Top brewers adopt new code of ethics

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The country's five leading brewers are setting a new trend in the business - they have drafted and adopted a strict new code of ethics that goes beyond the regulations set by the law on advertising. Commitment to this new code of ethics is voluntary and the smaller brewers in the country - of which there are many - have so far failed to respond to an appeal to support the initiative. Its advocates claim that although sales and profit margins are important there are certain boundaries that should not be crossed. Czechs are the world leaders in beer consumption per head - which is fine as far as brewers are concerned - but they are less happy with the fact that many teenagers are regular beer drinkers and some children start drinking it even before they are in their teens. Although it may prove difficult for them to influence consumer habits the country's leading brewers are determined to give it a try. Ivan Sima is secretary of the association of Prague breweries:

"The new code of ethics stipulates what brewers should avoid in promoting and selling their product. For example they are not allowed to target children as consumers, ads should not suggest that beer drinking makes one "more of a man", beer ads should not appear in the vicinity of schools and kindergartens and so forth."

Are you hoping that this will give you an edge on the market over other brewers?

"Of course, the fact that we have signed something which the others didn't sign is meaningful but the main reason why we signed is that we really want to promote this new trend. Of course, some may see it as an advantage on the market and we are not against that. "

How does Czech beer compare with foreign brands?

"Czech beer is the best of course! Generally the quality of beer in the world has gone up in the last decade and it is pleasing that today you can drink good beer anywhere in the world but there is still a difference between Czech beer and foreign brews. That can even be proven in laboratory tests. The typical feature of Czech beer is that the degree of fermentation is lower which means that more of what we call the "extract" from the hops and malt is retained. This gives Czech beer a slightly different colour and a better -or stronger taste."