Eastern_Europe   Czecho-Slovakia   Czech Republic



Mike Nachshen


This past summer while visiting a major European city, I sampled some of the best beer I have ever had in my life. The beers were Pilsner Urquell and Budvar, and the city of course was Praha. Many beers claim to be Pilsners, but in order to be a true Pilsner, it must comes from the city of Pilsen in the Bohemia province of the Czech Republic. Unless the water and barley both come from Pilsen and the hops are grown in Zatec, it's just another beer. In  fact, so many beers claimed to be "Pilsners," the name was changed to Pilsner Urquell in the 18th century to denote that it was an authentic Pilsner. [2]


This beer, although far superior to any American or even German beer, was a bit bitter for my liking. Also, it was too strong for me. American beers only contain 2-3% alcohol, but Czech Pilsner contains as much as 5-7% alcohol. When combined with the fact that it is almost impossible to find an ice-cold beer anywhere in Praha, made Budvar my pivo of choice. Budvar takes its name from the town in which it is brewed, Ceske Budejovice. Many Europeans who travel to


 America, and many Americans who travel to Europe are often confused by the similarity in name between Czech Budvar and American Budweiser. The confusion over the Czech beer and its American counterpart dates back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, when an immigrant who worked in a Ceske Budejovice brewery began brewing a beer and gave it the German name of his hometown. Budvar maintains that the Czech beer came first, and that the American stole the name from the old country.[4]

 Budweiser on the other hand, says that the American beer came first, and the Czech brewery later changed its name. [1] This confusion has resulted in a legal battle over copyright infringement. This has been heightened by Budweiser's attempt to buy out the Czech-owned beer.


The end result is that Budweiser isn't available in most parts of Europe, and that Budvar can't be found in the United States. Despite the mix up over the name, Europeans and Americans quickly learn that there is a world of difference between the two beers.

While Budweiser is ill-flavored, watery and ill-flavored hot or cold, Budvar is rich, flavorful and delicious-- a pleasure to drink no matter at what temperature it is served.

There is no disputing that Czech beers are quality beers just looking at the numbers. Last year Czech beer imports increased by 220.2%, the largest increase in sales in the entire beer industry.[3] Even the world's most discerning beer-drinkers, the Germans will drink it. Many people will debate the ethics and health-effects of alcohol consumption, but those who enjoy an occasional beer owe a considerable debt to the Czech brewers.



1) Kyn, Oldrich., "EC 397 Lecture." Boston University, 28 SEP 94

2) Protz, Roger "All Beers Like to Think They Can Make a Pilsner, says Roger Protz, but Only the Czechs do the Real Thing." `The Observer,' London 10 JUL 94

3) "Modern Brewery Age." 21 MAR 94

4) "Emotional over Beer." `The Daily Telegraph,' 18 JUL 94

NOTE: All end-noted information with the exception of the Lecture was obtained via NEXIS, and is available by typing "Budvar and Czech" at the prompt.



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