Budvar boosts beer production despite coronavirus pandemic

Photo: archive of Budĕjovický Budvar

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Czech state-owned Budějovický Budvar brewery in South Bohemia produced a record amount of beer last year. In fact, it was the largest amount in its entire 125-year history, the news service Seznam Zprávy reported this week.

Last year, Budějovický Budvar produced 1.73 million hectolitres of beer, compared to 1.69 in the previous year. In 2021, the company plans to increase its production by four percent, Budvar’s director Petr Dvořák told Seznam Zprávy.

In 2020, the brewery posted losses of around CZK 35 million as a result of the restrictive measures cause by the coronavirus outbreak, including the closure of bars and restaurants. However, sales during the summer months reached record highs. The company’s annual turnover increased by CZK 25 million to over three billion crowns.

The state-owned brewery sold more bottled beer last year, while the sales of draught beer have slightly decreased.

According to Mr. Dvořák, the biggest drop in sales was caused by the closure of the company’s visitor centre, which attracts on average 60,000 people a year, and which has been closed since March of last year.

Budvar was also forced to destroy several hundred hectolitres of beer last year due to coronavirus and dismiss around two percent of its 670 employees, mainly those in marketing and logistics posts.

The Budějovický Budvar brewery was established in 1895 and is the last state-owned Czech brewery.

In 2019 Budvar exported a record 1.15 million hectolitres of beer, over 59 percent of the brewery’s production, to 80 countries around the world. The brewery had nearly 25 percent share on the overall export of beer from the Czech Republic.

The largest export markets for Budvar were Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Russia and Great Britain.