The term “Czech beer” is officially protected as a geographical name, which is registered by the European Commission, based on the demands of the Czech union of breweries and malt plants. “Registration of the name by the European Commission is, without a doubt, a big international success for the Czech beer industry, and it will help with the preservation of the Czech beer phenomenon in its traditional conception. That is why we asked a certification body to confirm the right to use it,” says Ivo Kaňák, manager of the Radegast brewery.
Plzeňský Prazdroj, whose portfolio includes Radegast, asked the CAFIA for a so-called conformity of specifications. Based on this demand, the CAFIA verified beer samples and whether they are in accordance with the defined analytical parameters of Czech beer. To ensure that production is in accordance with the defined production process, it conducted an audit in the Radegast brewery. “The name Czech beer is the basis of the Czech beer industry. But we take it a little further and our criteria are even stricter,” adds I. Kaňák
Part of the audit was verification of documents about the origin of ingredients (e.g. proof of delivery) and checking of quality of the ingredients (laboratory analyses or information provided by suppliers of ingredients). Inspectors checked the production process including the list of characteristics (e.g. composition of ingredients and hops, temperature, malting time, records about hops) and fermentation protocols (e.g. records about the brewer's yeast used, the fermentation process and temperature). In the lab, they tested analytical parameters of production of wort (beer fog, extract, bitterness, achievable fermentation) and finally they tested the final product (alcohol, extract, colour, bitterness, pH, polyphenols, etc.).
What characterises Czech beer
Two thirds of beer consumed around the world is Pilsner beer. In comparison with foreign lagers, the Czech Pilsner is unique. It distinguishes itself by a larger amount of the residue (unfermented) extract, by a lighter colour, higher pH, and by a larger amount of polyphenols. Lower beer fermentation means less alcohol in beer. When using your senses, Czech beer can be distinguished mainly by fullness of its taste, by bitterness, by a longer bitter aftertaste and by a smaller amount of foreign scents and flavours. Stronger, more intensive bitterness supports the digestive process, and it is the source of impulses which prompt one to drink more.
CAFIA confirmed that Prazdroj met all conditions for using the name “Czech beer”:
1. place of production, in a brewery in a selected geographical area, that is in the Czech Republic
2. place of origin and composition of main ingredients
a) Hops, light type (“Czech hops”) used for brewing of beer, 80% has to be produced from approved types of spring double-row barley and at least 50% of the total composition of hops has to be from this type of barley grown on a geographically selected territory.
b) The minimal amount of Czech hops (or components which are produced from it) of approved types grown in the Žatec, Ústí nad Labem of Tršisko regions has to be at least 30% in a lager, at least 15% in individual groups.
c) soft or medium soft water from local sources
d) brewer's yeast – yeast strain, for so-called lower fermentation
3. technology used has to be typical for the production of Czech beer
The key is the decoction system of malting, from one malting up to three-time malting, and two-phase fermentation, actually the separation of main fermentation and finishing of fermentation (ripening).
4. indicators of quality of finished beer:
Light beer on tap
Original extract from wort
Notes to editors:
With total sales of 10.7 million hectolitres in the 2008 calendar year (including licenced production abroad) and with export to more than 50 countries, Plzeňský Prazdroj is the biggest producer of beer in the region and the biggest exporter of Czech beer.
Plzeňský Prazdroj, a. s., is a member of the SABMiller PLC Pilsner Urquell global group, it is an international flagship of SABMiller brands.
SABMiller PLC is one of biggest beer companies in the world, with activities and distribution in more than 60 countries on six continents. SABMiller's group of brands includes important international brands such as Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, and close to 200 successful regional and national brands.
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