Budějovický Budvar last year recorded the highest exports in its history. The brewing company – whose products are sold under the Czechvar brand name in some states – exported 1.07 million hectolitres of beer in 2018, a rise of 8.5 percent on the previous year, according to figures it has just released.
Beyond the Czech Republic’s borders, the České Budějovice-produced beer sold most in Germany, followed by Poland, Russia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. Budějovický Budvar exported to 79 countries in total.
It was the first time its international sales topped the million-hectolitre mark. Ninety percent of total exported output comprised the brewer’s classic pale lager.
The firm, which remains state-owned and is the fourth-biggest Czech beer producer, has succeeded in boosting its exports enormously in recent times, with a rise of almost 85 percent in the last decade.
Renata Pánková, the head of Budějovický Budvar’s export division, said a new sales record had been set in Germany in 2018, where consumption was almost 6 percent higher year-on-year.
Ms. Pánková said the neighbouring state was a long-term successful market for the firm, with its brews the best-selling imported beer at German retail outlets. In five years exports to Germany have climbed by a quarter.
Exports targeted at the expanding Russian beer market climbed by no less than 64 percent in 2018 and also established a new record. But it was Sweden that saw the biggest explosion in Budvar sales, an 80 percent growth rate in one year.
In 2018 the South Bohemian beer was available for the first time in Bahrain, Bermuda and Senegal. Exports were renewed to other states, including Angola, Albania and Iraq.
Overall Budějovický Budvar produced 1.6 million hectolitres of beer last year (its second highest yield of all time – the highest was three years previously), when it registered record revenues of CZK 2.57 billion.
Since the early 1900s the Czech firm has been involved in a slew of court disputes with US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch over the use of the brand name Budweiser.
In many countries the Czech lager can be purchased as Budweiser Budvar, though in the US, Canada and some other states goes by the name Czechvar.
The brewery’s modern history dates back to 1967, when a joint stock company founded in 1895 was converted into a national corporation by communist Czechoslovakia’s Ministry of Agriculture.
Both institutions drew on a brewing tradition in České Budějovice (called Budweis in German) that dates back many centuries.