Craft breweries making their mark with Christmas specials

Illustrative photo: Eva Odstrčilová

Small breweries significantly boost their annual sales at the end of the year by offering beer lovers special Christmas and New Year brews. Among those now on offer are mandarin, gingerbread, cinnamon and caramel brews for gourmets.

Illustrative photo: Eva Odstrčilová
The Vojkovice mini-brewery has been around for ten years producing select, craft beers for connoisseurs and Christmas gives its sales a significant boost. Its special Christmas brew Štedrok makes up ten percent of its annual sales and the brewery is nurturing the tradition of giving beer lovers something special – a brew that is stronger and fuller than the traditional brews on the market. Production of the Christmas special – around one hundred hectoliters - starts in October and the beer sells from mid-December until mid-January.

The Pikard mini-brewery near Ostrava also knows the value of putting something special on the Christmas and New Year market. Its chestnut Christmas brew is more expensive than the traditional brews by the country’s big breweries but its manager says people are willing to send more on something special at this time of year.

Most of the 300 mini-breweries around the country are also vying to put something noteworthy on the Christmas market in the form of mandarin, gingerbread, caramel and cinnamon brews and also a small selection of extra-strong, dark beers for gourmets that they deliver to craft beer pubs and restaurants in the vicinity. Some of them are made according to age-old recipes and have an unusually high alcohol content. For instance the Devil’s brew which is now selling in 50 pubs in the Pardubice region is exactly what it promises – a deep coral red in colour with a pinky cap of rich foam and a 16 degree alcohol content which is guaranteed to make an impact and be remembered.

In addition to boosting sales small breweries use their Christmas specials to get noticed, assuming that satisfied customers will come back to try out something else. Living in the shadow of Pilsner, Budvar and Radegast is not easy – both in terms of price and the highly conservative tastes of the Czech public and experimenting with small select lines of beer is one advantage that craft breweries have over the giants which stick with tradition and rarely offer anything different.