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'Real' Budvar gets a boost

Added: Saturday, January 7th 2012

A 'real lager' from the Czech Republic will enjoy regular sales in Britain thanks to demand from publicans and beer drinkers. The 'yeast beer' from the Budweiser Budvar brewery in South Bohemia is an unpasteurised version of the famous golden original beer. It has been available in selected British pubs for two years but with deliveries restricted to two or three times a year.

But now the beer will be available all year round as a result of the interest created by a living lager. The 4% beer, widely available in Czech bars, enjoys the same 100-day production cycle of Budvar Original, including 90 days in the lager cellar where it undergoes a slow second fermentation just above freezing point.

Where yeast beer is concerned, at the end of the production cycle it is not pasteurised and additional yeast cells are added to each keg as it leaves the brewery. The result is a beer with a slight natural haze and a 'brewery tap' fresh malt and hops character. The style recalls the early days of the Czech brewery in Ceske Budejovice (Budweis in German) when lager beer was unfiltered and unpasteurised. Budvar was formed in 1895 and didn't install a filter or pasteuriser until the 1920s. Filtered and pasteurised beer was mainly for export.

Budvar's record exports

While prodcution of beer in the Czech Republic grew by just 1% in 2011, Budvar saw its sales leap by 5.5% to 1,320,000 hectolitres a year. The most remarkable increase was achieved  by exports. They grew by 7.8% to 650,000 hectos, making it the best result in the brewery's 116 year history. Budvar now exports to 60 countries and is the biggest Czech exporteer of beer, with half its production earmarked for sales outside the Czech Republic.

As well as Britain, Budvar enjoys major sales in Germany, Poland and Slovakia. In some markets, including Italy and the United States, the beer is labelled Czechvar as a result of the long-running trademark dispute with the American brand Budweiser, now owned by AB InBev.