In 2015, Plzensky Prazdroj recorded a growth in sales volumes on both local and international markets. The 1.5 % increase in sales in the Czech Republic was largely driven by growing demand for traditional Czech lagers; that is, eleven-degree and twelve-degree Pilsner-type beers. The company recorded an increase in sales of non-alcoholic beer, particularly mixed beverages based on Birell non-alcoholic beer, and Kingswood cider recorded yet another successful year. Plzensky Prazdroj continued to support traffic in pubs and restaurants, extending the well-established forms of support such as bartender training sessions with a taste experience program named Brewers Choice, designed for consumers. The year also saw a growth in export volumes – export volumes of the most iconic Czech beer Pilsner Urquell were up by 4.5% year-on-year and the total export volume of all brands from the Plzensky Prazdroj portfolio grew by 12 %.
In 2015, Plzensky Prazdroj continued to focus intensively on supporting the On-premise channel and to work closely with those running pubs and restaurants. “It is obvious that in draught beer people seek both new taste experiences and a high-quality experience with those brands they already know. Therefore, we have completely separated Gambrinus products designed for the on-premise channel from those variants that are meant to be sold in bottles; last year’s Unpasteurised Gambrinus 12 is, just like its 10-degree variant, an extraordinary beer which is only available on tap. We have also been increasing the number of tank outlets, which have grown in popularity as people like visiting these premises to have a beer of maximum freshness. Sales volumes of tank beer have grown by 3.5% on the previous year,” comments Paolo Lanzarotti, Plzensky Prazdroj’s Chief Executive Officer.
Last year’s growth of over 1.5% was driven by consumers increasing appetite for premium beer.. In particular the premium Pilsner Urquell lager sales were up by 11.5% on the local market. Also successful were Velkopopovický Kozel 11 and Radegast Ryze Horka Dvanactka (a twelve-degree beer), as well as limited-edition beers designed for pubs and restaurants as part of the new program named Brewers Choice. Since May 2015, Prazdroj has launched special and unique beer batches, e.g., Gambrinus Fresh Hops, Velkopopovický Kvasnicak (yeast beer) and Radegast Spicy Bitter, in almost two thousand pubs. These special beers are available on tap across the country, with the offer in the relevant premises being changed on a monthly basis.
“Our long-term focus has been on enhancing the Czech beer culture through staff training, consultancy for pub owners, offers of tank technology, collaboration on opening new concept restaurants, support in improving the pub environment as well as the level of service rendered. Those pubs which work hard to provide their guests with perfect services and a pleasant environment have recorded up to 20% higher sales as well as a higher frequency of repeat visits.” explained Paolo Lanzarotti.
Export volumes growth in Europe and Asia
Prazdroj recorded a growth in export volumes, which were up by 12% compared with 2014. The business reinforced its positions especially in certain European countries, e.g., Slovakia, Germany, Poland, Austria and Slovenia. Demand for beer from Plzensky Prazdroj grew on Asia markets, in particular in South Korea. “In 2015 again, we were able to gain new markets, such as Ghana and Hong Kong, and for the first time in contemporary history of the company we delivered our beer to China,” says Paolo Lanzarotti.
Another extraordinary year for Pilsner Urquell beer was helped by excellent export performance together with growth on the local market – total sales on both the local and international markets exceeded last year’s record breaking number, thus moving further ahead of the 2 million HL mark hit in 2014.
Sales of Kingswood cider continue to grow
Three years after the launch of the first cider in the Czech Republic, the step taken by Plzensky Prazdroj with the Kingswood brand has proved almost visionary. This low-alcoholic beverage made from apples, which until then had been almost unknown to Czechs, has not only gained a solid position on the local market, but has been growing steadily in popularity. In 2015, Kingswood sales volumes grew by more than 25% year-on-year. Consumers prefer to enjoy this premium cider in restaurants, where the brand has a strong share of business. The increase in sales was helped by growing popularity of the hot Kingswood variant in the winter months.
Birell has been on the increase
The demand for Birell non-alcoholic beer (NAB) has grown by 17%, this particularly involves its flavoured variants. Plzensky Prazdroj has a strong share of the non-alcoholic beer sales in the Czech Republic. We have seen sales grow by double digit again as adults seek a no-compromise natural healthy alternative to soft drinks, bringing taste and natural credentials.
Thus, the popularity of non-alcoholic ‘radlers’ keeps growing and we can say that it is thanks to them that non-alcoholic beer has slowly been entrenching itself in the minds of consumers as a representative of non-alcoholic beverages in general.
Plzensky Prazdroj’s total sales remained flat with those achieved in 2014 (approximately 10m HL), with the positive export and domestic performance impacted by the trend of licensed production in Russia.
The upcoming period will be crucial for Czech beer culture
“There is no other country except for the Czech Republic where the beer throughput in pubs accounts for 40% of the overall market consumption. This fact is acknowledged world-wide. It is also rather unique and deserves to be protected; Czech beer culture needs to be promoted and maintained. This is true in particular given the potential legislative changes that will significantly impact the Czech hospitality industry. Everyone must join forces in order to preserve this culture – breweries can do so by focusing on the range of products and beer quality, pub owners by focusing on service quality and the pub environment, politicians by providing the right form of support to businesses, and finally, consumers by visiting pubs and restaurants,” concludes Paolo Lanzarotti.
Notes for editors
- With total sales of almost 10 million hectolitres in 2015 (including licensed production abroad) and exports to more than 50 countries around the world, Plzensky Prazdroj is a major beer producer in the region and the largest exporter of Czech beer.
- Plzensky Prazdroj, a.s. received the Golden Certificate in the 2015 Top Responsible Company competition organised by the Business for the Society platform to award its long-lasting contribution to the development of social responsibility.