Czechvar to expand sales

Beer passes test in California, moves into more states

Mar 28, 2001 - Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar confirmed what others have known for months -- that it is selling beer in the United States. It officially launched the beer it calls Czechvar at a press conference in Prague.


"Our goal was to sell our beer (in the U.S.) in a non-confrontational manner," general director Jiri Bocek said. He added adding that the brewery will not giving up the use of its traditional brand name on other export markets. Budvar and Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis have fought for years for the rights to the Budweiser, Bud and Budweis trademarks.

Under agreements dating back to 1939, Budvar is not permitted to use those trademarks in North America. Other agreements and court rulings give Anheuser-Busch has only limited access to some European markets.

"We made a deep legal analysis and we do not think our new trademark violates the rights of third parties, including Anheuser-Busch," Bocek said.

As Real Beer has been reporting since December, Budvar began test marketing Czechvar in the California in November. Officials said sales exceeded all expectations. As a result, sales will expand into Florida, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Georgia and North Carolina.

"This year we have a modest goal of selling 3,000 hectoliters of beer ... but we want to expand in the coming years in terms of increasing the number of outlets in the U.S. as well as sales in our current ones," said sales chief Robert Chrt. "Next year we would like to see at least twice as much."

- See earlier story.
- Roger Protz adds to the report.

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