brewery was founded just across the ILGEZEEM brewery.
The brewery was named TANHEIZERS for a reason – Richard Wagner, the great German composer, who was the compositor of the “Tannhäuser” opera (1845), was on holiday in Riga at that time. The people of Riga didn’t miss to see a connection between the legendary composer and the name of the brewery.
By the end of the 19th century number of breweries in Latvia had grown sharply. In 1913 they established a public limited company.
At that time the ILGEZEEM brewery produced malt for other breweries that brewed Pilzenes lager.
The key phases of our process are:
- Boiling and hopping
- Fermentation, after-fermentation, and ripening
- Filtration and filling.
In 1915 – 1916 most breweries were destroyed and had to stop production. The ILGEZEEM brewery met the same fate – its cellars were partly ruined and the equipment in the brewing room was dismantled. In 1915 the brewery was closed and its equipment was transported to Russia.
In the 30’s the ILGEZEEM and TANHEIZERS breweries were nationalised and totally reconstructed between 1938 and 1939.
After the WWII the renewed brewery started to thrive – production of beer and soft drinks increased, the brewery’s capacity expanded, the new popular beer brands such as “Iļģuciema tumšais” and “”Dižalus” were developed and launched.
The “Veselība” and “Iesala” soft drinks produced from brewery’s own malt were also extremely popular among customers.
At the same time production of malt extract started.
Much attention was paid to scientific studies and production development. The personnel of the brewery frequently presented their innovations at the VDNK exhibition centre in Moscow where they obtained recognition and awards. In the 60’s the ILGEZEEM brewery got very popular in Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, when in partnership with the LLA professionals it created the first in the USSR experimental vertical malt.
Back then the brewery’s yearly production capacity was staggering: 1,500 tons of drinks, 1.3 million litres of beer, 400,000 litres of soft drinks, and 750 tons of malt extract.
In the 60’s – 90’s the brewery produced the famous “Dižalustumšais” and “Martas” beer. Best in Riga, and rightly so!
As a result, the Iļģuciema kvass and Veselība drink, very popular in Latvia, returned to the soft drink market.
In 2007 the company returned to its historical name – ILGEZEEM. In 2013 ILGEZEEM brewery celebrated its 150th anniversary.
In the course of time the product range is expanded with new products.