With ceremonial ribbon-cutting, the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, today started up full operation of Plzensky Prazdroj’s new packaging hall. This historically largest investment of the Pilsen-based brewery to the amount of CZK 1 billion is part of a complex project to increase production capacity to support growing export demand and to ensure optimum quality to its overseas customers. It is another step in getting closer to the target of creating a major global brand with the legendary Pilsner Urquell lager – the flagship of Plzensky Prazdroj and its parent company SABMiller.
The project includes the expansion of production and bottling capacity and the introduction of new packaging, to be used for the first time in the new packaging hall. State of the art filtration and pasteurization technology, efficient bottling lines and closely linked distribution spaces, all have one aim, to ensure that the high quality and consistent excellence of the beer from the Pilsen brewhouse is preserved through top quality packaging processes as the beer starts its travels to our international customers.
Two new packaging lines handling bottles (returnable and non-returnable, in several packaging types) and two can types (0.5 l and 0.33 l) are located in the new building along with a distribution warehouse. The investment project includes two new filtration lines and bright beer tanks and follows on from a brewhouse expansion earlier in the year.
Mike Short, Chief Executive Officer of Plzensky Prazdroj stated: “Czech beer, the deeply rooted beer culture and tradition are amongst the most admired attributes of the Czech Republic. The Pilsner Urquell brand from Pilsen leads the “Czech Beer” phenomenon. It was because of its extraordinary taste, quality and heritage that SABMiller chose Pilsner Urquell as its flagship brand. Thanks to massive support from SABMiller the brand’s exports are growing and Pilsner beer is gaining new markets. The growing interest in Pilsner Urquell has led us to increase production and build a new packaging line, the most modern one in Central Europe. Plzensky Prazdroj is therefore entering a new era of history in the evolution of Pilsner Urquell as a world-famous beverage representing a great country in the middle of Europe and reflecting the skills of the people working here.”
The owner of Plzensky Prazdroj, multinational SABMiller, selected Pilsner Urquell as the flagship of its three international brands and spends considerable resources and effort on extensive marketing support and on the development of production and distribution. For instance, in Great Britain SABMiller will invest more than GBP 2 million (CZK 84 million) in Pilsner Urquell marketing and sales support during the next 18 months. The historical brewery in Pilsen is the original source of Pilsner Urquell beer. Therefore, it is quite logical that this brewery will respond to the ever-increasing demand from around the world. Since its purchase of Plzensky Prazdroj, SABMiller has already invested CZK 11.4 billion into the development of the company and its brands.
Milestones of the project “Packaging Hall”
- Approval of the project – October 2005
- Beginning of construction – March 2006
- Cementing of the last piles for the load-bearing frame – April 2006
- Beginning of technology installation – August 2006
- Test operation – October 2006
- Ceremonial, official beginning of production – November 16, 2006
FACTS OF THE NEW PACKAGING HALL AND FILTRATION AT THE PILSEN BREWERY:
- Size of the building, including warehouse – 20,000 m2 (i.e. nearly five soccer fields)
- Warehousing – warehouse of raw materials 2,800 m2, warehouse of produced beer 6,500 m2
- Capacity of the bottling line for returnable and non-returnable bottles, with five bottle types and several packaging types – 60,000 bottles per hour
- The line would produce a 103 km long line of bottles from the brewery in Pilsen to the St. Wenceslas’ statue in Wenceslas Square, Prague, in 26 hours.
- Capacity of the canning line for 0.5 l and 0.33 l cans – 26,000 cans size 0.5 l (or 38,000 cans size 0.33 l) per hour
- In less then nine days the 0.33 l cans from the line would fill the whole space of Namesti Republiky (Square of the Republic) in Plzen; when built, this was the largest Gothic square in Bohemia (8.1 million cans, ca. 27,000 m2).
- Total capacity of bright beer tanks – 14,000 hl (8 tanks, 2x 1,000 hl, 2 x 2,000 hl, 4 x 2,000 hl) + a 2,000 hl tank for degasified water.
- This year’s winner of the Czech part of international contest “Master Bartender – Pilsner Urquell Bartender 2006“, Mr. Lukas Svoboda from Prague-based restaurant U Pinkasu would be continuously drawing the beer from these tanks into half-liter glasses for 227 days (7 sec/glass).
- 2 flash pasteurizers, capacity 350 and 300 hl/h
- Filtration capacity – 1,200 hl per hour on two filtration lines
- Six kilometers of pipes provide the energy feeding (a new steam pipeline from Plzenska Teplarenska, a central pipeline bridge and a glycol cooling system)
- The whole structure, worth CZK 1 billion, was built at the top quality in only 7 months
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Corporate Affairs Department, Plzensky Prazdroj, a. s.
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- With total sales of more than 10.2 million hectolitres at home and abroad in the calendar year 2005, and with exports to more than 50 countries worldwide, Plzensky Prazdroj, a. s., is the leading beer producer in Central Europe and the largest exporter of Czech beer. The major Plzensky Prazdroj brands in the Czech Republic are Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Radegast and Velkopopovicky Kozel.
- Plzensky Prazdroj, a. s., is a member of SABMiller plc, by volume the second largest global brewing company worldwide with brewing interests or distribution agreements in over 60 countries across five continents.
- Pilsner Urquell is the international flagship of the group’s brand portfolio.