One man who probably more than anyone else can claim to represent one of the Czech Republic’s biggest success stories ― beer ― is Jan Veselý, general director of the Czech Beer and Malt Association. The association groups the biggest Czech breweries and hop producers. In today’s programme, Mr. Veselý talks about the massive changes he has witnessed in the industry which had moved from the planned economy to privatization and the take off of micro-breweries.
It’s something that happens every once in a while to all of us: you’re waiting to pay for items at the supermarket or grocery store and at the very last second you notice the underside of your egg plant is covered in mold. Or the ends of the cucumber are soggy. Or something in your cart is just plain off. It happened to me most recently at a supermarket after racing through overcrowded aisles I noticed only at the check-out that an expensive pack of peppers was thoroughly rotted. It’s the kind of moment that you vow you’ll never go back to the place
Hidden away on a narrow street in the Old Town, between Betlémské náměstí and the river, you will find a Prague institution. U Salvátora, a tiny kořenářství (spice shop), has been selling seasoning to the city’s residents for several decades. Indeed, entering the fragrant store feels very much like going back in time.
Czech winemakers say they can put around 1.75 million bottles of young, so-called St. Martin‛s wine, on the market this year. This is more than half as much again as produced last year. Winemakers say that the boosted production is an achievement given that poor weather this year which gave them around two weeks less time to prepare the wine. The wine is traditionally produced for St. Martin’s day, which falls on November 11, after which is followed a long fast. The wine is the first of the season.
This weekend the small but increasingly popular Kocour brewery, based in Varnsdorf, north Bohemia, will be hosting the first ever Ale festivale – a festival highlighting local and foreign specialty beers. Kocour (which means tomcat in English) itself produces 10 different styles based on differences in ingredients, production and history and want to let the average consumer know there’s more to beer than just their usual brand.
Winemakers in Moravia and Bohemia are bracing themselves for an extremely low harvest this year, with estimates that crop levels could be 50 or even 80 percent lower than usual. A combination of severe weather conditions throughout the year is being blamed for poor grape yields, which are expected to lead to an increase in the prices of Czech wines next year.
Wine makers in the Czech Republic are expecting one of the worst harvests a decade. According to estimates, the grape harvest will be half of the average for the last ten years, and the association of Czech wine growers says that the prices of Moravian wines in particular will rise by about 10% in the next year as the shortage will be supplemented by grape imports. On the other hand the association does expect better quality wine this year in spite of the fact that sugar content was initially low. Only a fourth of the harvest has been completed thus far and later varieties contain more sugar.
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