News - Plzeňsky Prazdroj a.s., AB InBev Group

News - Plzeňsky Prazdroj a.s., AB InBev Group

Plzeňsky Prazdroj a.s., AB InBev Group

Czech RepublicPlzeň


News - Plzeňsky Prazdroj a.s., AB InBev Group


The Czech Republic: Brewers seeking to lure consumers with new concept bars  (

For generations, Czechs have consumed world-beating volumes of beer in the smoky, wood-panelled rooms of their local pubs, all but indistinguishable from each other bar the brand of lager flowing from the taps.

But tastes are changing, Reuters reported on June 5.

Czechs are increasingly shunning fusty old watering holes and draft beer sales are sliding, so the world-famous brewers of pilsner are looking to inject some pizzazz into the traditional pub and attract younger patrons looking for a hip, modern feel.

“I don’t remember the last time I was in a traditional Czech pub,” said Marcel, a 35-year-old IT worker sipping a beer in Prague’s upcoming Karlin neighborhood which is crammed with trendy bars, cafes and restaurants.

People like Marcel are the kinds of drinkers with disposable income that breweries such as Plzensky Prazdroj, the maker of Pilsner Urquell, are seeking to lure back with new concept bars designed to recharge the traditional Czech pub.

The brewery, owned by Japan’s Asahi, plans to open its first “Pilsnerka” bar catering to the hipster crowd in the capital Prague in the coming months. It also plans to launch about 20 pubs this year tied to other beers in its portfolio such as Kozel, the company said.

The designs put more emphasis on space and lighter materials to create a brighter pub atmosphere that the company hopes will appeal to the younger generation, as well as women and families.

Two-thirds of the beer drunk by Czechs is now consumed at home, a figure that has grown steadily since 2003. With margins on supermarket sales far lower than for draft beer, getting people back into pubs is seen as key for the breweries.

“Consumers are changing so this is a big opportunity to bring something new to the market,” said Tomas Mraz, sales director at Plzensky Prazdroj.

“When you go to a standard pub you might get an old guy serving you beer. With the new concept you are more likely to get somebody young with tattoos serving the beer,” he said.

Since 2009, Czechs have consumed more beer at home than in pubs, according to the Czech Beer and Malt Association. Last year, pub sales hit their lowest level in at least a quarter of a century after declining steadily from a peak in 2003.

“Breweries are going all out to make their draft beers and pubs attractive to younger consumers who have many more choices these days,” said Martina Ferencova, who heads the Czech Beer and Malt Association.

The Czech Republic still leads the world in beer consumption, downing 141 litres per person per year, but the shift away from drinking in pubs is a problem for brewers as the margins on bottled beer drunk at home are far lower.

“Breweries are investing in new pub concepts primarily due to the annual decline in on-trade, draft beer,” said Ferencova. “Consumers are also demanding more.”

Besides the shift to home drinking, partly boosted by a ban on smoking in 2017, traditional pubs are also up against more wine and cocktail bars favored by some younger drinkers.

A new electronic ordering system introduced in 2016 to track sales - and make sure pubs and restaurants paid all taxes due - also forced a number of pubs to go under.

Currently, around 65 percent of the beer sold in the Czech Republic is in stores, a figure on the rise and one Prazdroj and other breweries believe will continue to increase.

With domestic consumption tepid, breweries have looked to foreign markets to offset declines at home and exports jumped nearly 12 percent in 2018. But getting Czechs back to the pub remains key, beer makers and industry officials say.

“I don’t need to sit on golden chairs or old carved creaky furniture,” said Zdenek Borecky while sipping a beer at one of Prazdroj’s new “Plzenka” pubs which hew more closely to tradition than the Pilsnerka concept being rolled out this year.

It’s not just the big brands looking to showcase their beers in the pub, where breweries say they can present their products best to customers.

Local brewery Bernard said discounts and promotions were boosting sales in supermarkets but turning bottled beers into unprofitable products.

As a result, it and other small breweries are focusing on selling beer in branded restaurants and launching concept bars.

The brewery has seven branded pubs and is looking to expand outside the Czech Republic with a location in Slovakia. It is also launching a more modern design called Bernard Bar in the capital Prague and two other Czech cities in 2019.

“Every economically strong brewery is trying to build branded restaurants because it is a direct way to reach customers,” said Ales Pavlik, Bernard brewery’s head of franchising.

Increasingly demanding consumers and a shifting beer landscape is also spurring Staropramen, the pioneer of the country’s first branded pub, to branch out from its Potrefena Husa chain launched 20 years ago to showcase its beers.

Staropramen, which is owned by Molson Coors and now has 45 pubs connected to four of its brands, is working on a new bar concept but declined to go into further details.

“Consumers are more demanding than before, they have less time and once they decide to visit a pub or restaurant they expect a certain standard,” said Jan Trochta, head of the company’s branded pub division.


The Czech Republic: Leading breweries announce price hikes  (

Czechs will soon have to fork out more for the nation’s most popular alcoholic beverage. Large breweries have announces a rise in beer prices as of October and others are waiting for the price of hops and malt to stabilize before making a similar announcement, Radio Prague reported on September 11.

Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery has announced a 3.7 percent increase in the price of some of its bottled brands as of October 1st. The price of barrel and tank beer sold on tap should stay the same, as should the company’s ten-degree beers Gambrinus and Radegast which have been somewhat overshadowed by the arrival of 11 and 12 degree brands. According to the company’s spokeswoman Jitka Nemečková the hike is due to higher production costs.

The Bernard family beer company and the Primator brewery in Náchod have also announced price hikes in the coming weeks and the famous Budvar brewery has indicated a likely price increase as of next year. Some of these breweries are waiting for the price of malt, hops and other ingredients to stabilize before specifying the extent of the hike.

A drought in central Europe this summer has seen the production of the famous Czech hops that give local brews their distinctive flavours drop by around 30 percent. To what extent this may affect the price of hops is not yet clear. The Staropramen brewery which alone has not announced a hike says that the situation on the market could change its decision.

According to a member of the board of Czech mini-breweries Radovan Koudelka an increase in beer prices across the board is inevitable since the current prices are ridiculously low. Meanwhile Martina Ferencová, head of the Czech Association of Breweries and Malt Houses has rejected the idea of a cartel agreement which would push up the price of beer nation-wide.

The Czech Republic has topped the per capita beer drinking ladder for 24 consecutive years. Czechs annually drink on average 143.3 litres of the golden brew per person.


The Czech Republic: Sale of Plzeňský Prazdroj to Asahi Group questioned by Pilsen-based ...  (

... association Právovarečné měšťanstvo

The Pilsen-based association Právovarečné měšťanstvo is questioning the sale of the Czech brewery Plzeňský Prazdroj to the Japanese company Asahi Group Holdings, the news site has reported.

The group has appealed to European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestagler, asking her to suspend the sale, arguing that it has been leading a legal dispute over the ownership of part of its property. Karel Svoboda, the head of the Právovarečné měšťanstvo association, told the news site that they were very concerned about the issue.

Právovarečné měšťanstvo is demanding its property rights for the Měšťanský pivovar brewery in Pilsen, which was built by the association back in 1842 and which is today part of the Plzeňský Prazdroj company, are recognised.

Asahi Group Holdings, Japan’s biggest brewery group, has won the bidding competition to acquire the biggest Czech beer producer in December 2016.

The Group has provisionally picked up the Czech brewer as part of a package of Central European beer makers put up for sale by the multinational SABMiller. This also comprised breweries in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia with the price tag for the job lot put at 7.3 billion euros (around 197 billion Czech crowns).

The sell-off was forced on SABMiller by the European Commission as part of the price for its takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which Brussels feared would create dominant positions and curb competition on a series of European markets while commanding around 27 percent of the world beer market.

If the Japanese offer completes the course, then Asahi Group Holdings would, according to sources, appear to have comfortably outbid a rival offer for the brewery by the richest Czech, Petr Kellner, of the PPF group in partnership with the Czech-Slovak bank J&T.

Asahi earlier picked up some of SABMiller’s assets as part of the group divestment, for example, the Italian beer brand Peroni and Dutch brand Grolsh. This was already seen by analysts as a indication that Asahi was willing to spend freely and pick up European assets as part of its worldwide expansion.

In the past, Asahi was reported as one of the potential bidders for Prague’s Staropramen brewery, the second biggest in the country, when it was put up for sale in 2012. The eventual winner of that contest was Molson Coors. Staropramen though is licensed to Asahi dry to sell on European markets, it’s one of the Japanese brewery’s biggest and best selling brands.

Asahi is reckoned to have exhausted most of the beer market possibilities on its Japanese domestic market by the late 1990s. It has since expanded into drinks, snacks, and food in Japan, and has expanded abroad through an aggressive merger and acquisition policy. It began life in 1889 after borrowing largely from German beer know-how and technology.

Plzeňský Prazdroj’s profits for last year, ending in March, rose five percent to 3.7 billion crowns with turnover climbing slightly slower to around 14.4 billion crowns. SABMiller had pinpointed Plzeňský Prazdroj to become one of its major brands worldwide, though many analysts believed that all the promotion and marketing promises were only partially fulfilled.

The Plzeň brewer has been in Japanese hands before, though these are not likely to be happy memories. Plzeňský Prazdroj’s majority owner was at one stage in the hands of the investment group Nomura, though it always openly admitted that this was never a long-term strategic investment and that it would quit once the price for getting out was right. The latest transaction should be completed by December 2017.


The Czech Republic: Pub beer prices may rise as government launches online sales-reporting system  (

The Czech government launched an online sales-reporting system on December 1 for around 40,000 bars, restaurants and hotels in a bid to cut tax avoidance, but raising concern that prices will jump and many pubs at the centre of village life around the country will close, Reuters reported.

The "EET" system requires outlets to report every transaction online and print out a receipt that can be matched against its transaction database.

The Finance Ministry is hoping to bring in up to 660 million euros in extra tax revenue a year once the system is extended to all retail outlets over the next two years. The value-added tax on meals has been cut to 15 percent from 21 percent to help pubs bear the cost.

The chamber of commerce has been supportive of the law as it will help honest businesses. But small-business representatives say the costs of getting cash registers, Internet connections and running the system will be too high in an already stretched sector.

Plzensky Prazdroj, the largest brewery group and maker of Pilsner Urqell, said hundreds of pub customers have stopped ordering kegs, indicating that at least some were closing.

"It has been mostly smaller and countryside pubs, which do not serve hot meals," said Tomas Mraz, head of restaurant sales at the brewery. "We expect the main impact from EET will come at year-end."

The Czech Republic, home to the original pilsner lager, has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world at around 140 litres annually. A world-topping 40 percent of that is draught beer in pubs, which are often the centre of social life.

Supporters of the system say that those closing down probably include many that failed to declare income for value-added tax and used unreported revenue to pay staff under the table, avoiding payroll taxes.

"The project is a success if only because it levels the business environment," Babis told Lidove Noviny newspaper on Thursday. "EET will instantly straighten wages in the restaurant business."

Pubs, which often supplement their income with slot machines, have already been under pressure from tougher gambling regulations, and some fear a planned smoking ban would be another blow.

"(EET) is just another hit. Nobody in the business, perhaps apart from large hotels, has been declaring full revenue," one restaurant owner from the east of the country told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He is closing his business.

An owner of several mid-range Prague restaurants said prices were going up to make up for the extra costs. "People I know are raising prices by about 10 percent," he said.


The Czech Republic: The Czech Republic's Plzeňský Prazdroj up for sale among other SABMiller assets  (

Czech brewing jewel Plzeňský Prazdroj is going up for sale. That’s the result of the go ahead from the European Commission to the massive worldwide beer deal under which global market leader InBev acquires its nearest rival SABMiller. Plzeňský Prazdroj has been in the hands of South Africa’s SAB since 1999, Radio Prague reported on May 26.

Competition watchdogs in Brussels have in fact ordered InBev to offload almost all of SABMiller’s European portfolio after looking aghast at the possible impact on the market and the likelihood that curbed competition would force up beer prices.

InBev had initially wanted to hold onto its Czech and Central European assets but they came onto the table when the European Commission maintained that its initial list of concessions were insufficient.

Plzeňský Prazdroj accounts for around a third of beer sales on the Czech market. The brand and brewery was SABMiller’s most profitable in Central Europe and had built up strong export sales across the continent. Operating profit for 2015 came to 183 million euros.

According to industry observers, the Czech assets could be sold as part of a Central European package or on their own. InBev has some time to play with, it is due to take over the SABMiller assets by the end of the year.

The most likely takers, European leading brewers Heineken and Carlsberg, are likely to face the some sort of worries and qualms from the competition authorities that sparked the original forced SABMiller sell-off in the first place.

That could, according to some analysts, open the way for Asian breweries to snap up some more European brands. Japan’s Asahi has already been active in the recent past with such purchases.

As well as breweries, investment and pension funds are also reckoned to be possible buyers given the low risk steady earnings potential of beer producers and fact that low interest rates make almost any asset with moderate earnings a potential investment option these days.

Plzeňský Prazdroj on its own could fetch around 60 billion crowns according to some analysts. The Lobkowicz brewery group, reckoned to be the fourth biggest brewery group in the Czech Republic, was last year sold to Chinese investor Lapasan for 1.9 billion crowns.

Lobkowicz’s total annual production is around a tenth of Plzeňský Prazdroj’s and lacks the brand names and export markets that Prazdroj has developed over many decades.


The Czech Republic & Russia: Czech brewers see exports to Russia fall due ...  (

... to the financial crisis

A Russian fashion for imported beers meant a boon for Czech breweries a few years back. However, the economic crisis of the last two years and restrictions on marketing have led to a marked fall in exports of Czech lager to the world’s biggest country, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported.

In 2014, 10.2 percent of Czech beer exports went to Russia, making it the third biggest export market for brewers in this part of the world. Last year that share fell to 5.5 percent, with the Russians placing fifth among importers.

The fall in the price of oil and international sanctions caused the collapse of the rouble in the second half of 2014.

The financial crisis that has followed has forced Russians to tighten their belts and many beer drinkers have switched to cheaper, locally produced brands.

A representative of Budějovický Budvar, Jiří Pekhart, told Hospodářské noviny that its sales in Russia had fallen by almost half last year. Fellow Czech brewer Bernard reported a similar situation.

The three biggest Czech firms on the market, Plzeňský Prazdroj, Staropramen and Krušovice, all of which have brewing facilities in the country, have also seen declines.

Indeed, data from the Czech Statistics Office and the customs authority shows that Czech exports to Russia fell by over a third in volume and even more in value in 2015.

The downturn is expected to continue this year, Hospodářské noviny said.

Czech lagers such as Pilsner Urquell and Krušovice have been sold as premium products in Russia and have always been more expensive than local brews.

However, that gap has widened thanks to the weakness of the rouble. Bottled Czech imports are now up to 10 times more expensive than Russian bottled beers, Jiří Pekhart of Budějovický Budvar said.

The Czech brands with breweries in Russia see increasing local production as their best shot at remaining competitive. Budvar is also offering pubs smaller barrels in reaction to the fall in consumption.

However, the rouble’s problems aren’t the only reason Czech breweries are seeing their sales take a nosedive.

Last year President Vladimir Putin accused breweries of being to blame for alcoholism. This in a country which did not even classify beer as alcohol until 2010.

A ban was introduced on selling beer at street kiosks or after 10 PM. There is now talk of outlawing the sale of beer in plastic battles.

On top of this a ban on all advertisements for the amber nectar has been imposed, Hospodářské noviny said.

Some companies have sought to get around the advertising ban. Krušovice, for instance, has begun sponsoring ice hockey, a sport popular with Russians.


The Czech Republic: Microbreweries and craft brands reviving Czech beer industry  (

Only in the Czech Republic – where the population leads the world in beer consumption at an annual 144 litres per capita – can a brewer become a media star, The Financial Times reported on October 7.

Stanislav Bernard, a flamboyant, 59-year-old former electrical engineer, has become a household name with his eye-catching advertisements. A recent campaign depicted the tousled haired entrepreneur in uniform by a sentry box, replete with the slogan: “Be on your guard against Eurobeer”.

Intended to stress Mr Bernard’s commitment to ‘genuine’ Czech brews made according to traditional methods – as opposed to mass-produced industrial lager – the hoardings send an important marketing message, raise a chuckle from passing motorists and, most importantly, increase sales.

Buying a near-derelict, state-owned brewery in the small town of Humpolec after the Velvet Revolution, his small team sold 107,000 hectolitres in 1992 – four times the previous year’s volume.

“The beer they had been making lacked character,” Mr Bernard says. “We decided to have our own Pilsner-taste, but full-bodied and bitter, from Czech ingredients, and with no short cuts. It remains one of our core beliefs.”

This year, sales from the Bernard Family Brewery are expected to top 250,000 hectolitres.

While this is but 1.5 per cent of the 16 mln hectolitres downed annually by beer-quaffing Czechs, it puts Mr Bernard at the forefront of what aficionados see as a healthy rise in the local ‘craft brewery’ culture – in the face of an otherwise fast consolidating industry over the past 25 years.

“Although not a brewer by profession, Stanislav Bernard is an exceptional personality,” says Tomas Erlich, president of the Friends of Beer – a 1,400-strong association of Czech beer lovers.
He says Mr Bernard not only saved the Humpolec brewery, but his lobbying in parliament in the 1990s reduced the excise tax for smaller breweries, which encouraged the growth of small and micro producers. Indeed, the Czech Republic has seen an explosion of independent producers in recent years, most notably microbreweries located in restaurants.

“In 1992, there was only one microbrewery in the country. Today, we estimate there are 250-260,” says Vladimir Balach, executive director at the Czech Beer and Malt Association.

Mr Erlich accuses the big brewers of closing down multiple sites and giving Czechs “very ordinary” beer.

Such charges smart with Plzensky Prazdroj – the Pilsner Brewery group – which has almost 50 per cent of the domestic market and is owned by SABMiller, the world’s second-largest beer producer.

“We are very sorry to hear such rumours. No brewery on the Czech market has been closed by SABMiller, and there are no such plans for the future,” Katerina Krasova, spokesperson for Plzensky Prazdroj, said.

Moreover, she insists that the group, which owns the famed Pilsner Urquell Brewery, has striven to raise quality at every opportunity, while guaranteeing the use of Czech ingredients and traditional procedures in the production process.

“Over the past 11 years, we have invested more than Kc 18 bln (€652 mln) in developing our breweries, our brands and our employees. Together with Czech farmers, service providers, suppliers of goods, pub and restaurant owners, we significantly contribute to Czech economic growth.”

However, the expansion of microbreweries aside, there is no doubt that the trend towards consolidation within the sector has led to closures elsewhere.

Of the 80 or so breweries in the Czech lands in 1989, about 48 survive today, of which 19 are owned by the big breweries, according to Pavel Prchal, director of the Zemsky Pivovar, a small industrial brewery. “Three have closed in Prague alone in that time,” he says.

Mr Prchal, who is working to open the first new brewery in the Czech capital for 113 years, says the fightback by craft breweries and their popularity among the public has redrawn the market.

“2005-2007 was probably the high point for the big brewery conglomerates, when they had something upwards of 90 per cent market share,” he says.

Today, with the likes of Mr Bernard and the Czech-owned Lobkowicz group showing the way, he puts the share of domestic consumption held by corporate breweries as “down to about 80 per cent”, meaning the independents have doubled their volumes.

The big brewery groups have responded, both by introducing their own unfiltered brands and by boosting exports – at 3.5 mln hectolitres last year, a 17 per cent rise on 2010.

It is all welcome news for Mr Erlich and friends. True, not all the new microbreweries can be recommended unconditionally, he says. “Some don’t have the heartfelt passion or knowledge; it’s just a way to earn money. But, fortunately, most offer quality, and that’s good for diversity and for craft beer”.

Newsgrafik #29343

Rexam refreshes Birell, SABMiller's non-alcoholic beer range with innovative can designs  (Company news)

Rexam, a leading global beverage can maker, has collaborated with brewing giant SABMiller, to produce a range of new designs for the non-alcoholic beer brand, Birell.

The cans benefit from Rexam's value added thermochromic inks and matt over varnish. The thermochromic inks change colour when the beverage reaches the ideal temperature for consumption. Whilst the matt over varnish adds a soft finish, reinforcing Birell’s premium brand positioning.

Commenting on the partnership with Rexam, Petr Kouble, Brand Manager of Birell says, "Product differentiation is key for Birell and we knew we could rely on our established relationship with Rexam to deliver. We worked together to develop a creative range of new designs that will stand out in a competitive market place and that our customers will love.”

The 500ml cans, produced out of the Rexam’s Enzesfeld plant in Austria, will be on shelf, in Czech Republic, in spring 2015 with Birell targeting adults with an active lifestyle.
(Rexam PLC)


The Czech Republic: Brewers make up for stagnant domestic sales by going to other markets  (

In Nachod, a 700-year-old Czech town on the Polish border, Primator Brewery kegs waited to be loaded on containers bound for Kazakhstan while export manager Lenka Krausova fielded queries from as far away as Vietnam.
Five years after the municipality sold Primator to privately held Liberec Investment Fund, the beermaker is trying to make up for stagnant domestic sales by going beyond traditional European markets to build on export sales that have already quadrupled in the past decade, Bloomberg reported on June 26.
“There’s been enormous interest from markets we’ve previously never heard from,” said Krausova. “We see a huge potential in those new countries.”
As the summer season begins to sizzle, Czech brewers are lining up against other international brands to win over drinkers in former Soviet republics to the east and Asia. Czech beermakers are betting they have an edge with campaign ads that tout European Union-protected Czech Beer and props such as 49-foot-tall wooden goats made by the maker of Pilsner Urquell that resemble Trojan Horses.
The success in finding a foothold in more-exotic destinations will depend on how well they address unfamiliar regulations, different drinking habits and low incomes among new consumers, said Amin Alkhatib, a London-based analyst at Euromonitor.
“Lots of producers of traditional brews, like pilseners or wheat beers in Europe, have been looking at stagnating domestic markets for quite a while, so to move beyond to Asia or even Latin America is a natural opportunity,” Alkhatib said. “It will take some time to assess whether they really manage to establish themselves there.”
In 2013, Czech beer export volumes rose 9 percent from a year ago to 3.4 million hectolitres, according to the Czech Beer and Malt Association. Exports to the EU rose 4 percent, while the volume of beer shipped to new markets, including Moldova, South Korea, Israel and Belarus, jumped a record 35 percent last year, the group said.
Though Czech annual per-capita consumption is still the highest in the world, it stagnated at 144 litres in 2013 from the year before and is down from 159.3 litres in 2009.
Czech beers have a chance to reach sustainable growth in Asia, the Pacific region and South America by using the “Czech Beer” geographical indication label approved by the EU in 2008 as an advertising advantage, said Vladimir Balach, the head of the Czech Beer and Malt Association. Geographical indications protect product labels such as Champagne, feta and Parma ham from being used by producers outside the indicated region.
Carrying the Czech Beer label requires the use of specific types of Czech-grown barley and hops that give the domestic brew its characteristic bitterness, aroma and drinkability, Balach said.
“It’s the quality and distinctive flavor that rules global markets now and the traditional Czech lagers have them both,” Prazdroj marketing director Grant McKenzie said in an interview in Prague.
Prazdroj, the largest Czech beer maker, recorded its fastest growth in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Moldova and Russia last year, according to McKenzie.
In town squares from Moldova to Georgia, the Pilsen, Czech Republic-based Prazdroj is using towering wooden goats to advertise its second label, Kozel, which means goat in Czech. At the foot of the structures are outdoor bars to dole out half-litres of the golden liquid.
The overall volume of all Czech beer sold in these countries may double in the next five to seven years, McKenzie said.
Prazdroj on June 26 reported pre-tax profit of 3.6 billion koruna ($180 million) for twelve months ended March 31, up 5 percent from a year earlier, it said on its website.
State-owned Budejovicky Budvar, the maker of the Czech version of Budweiser, exported 763,000 hectolitres abroad in 2013, a record in its 118-year history, and added seven new countries including Turkmenistan, Peru and Singapore to its 65 markets, spokesman Petr Samec said.
At Primator, founded in 1872 in Nachod, best known as the birthplace Josef Skvorecky, the Czech dissident writer and associate of Vaclav Havel who wrote World War II novel Engineer of the Human Soul, Krausova is touting the company as a small-time producer that avoids mass-production techniques. The brewer won the top prize at the World’s Best Beers Awards in 2013 with its Weizen beer.
Though Poland remains the company’s largest export market, Krausova is swamped with e-mail from China, Israel, Chile, Indonesia, South Korea and Kazakhstan.
The company sold 27,715 hectolitres, or 22 percent of its total output, for 1.6 million euros ($2.2 million) abroad and wants build on that, Krausova said.
“People like us because they want authentic Czech lager that isn’t produced on a mass scale,” Krausova said. “We may not be able to go to Germany and Austria. But we can handle exports to Turkey or China.”


The Czech Republic: Pilsner Urquell raises prices of its bottled and canned beer  (

The leading Czech beer producer, Pilsner Urquell, has announced a slight increase in the prices of its bottled and canned beer on the domestic market. The Plzeň-based group says it will not raise the price of its world-famous brew sold in kegs and tanks, ostensibly to attract more people to pubs and restaurants. But experts say the move will do little to reverse the trend which has seen more and more Czechs having a beer at home rather than out on the town, reported on October 24.
Every autumn, Pilsner Urquell raises the prices of its beer to match the inflation and higher ingredient costs. This year, however, the increase will only apply to its bottled and canned beer, and will be very moderate – on November 1, the prices of bottled Urquell, Gambrinus, Radegast and Velkopopovický Kozel will rise by 0.7 percent. Kateřina Krásová is a spokeswoman for Pilsner Urquell, part of the multinational brewing company SABMiller.
“The current price adjustment will only affect beer in bottles and cans; the prices of kegs and tank beer will remain the same. We believe this will also contribute to our efforts to support beer culture in the Czech Republic, and it will bring more customers to pubs and restaurants.”
The Czech beer market has undergone a transformation in recent years when for the first time ever, the sales of bottled and canned beer exceeded those of draft beer in pubs, restaurants and bars.
This year, on-trade sales of Czech beer have so far accounted for some 43 percent of total sales. But it’s unlikely that Pilsner Urquell’s move will not affect the trend, says the head of the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants, Václav Stárek.
“The increase in the price of bottled beer is very minor, it’s less than one percent, so I don’t think it will have a direct impact on the numbers of restaurants- and pub-goers. On the other hand, it’s good to hear that the price beer in kegs will be kept on the same level.”
The Prague-based beer writer Max Bahnson, who goes by the pen name Beer Philosopher, agrees the decision to keep the prices of draft beer unchanged will have little if any effect.
“To me, it’s more of a PR stunt than anything else. The price of bottled beer, especially of the Prazdroj brands, is subsidized by the price at which they sell the same beer to pubs. For example, a pub will buy half a litre of Gambrinus světlý, the best-selling beer in the country, for 14 crowns. That is more than the very same beer costs in a supermarket.”
Meanwhile, some Czech breweries including Pivovar Náchod and Vyškov are likely to follow suit and increase the prices of their products as well. Other beer producers said they were calculating their costs, and would announce their decisions later.


The Czech Republic: Plzensky Prazdroj launches new line for the production of beer mixes and...  (

... wheat beers

Plzensky Prazdroj has launched a new line for the production of innovative drinks that are growing in popularity on the Czech market - beers mixed with fruit juices, malt-based drinks and wheat beers. The investment, amounting to CZK 143 million, will enhance Prazdroj's ability to respond to changing consumer preferences, 4-traders reported on June, 27.
"The classic Pilsner-style lager will continue to be the core of the Czech beer market. However, the market will also see a growth in popularity of less traditional drinks, such as our existing products Gambrinus Juicy Grapefruit, malt-based Frisco, Birell non-alcoholic beer mixed with fruit juice, and Fénix wheat beer. We want to offer our consumers the drinks already out there in sufficient volumes and in a wide range of packs, but we also want to gain more space for the development of new products and variants," says Plzensky Prazdroj 's Marketing Director, Grant McKenzie.
The new line, located at the Pilsen brewery, has an annual capacity of 600,000 hectolitres and ranks among the most advanced similar facilities in the Czech Republic. It allows the company to produce Gambrinus and Birell beers mixed with fruit juices, the malt drink Frisco and top-fermented Fénix wheat beer, the last one now also being offered in bottles, on the Pilsen site, whereas to date Prazdroj had used the technology and facilities of its sister breweries in other countries to make these drinks.
Prazdroj will buy more raw materials and other stuffs from Czech suppliers in connection with the line's production. By moving this production to the Czech Republic, Prazdroj will also reduce its environmental footprint - trucks carrying its products will be running 590,000 fewer kilometres per year, thus reducing CO2 emissions by more than 620 tons.
With total sales of almost 9.9 million hectolitres in 2012 (including licensed production abroad) and exports to more than 50 countries around the world, Plzensky Prazdroj is a major beer producer in the region and the largest exporter of Czech beer.


The Czech Republic: Plzensky Prazdroj announces higher beer prices as from October  (

The new price list of Plzensky Prazdroj, effective October 1, 2012, reflects the higher input cost from raw materials and energy. This change affects selected brands and packs across the portfolio, mainly bottled beer. The new prices will reflect an average 3% increase in consumer prices, roughly in line with inflation, SABMiller’s Czech subsidiary announced on August, 31.

“Constantly growing input costs are reflected in our new price list to customers. Adjustments relate mainly to bottled beer where the price was changed only slightly over the last couple of years. The Czech beer market is changing, with the downward trend in beer consumption in pubs, which are typical of the Czech beer culture and make it unique. We want to support the on-trade segment, which employs a big number of people and contributes to the whole Czech economic development. So I hope customers will welcome the fact that we are keeping Gambrinus and Radegast in their most popular keg sizes at the same price,” said Doug Brodman, Plzensky Prazdroj’s Chief Executive Officer.

With total sales of over 9.9 million hectoliters in the calendar year 2011 (including licensed production abroad) and exports to more than 50 countries around the world, Plzeňský Prazdroj, a.s. is a major beer producer in the region and the largest exporter of Czech beer.

Plzeňský Prazdroj, a.s. is a member of the SABMiller plc group. Pilsner Urquell is the international flagship of the SABMiller brand portfolio.

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Pilsner Urquell Launches Major Initiative Focused on Freshness   (Company news)

Beer drinkers lucky enough to enjoy Pilsner Urquell in the Czech Republic often marvel at the beer’s unique, complex taste. Now, Pilsner Urquell enjoyed in the United States will be packaged and shipped to have a taste as fresh and distinct as the beer in the Czech Republic.
Extensive measures, including refrigerated, express shipping and fully enclosed packaging, ensure this is the freshest Pilsner Urquell ever available in the U.S.
“The primary enemies to beer are light, time and heat,” said Vaclav Berka, the Pilsner Urquell brewmaster. “Due to these factors, the Pilsner Urquell that people have drank in the U.S. over the past years simply has not been the equivalent of the fresh Pilsner Urquell available in the Czech Republic. We are changing that.”
The beer is now packaged in fully enclosed secondary cartons that ship from the brewery within 30 days aboard refrigerated containers. This helps stop the aging process of the beer. Distributors also will maintain the beer’s refrigeration once they receive it.
“Throughout our 170-year history, Pilsner Urquell has been one of the most respected and influential beers in the world,” said Pilsner Urquell Brand Manager Chad Wodskow. “Our goal is to add to this legacy by establishing Pilsner Urquell as the No. 1 import beer when it comes to quality. With these major steps, we believe we’re on track to do just that.”

The first barrels and packages from the Plzen brewery arrived in the U.S. earlier this month. All of the new Pilsner Urquell packaging will explicitly state “Express Shipped Cold” and will be available in the following packages, in addition to draft:
• Four-pack cans
• Six-pack bottles
• 12-pack bottles

The new quality measures for Pilsner Urquell will be vitally important to the beer drinker’s experience, addressing each of the “enemies” of beer.
• Time: Express shipping dramatically reducing transit time.
• Temperature: Temperature-controlled, refrigerated shipping from the brewery, slowing the beer’s aging process.
• Light: New fully enclosed secondary packaging, keeping light from striking the bottles.

“I’m so thrilled to know that by diminishing these hurdles, the taste of Pilsner Urquell in the United States will be virtually indistinguishable from the taste of Pilsner Urquell available in the Czech Republic,” Berka said.
Pilsner Urquell’s commitment to quality also will extend to bars and restaurants that carry the brand. “Embassy Accounts” will maintain specific quality standards in terms of refrigeration, velocity, draft line cleanliness and use of clean glassware.
Throughout Pilsner Urquell’s history, the brewery has gone to great lengths to ensure quality and consistency in the beer, which is famous for being the world’s original golden pilsner. In fact, an analytical test performed this year by Labor Veritas AG in Zürich, Switzerland found that the current Pilsner Urquell matches parameters set in place in 1897 almost identically.
(MillerCoors LLC)


The Czech Republic: Plzeňský Prazdroj launching new Gambrinus tap beer and two beer-based drinks  (

Plzeňský Prazdroj is introducing a Gambrinus tap beer with a fuller taste and the name Gambrinus Original 10°, reported on April, 6.

The company is also launching two new mixed beer-based drinks with a low 2.1 percent alcohol content: Gambrinus Sharp Lemon and Gambrinus Lime & Elderberry. These are intended mainly for consumers who are looking for the best refreshment. The Gambrinus brand is thus responding to Czech consumers, who are increasingly calling for a greater variety, and to the developing preferences of Czech beer drinkers.

The flavour preferences of Czech consumers are developing. Gambrinus, the beer that for many years has been the main representative of the typical Czech beer, is also responding to the change in trends. "The Czech beer market is much more dynamic than ever before. Consumers expect to be offered innovations and a diverse choice. Gambrinus addresses millions of people and listens carefully to what they wish for. That´s why we are introducing Gambrinus Original 10°, with a fuller taste, and mixed beverages with lower alcohol content that pleasantly combine the taste of Gambrinus tap beer and natural fruit juice," says Doug Brodman, Plzeňský Prazdroj's CEO.

Gambrinus Original 10° will be available on tap in restaurants and pubs as of May 2012. It will also be distributed in all the popular packaging types, including 0.5-litre returnable bottles, PET bottles and cans in all shops across the Czech Republic.

Since the beginning of April, Gambrinus Sharp Lemon and Gambrinus Lime & Elderberry (mixed beer-based drinks with lower alcohol content) have been available in shops. They are produced by mixing Gambrinus tap beer with natural fruit juices. Both mixed beer drinks are now available in 0.5-litre cans in shops across the country. Starting in May, 0.5-litre returnable bottles will be introduced, intended namely for bars, pubs and restaurants.


The Czech Republic: SABMiller’s subsidiary adds plastic-bottle filling line to answer consumers ...  (

... call for practical bottling solutions

Plzenský Prazdroj, a Czech brewer owned by SABMiller, has added a plastic-bottle filling line and is now testing it, Drinks Business Review communicated on August, 25.
The line, worth approximately CZK150 mln ($8.8 mln), can produce a maximum of 18000 bottles per hour, it is reported.
The Czech brewery offers Velkopopovický Kozel, Primus and Klasik brands in plastic bottles. The brewery said the plastic bottles it uses protect the beer against light and oxidation.
Before beginning the line's assembly process, the brewery conducted preparation works in the new hall of its central bottling plant.
Plzenský Prazdroj brewery general manager Doug Brodman said customers' preferences are changing and they are calling more and more often for practical bottling solutions, and that is the reason behind the brewery's huge investment in the new plastic-bottle filling line.
With export to more than 50 countries, Plzenský Prazdroj had total sales of 9.9 million hectolitres in 2010 calendar year.


The Czech Republic: Plzeňský Prazdroj reports drop in revenues and profit before tax in FY to March,  (

In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, Plzeňský Prazdroj reports income for sales of goods, the company's own products and services amounting to CZK 14.559 billion and profit before tax CZK 4.180 bln (excluding one-off, extraordinary accounting entries).

Financial performance has been influenced by the increase of the excise on beer in January 2010 and continuous adverse economic conditions, the Czech brewer said on June, 7.

Despite of that Plzeňský Prazdroj remains a significant contributor to the Czech economy, paying CZK 4.7 bn in taxes and investing CZK 53.8 million into the communities

Revenues from main activities decreased by 5.5% to CZK 14.559 billion. Profit before tax decreased by 10.8 % to CZK 4.180 billion. Doug Brodman, Managing Director of Plzeňský Prazdroj, commented on the results:

“Brewing industry plays a significant role in the Czech culture and the economy. Over the last 2 years, challenging market conditions have significantly influenced the whole Czech beer market. One of key adverse influences was beer excise tax increase during the difficult economic conditions. This measure did not meet government expectations at all and adversely impacted the brewing industry’s ability to develop and invest.

These market conditions have reflected in our results for the year, however, we have continued to invest not only into our breweries and brands but also to the development of communities where we operate. We will continue to retain our focus on further development of our brands, our people’s capability and delivering the best beer experience to our consumers.”

With total sales of over 9.9 million hectolitres in the calendar year 2010 (including licensed production abroad) and exports to more than 50 countries around the world, Plzensky Prazdro, is a major beer producer in the region and the largest exporter of Czech beer.

Plzensky Prazdroj, a. s. is a member of the SABMiller plc.


The Czech Republic: Kozel on tap does well in 2010  (

Velkopopovický Kozel on tap did well in 2010. More than 11.6 percent of this beer was sold in comparison with the previous year, in spite of a general market decline, SABMiller said April, 15.
Kozel Medium turned out to be the most popular, the brewing giant said. Last year the light 11° beer recorded an increase of 22.5 percent, which also represents the biggest increase in history.
Based on data provided by the Czech Beer and Malt Association, Czech consumers drank 4 percent less beer last year, which resulted in more than an 8 percent decrease in production.
With total sales of close to 10 million hectolitres in the 2010 calendar year (including licensed production abroad) and with export to more than 50 countries, SABMiller’s subsidiary Plzeňský Prazdroj a. s. is the leading producer of beer in the region and the biggest exporter of Czech beer.


Germany & the Czech Republic: Germans still prefer Czech beer to other import  (

Czech beer continued to enjoy high popularity in Germany last year, Boulevard Baden communicated on March, 31.
Since 1990, Germany’s annual beer consumption has dropped by 30%. Nevertheless, the import of Czech beer more than doubled last year, it is reported.
According to some estimates, Pilsner Urquell and Budweiser Budvar exported to Germany more than 450 thousand hl of beer in 2010, which is a record volume. Czech Budweiser managed to overcome Pilsen Urquell as Germany’s best-selling imported brand last year, a Nielsen study said.
Germany remains the number one export destination for Czech beer (40% of all export), followed by Slovakia (15%), Russia (15%), and the UK (10%).


United Kingodm: Czech lager Kozel performs well in the UK  (

As from this month, 4% Czech lager Kozel will be available exclusively to the on-trade following sole distribution with leading restaurant and pub company Mitchells & Butlers, Miller Brands, the UK and Ireland subsidiary of SABMiller, announced on February, 1.
Since its launch at the end of September, the beer, which is available only in draught format in the on-trade, has been successfully flowing in a number of Mitchells & Butlers' brands including Browns and a number of pubs within its Metro Professionals collection of pubs.
Darren Tendler, Sales Director of Miller Brands said: "We're delighted with the way that Kozel has performed so far in the UK, demonstrating that there is a clear opportunity in the market for a beer which has all the great taste you'd expect from Czech beer, but with a lower 4% abv."
Kozel, which has been brewed in the small Czech village of Velke Popovice since 1874, has joined SABMiller’s portfolio in 1999, when the brewery became part of Plzeñsky Prazdroj, a.s., which itself is owned by SABMiller.


The Czech Republic: Dark Velkopopovický Kozel sees higher sales abroad in January – October this yea  (

The popularity of Czech dark beer abroad is significantly rising with 25,000 hl of Dark Velkopopovický Kozel exported during the first 10 months of this year, SABMiller reported on December, 3.
Nearly half of the total dark beer volume exported was shipped to Finland (12,000 hl). Russia, with its 3,000 hl, is a very important market for Plzeňský Prazdroj, a. s., the maker of the beer and a subsidiary of SABMiller. Israel, Ukraine, and Belarus are among other countries with import volume higher than 1,000. South Korea became the biggest new commercial outlet with 600 hl of newly exported beer.
Dark Kozel is exported to total of 23 countries on three continents.


The Netherlands: Czech beer Pilsner Urquell to be distributed in a highly selective way   (

Grolsch is introducing the SABMiller brand Pilsner Urquell to the Dutch market, the parent company SABMiller communicated on June, 29.
Grolsch will take charge of all Pilsner Urquell distribution, marketing and sales activities in the Netherlands.
Pilsner Urquell is inextricably linked with its birthplace of Pilsen, located in the historical Central European region of Bohemia in the modern-day Czech Republic. The beer is still produced with the same ingredients and in accordance with the same process as in 1842.
Pilsner Urquell is imported from the Czech Republic and will be highly selectively distributed within the Netherlands. The beer will be available on tap and/or in 330ml bottles at exclusive restaurants, selected bars, and specialist off-licences.
Just like Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell is one of SABMiller's major international beer brands. A growing number of consumers are becoming increasingly keen to sample new beer brands and experiences. By launching this authentic Czech beer in the Netherlands, Grolsch and SABMiller wish to offer their customers a distinctive and individual alternative to the range of beers currently available in the Netherlands.


The Czech Republic: Plzeňský Prazdroj launches specialty beers in bottles  (

In order to improve its position in the specialty beers market, Czech brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj will launch in June its Master specialty beer in bottles and release a new flavor - Master Zlatý (gold) 15°, the parent SABMiller communicated on May, 20.
The Master beers were successfully introduced on tap in 2007.
Until now, Master beer was available in only two varieties, both on tap: Master Polotmavý (amber) 13° and Master Tmavý (dark) 18°. You can already enjoy the taste of these specialty beers at 600 establishments. And now, Master will be introduced in bottles. "Increased demand for Master beers inspired us to introduce this bottled alternative, so that our customers can enjoy a Master wherever and whenever they feel like taking a moment to savor something special," senior business brewer at Plzeňský Prazdroj, Václav Berka, said.
The Czechs still prefer traditional beers to the specialty ones.
"In Germany, for example, specialty beer is a real hit and the number of specialty beers that are available, as well as customer demand, has increased in recent years," said Tiarnán Ó Haimhirgin, Director of Plzeňský Prazdroj. "We see the same potential in the Czech market, where we would like to meet our customers' demands by offering additional flavors, while also offering more options for when they can enjoy a dessert beer," he explains. (E-malt)


Czech Republic: Plzeňský Prazdroj calls for establishing stricter rules in defining Czech beer  (

Czech brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj said on March, 31 it demands stricter conditions for using the protected geographical trademark, Czech beer.
According to the company, a test by a daily MF Dnes from March 24, 2010 disclosed that some producers of Czech beer use an unauthorized ingredient – chemical hops called tetra hop.
"We are uneasy about the present trend in the Czech beer-making market, where more and more breweries use unauthorized ingredients such as chemical hops and other food additives. We are talking mainly about modified hops and malt replacements, which have no place in traditional Czech beer. These practices allow dishonest brewers to replace high-quality ingredients with unauthorized ingredients to improve beer characteristics, such as quality of foam. This jeopardises the good reputation of Czech beer around the world, the protected trademark Czech beer, together with the trust of local customers," says senior business brewer from Plzeňský Prazdroj, Václav Berka.
"The trademark, Czech beer, was supposed to be a clear indication for customers that the beer was made professionally, honestly and with integrity, based on true Czech traditions. In the letter addressed to the Czech Beer and Malt Association and to the Association of Czech Beer, Plzeňský Prazdroj demands a stricter definition of Czech beer because the current definition does not solve the problem of use of unauthorized additives," summarizes senior brewer from Plzeňský Prazdroj, Jan Hlaváček.
The brewer’s website displays a public call to action, Žijeme českým pivem, (We live with Czech beer). It is addressed to all who care about the future of traditional Czech beer and is asking for support for the demand by Plzeňský Prazdroj to establish stricter rules in defining Czech beer.
With total sale of 10.5 million hectolitres in the 2009 calendar year (including licensed production abroad) and with export to more than 50 countries, Plzeňský Prazdroj is the biggest producer of beer in the region and the biggest exporter of Czech beer.
Plzeňský Prazdroj is a subsidiary of the world’s second-largest brewer SABMiller plc. (


Czech Republic & Sweden: Gambrinus beer gaining in popularity in Sweden  (

Gambrinus, the favourite Czech beer, is gaining in popularity among Swedish consumers, brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj communicated on March, 10.
Last year Swedes drank close to 10,000 hectolitres of Gambrinus beer, which represents close to 2 million beers. More than two thirds of the total amount of beer consumed came from Swedish pubs.
Gambrinus is distributed on the Swedish market as a premium beer. In comparison with 1996, the total amount of beer consumed increased more than twofold in 2009, and it is expected that this trend will continue in the upcoming years. Swedes prefer beer on tap to beer in a bottle, so two thirds of beer is on tap. The biggest customer for Gambrinus beer is the Swedish chain of pubs The Bishop Arms, which serves their Swedish regulars mainly Gambrinus 12%. Gambrinus is also distributed to about a hundred other pubs and stores.
"Sweden is one of the most important countries of export for Gambrinus," says Jiří Rákosník, Senior Brand Manager of the Gambrinus brand. "The 12% has found its home, so to speak, in the north. That is due to its composition and its taste," adds Rákosník.
With total sales of 10.5 million hectolitres in the calendar year 2009 (including licensed production abroad) and with export to more than 50 countries around the world, SABMiller’s Czech unit Plzeňský Prazdroj is the leading producer of beer in the region and the biggest exporter of Czech beer.

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