While Czechs’ beer consumption dropped slightly in recent years producers are not worried. In the past two years exports have steadily increased, hitting record figures. In the past five years beer exports have risen by more than 40 percent.
The weak crown and the country’s reputation for excellent beer have driven beer exports to record figures in the past two years. In 2015 Czech breweries exported a record amount of the golden brew –amounting to 6 billion crowns.
Czech beer is increasingly popular around the world and nowhere more so than in the country’s former sister state Slovakia which last year surpassed Germany, traditionally the biggest consumer of Czech beer. In 2015 Slovakia imported 1 108 thousand hectoliters of Czech beer, ahead of Germany which imported over 900 thousand hectoliters. Another neighbor –Poland, placed third with 345 thousand hectoliters followed by Sweden (268 thousand hectoliters), Great Britain (227 thousand hectoliters), the US and South Korea.
Germany is the biggest beer market in Europe, but imports only make up 8 percent of overall consumption. Even so, the country is the second biggest importer of Czech beer, taking both bottled and draft beer which is available in the big cities.
Although Czechs are drinking less beer, some breweries report a ten percent increase in production due to interest from abroad. The Budvar brewery in České Budějovice celebrated a high in its 120-year history – selling 900 thousand hectoliters of beer to 75 states and another 700 thousand hectoliters on the home market. Its sales figures have steadily been rising since 2010 and in the past decade production has grown by 39 percent. Germany and Slovakia are the company’s main clients but it reports double digit sales figures in exports to Italy, Canada and Sweden and it is establishing new markets in Egypt, Mali and Nigeria.
Apart from the established and world-famous breweries such as Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen or Budvar there is a growing demand for newer brands. The Bernard brewery has approximately two percent of the Czech beer market but its production last year grew by six percent due to interest from abroad. It currently exports to 35 states.
Although Czechs’ beer consumption has stagnated or even dropped mildly in recent years, they are still the world’s biggest consumers of beer. Czechs currently consume 147 litres of beer per capita, and while in the past ten years consumption per head has dropped by about five percent the present amount consumed is still 40 liters more per head than people consume in Germany or Austria. And Czechs drink almost exclusively Czech beer – firstly because they believe it to be the best and secondly because due to the weak crown beer imports have dropped to an all-time low.