Czech beer exports to China doubled last year

Photo: archive of Radio Prague

The value of the Czech Republic’s beer exports to China has nearly doubled over the last year. The volume of beer exports in 2014 rocketed to 22,688 hectolitres, compared to 12,688 hectolitres in the previous year, the head of the Czech Beer and Malt Association, Vladimír Balach, announced this week.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
Despite the marked increase, most of Czech beer exports head to other parts of the world. Last year, the overall volume of Czech beer export reached 3.65 million hectolitres of beer, out of which only 0.65 percent went to China.

Among the largest beer exporters to China are the Lobkowicz brewery, Budějovický Budvar and Plzeňský Prazdroj. However, the firms are not willing to disclose the exact volume of beer destined for the Chinese market.

The fifth biggest brewer in the Czech Republic, the Lobkowicz brewery, recently sold 79 percent of its stakes to the Chinese group CEFC. CEFC president Chan Chauto said that with the investment his firm had the ambition to significantly increase the import of Czech beer to China.

The spokesman of the Lobkowicz brewery, told the Czech News Agency that while most of China’s consumption is covered by domestic production, the demand for premium export beer brands has been rapidly increasing over the past years, being driven mainly by China’s expanding middle class.

The south Bohemian brewer Budějovický Budvar currently exports to nine East Asian countries, including China, Japan, Mongolia and Vietnam. According to Budvar’s spokesman Petr Samec, the brewery has increased sales on East Asian markets by 47 percent year-on-year and is planning to expand even further in the coming years. The brewery’s main export product was lager in non-returnable bottles.

The world famous brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj has renewed export to China this summer. According to their spokesman, Vladimír Jurina, the company expects to export several thousand hectolitres of Pilsner Urquell to China by the end of the year.

Currently the largest export markets for Czech breweries are in Germany, Slovakia, followed with a great gap by Sweden, Great Britain, Poland, Hungary and Austria. Among the non-European states Czech breweries mostly export to Russia, United States, Canada and Korea.