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Czech Breweries in 2008: Total Output Drops by 0.5 Percent, Record Exports’ Share of Production Constantly Growing

Prague, March 25, 2009 – The total amount of beer produced by breweries in the Czech Republic in 2008 amounted to 19,806,107 hl, which is 0.5 % less than in 2007 and the second largest quantity in history. Last year, some 16,100,154 hl were consumed in the Czech Republic, which is 1.3 % less than in 2007. A total of 3,705,953 hl of beer was exported, thus 3.2 % more than in the preceding year and the most in history. The growth trend of recent years continues. Plzeňský Prazdroj, a. s., with breweries in Pilsen, Nošovice and Velké Popovice, produced the most beer, followed by Pivovary Staropramen, a. s., with its Smíchov and Ostravar breweries, and the Heineken Czech group, which owns the Starobrno and Královský pivovar Krušovice breweries, formerly belonging to Drinks Union. Budějovický Budvar, n. p., and PMS Přerov, a. s. are also among the important producers. Combined, these big producers produced almost 86.2 % of all Czech-made beer. The volume produced by other breweries dropped year-on-year to 2,748,943 hl or to 13.8 % compared to 14.5 % in 2007.

“The economic problems affecting the global and domestic economies virtually had no impact on the overall production of Czech breweries, and the decrease in domestic consumption is being replaced by a strong increase in exports,” stated Ing. Jan Veselý, Executive Director of the Czech Beer and Malt Association. “This verifies what we have been saying for some time now – the attention breweries devote to purchasing high-quality ingredients and using good technology produces excellent beer that consumers will seek even in tough times,” added Mr. Veselý.

Beer exports more than doubled between 2000 and 2008, in fact they have increased by 133 %, and virtually all Czech industrial breweries export today. While breweries exported an average of 10.4 % of their output in 2001, last year they exported 18.7 %. Traditionally, most Czech beer is exported to Germany and Slovakia. Change has come to the export list. Russia overtook the UK for the first time, the USA ranked fifth and Sweden climbed to sixth. Czech beer is exported or consumed in more than 60 countries on all continents. The biggest demand is for Czech lager.

The assortment of beer being produced is changing. While draft beer is still the primary product particularly for domestic consumption, its share of total brewing has been in decline in favor of lager, i.e., 11-degree and 12-degree beer. In 2000, almost 69 % of the beer brewed by breweries was draft beer, but by 2008 it accounted for just 63 %. In contrast, consumption of lager is on the rise, and lager’s share climbed from 29.3 % to over 31% during the eight-year period. The share of other beers has shown an even bigger increase – from 2.1 % in 2000 to 5.8 % last year. Of those, the non-alcoholic beer segment has been growing steadily and rapidly. Non-alcoholic beer output has increased almost fivefold in the last 9 years; with a volume of 579,000 hl, consumption increased by over 16 % in 2008 compared to 2007. At least 23 brands are manufactured in 21 breweries. After a period of decline, the popularity of specialty beers has been increasing in the past 3 years, with output last year amounting to nearly 104,000 hl.

The difference between production of beer distributed in barrels and bottles is increasingly smaller. The trend where beer decanted in barrels is falling and beer in glass bottles rising, both in the domestic market and for export, continues. While barrels prevailed as the most common packaging in 2000, last year 43.3 % of all beer was decanted in barrels and 49.8 % in glass bottles. The popularity of beer in PET bottles is steadily declining. Overall, the volume of beer distributed in tanks stagnated, however, its popularity in the Czech Republic increased by 5 % year-on-year. Similarly, canned beer is becoming increasingly popular in the Czech Republic.

For more information, please visit the Czech Association of Breweries and Malt’s website, www.cspas.cz.

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