Beer cans lead the way as breweries in Czechia announce good summer

Fallout associated with the coronavirus pandemic has also impacted the Czech beer industry and it is unlikely that beer producers will be able to catch up with the losses incurred earlier this year. Nevertheless, according to numbers published by the Czech Breweries Association, this summer did bring a slight uptick for domestic breweries.

Czech beer producers registered their biggest losses during the first quarter of 2021, but the situation has begun to stabilise since then. During the summer holiday season, breweries even recorded profits.

August was a particularly successful year for Czech beer brewers, as they registered a 1.7 percent year-on-year rise in profits. Sales in supermarkets were particularly responsible for this increase, as Martina Ferencová, the executive director at Czech Beer and Malt Association, told Czech Radio.

Martina Ferencová | Photo: Eva Dvořáková,  Czech Radio

“The biggest leap in shop sales was registered among canned beers, where the year-on-year index rose by a whopping 20 percent. That means that there were 2,000 more hectolitres of beer cans on Czech shop shelves this year.”

After beer bottles and barrels, beer cans are currently the third most popular packaging in which to purchase beer in the Czech Republic. They make up 15 percent of the total ratio of beer packaging types sold in the Czech Republic.

Another phenomenon that is on the rise is the popularity of lagers, which now make up 55 percent of the total beer types sold in the country.

Among the more exotic types, the number of top-fermented beers with grades of 11 to 12 nearly tripled when compared to last year. However, they still make up a small segment of beers offered on the market.

There was less success when it came to the traditional sales of beer in pubs and restaurants. Despite a slow but gradual rise in hospitality businesses since the worst days of the epidemic, sales have not yet reached pre-pandemic numbers during the first nine months of 2021. However, Martina Ferencová says that the year-on-year decrease lies at just below 1 percent.

“Given the counter-epidemic restrictions in restaurants, I consider the fact that beer sales in this sector fell by just 0.9 percent as an excellent result. We are happy for every customer who comes to buy some draft beer.

“I would also like to give praise to the breweries, which were able to respond quickly to the demand for barrels with smaller volumes. Compared to last year, the number of mini-barrels rose by 37 percent.”

The lowest number of customers was registered in businesses located in traditionally popular tourist cities, such as Prague or Český Krumlov. This, Ms Ferencová says, may be connected with the difficulties that businesses normally oriented at servicing foreign clientele have been facing during the pandemic. She says that domestic locations that are popular among Czech visitors, such as mountain regions, have not had this problem.

Despite the complicated situation, Czech beer also managed to score some points internationally. Among other things, Czech made beer also got elevated into the highest, “Excellent”, category of the annual Brewers of Europe rankings.

Authors: Tom McEnchroe , Katka Brezovská
run audio