Plzeňský Prazdroj’s beers are growing in popularity on domestic as well as on the international market. Last year, the company sold over 4 million hectolitres of beer abroad, which is an 8% growth compared to the previous year. Its export volumes went up by 6% (over 1.5 million hectolitres) and also the volumes brewed under licence increased, by almost 13 % to 2.6 million hectolitres. Overall, Plzeňský Prazdroj’s volumes sold both at home and abroad exceeded 11 million hectolitres.
Prazdroj’s success on the international scene is driven by its premium lager, Pilsner Urquell. Last year, export sales of this brand surpassed the mark of 1 million hectolitres. In total, 2.5 million hectolitres of Pilsner Urquell was consumed both locally and abroad last year. Together with its iconic lager, the company exports the unique Czech beer culture to other countries. “On international markets, we have seen a steady interest in sales of draught Pilsner Urquell – last year, nearly every fourth Pilsner Urquell beer was poured from our keg or tank,” summarized Plzeňský Prazdroj’s CEO, Grant Liversage. Today, consumers can enjoy ‘tank’ Pilsner Urquell in 90 pubs and restaurants abroad with a 16% year-on-year increase in the sales of Pilsner Urquell in tanks.
Behind the increasing popularity of Pilsner Urquell lager abroad is the company’s robust program focused on draught beer care and quality. Every year, Plzeňský Prazdroj trains approximately 30 new bartenders from abroad to ensure that its original lager tastes great all around the world, just like it does in a top-quality Czech pub. A group of experts coming out of the training as so-called ‘Brewery Tapsters’, led by Robert Lobovský, Prazdroj’s senior trade brewmaster for international markets, subsequently train other ‘tapsters’, thus enhancing the standard of pouring Pilsner Urquell lager in their home country as well as other countries. “Every country has its own tradition of beer pouring, which local bartenders stick to, but once they’ve been shown by one of our Brewery Tapsters how proper beer pouring influences the taste of our Pilsner beer, they buy into it immediately and want to learn how to pour the premium Czech lager the right way,” says Robert Lobovský. “At the moment, we have 85 Tapsters, ambassadors of Pilsner beer quality around the world, and new ones are coming. They are in great demand – on average, at a pub or restaurant where beer is poured by such a Tapster, the throughput grows by 18 to 30 %” Lobovský explained. Most of them are based in the UK and South Korea. They have been trained in Pilsen and meet there regularly at an annual event – Pilsner Fest, which takes place in early October to celebrate the anniversary of the first-ever batch of Pilsner Urquell lager.
The majority of Pilsner Urquell lager was exported to Slovakia, Germany and South Korea. Going forward, Prazdroj wants to continue growing sales of its premium lager abroad. In addition to traditional markets, the company is looking at high-potential markets in Asia. Starting April, it began exporting beer regularly to China, where it wants to offer Pilsner Urquell lager to consumers mainly in metropolitan areas. Also in April 2018, the Asahi Group took over the distribution processes for Pilsner Urquell in Japan. “Asahi wants to focus on beer in kegs and bottles. In Japan, like in other parts of Asia and around the globe, Pilsner Urquell enjoys the position of a super-premium product and we are going to further support this position. Our goal is to focus not only on volume but also on offering Pilsner Urquell at its best quality, that’s why we are working with Asahi to carefully select restaurants in which it will be available,” said Grant Liversage.
Notes for editors
Plzensky Prazdroj in 2017 sold at home and abroad over 11 million hl; domestic production amounted to 7 million hl, exports over 1.5 million hl and licensed production of 2.6 million hl. With exports to more than 50 countries around the world, Plzensky Prazdroj is the leader among beer producers in the region and the largest exporter of Czech beer.
For its long-term contribution to promoting corporate social responsibility in the Czech Republic, Plzeňský Prazdroj was awarded the Gold Certificate in the 2017 TOP Responsible Company competition.