The brewery started operating in 1856. It was owned by the Habsburgs until it was confiscated by the post-WWII Communist government of Poland. At the beginning of the 1990s a court case was started by the descendants of the original owners, who sued the Polish government demanding $77 million compensation for the nationalisation and the use of the Habsburg family name and coat of arms for marketing purposes. The case was settled out of court on undisclosed terms in December 2005.
Żywiec Brewery began distribution to other towns of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1913. In the 1990s, the brewery was acquired by Heineken International and was also thoroughly modernized. It is currently considered to be one of the most modern breweries in the world. Żywiec Beer has become a symbol of Polish pride and Polish recognition for many Poles
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