Czech brewer Budvar increases net profit again amid pandemic

PRAGUE (AP) — Budvar, the Czech brewer who has been in a long legal dispute with the United States

PRAGUE (AP) — Budvar, the Czech brewer that has been in a lengthy legal dispute with U.S. beer giant Anheuser-Busch over use of the Budweiser brand, boosted its net profit by about 10% for the second consecutive year as it recorded record production and exports despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Budejovicky Budvar NP, a 126-year-old state-owned brewery, said its net profit reached 337 million Czech crowns ($14.4 million) in 2021, from 305 million the previous year. Its net income increased by almost 10% in 2020.

Its exports rose by a record 11% in 2021, reaching 1.3 million hectoliters (34.3 million gallons). Budvar sells its beer in more than 70 countries, with Germany being one of its main markets.

Budvar also posted record production for the second straight pandemic year, rising 4.6% to 1.8 million hectoliters (47.8 million gallons).

The pandemic has affected beer markets, with demand for beer in tanks and barrels declining as bars and restaurants closed for a time, but demand for bottled beer increasing.

The brewer has grown in recent years to produce more than 2 million hectoliters (52.8 million gallons) of beer per year. This investment helped her react to changes in the markets during the pandemic.

A recent suggestion by the conservative TOP 09 party, a member of the ruling coalition, that Budvar could be privatized because it is not the role of the state to brew beer received overwhelmingly negative responses. The government has not yet discussed the issue.

Budvar and Anheuser-Busch have been in a dispute over the Budweiser brand since 1906. Anheuser-Busch joined AB InBev in 2008.

Budvar has the exclusive rights to sell Budweiser beer in most major European markets, including Germany. But in the UK, Budvar and AB InBev can sell Budweiser after a court ruled consumers could tell the difference between the two. AB InBev is significantly larger.

The Associated Press

Lynn A. Saleh