Exports of Czech beer drive record production in 2019

Breweries in the Czech Republic produced a record amount of beer in 2019 primarily because of growing export volumes, a new report has revealed.

According to data collected by the Czech Association of Breweries and Malthouses, this was the second year running brewers in the country had done so. 

Overall, Czech beer production increased by 1.6 per cent in 2019, reaching a total of 21.6 million hectolitres, English language publication Expats.cz reported.

Consumption of beer in the country also hit a new high of 142l per capita in 2019, a slight increase on the 141l reported last year. While beer consumption in the Czech Republic is often cited as being the highest in the world, the main reason for the record production last year was increased exports of beer.

Exports of Czech beer grew by 4.5 per cent in 2019, while exports of non-alcoholic beer rose even more, by 22 per cent. Neighbouring countries Slovakia, Germany, and Poland were the main destination in the EU, while Russia, South Korea and the US topped markets elsewhere.

“Exports to most of our traditional export markets continued to grow last year,” Martina Ferencová, the Czech Association of Breweries and Malthouses’s executive director, told local media. “We saw a more significant decline only in the United Kingdom, Austria and South Korea.”

Czech beer exports to the UK were down 16 per cent year-on-year in 2019.

However, production is forecast to fall significantly this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions on businesses. After being closed since mid-May, pubs and restaurants in the Czech Republic have now fully reopened.

In March, The Canmaker reported that Czech brewers had switched from packaging beer in kegs to cans and bottles in response to the closures. According to Reuters, brewers including Pilsner Urquell and Budejovicky Budvar had increased production of cans and bottles and had stopped refilling kegs.