Budějovický Budvar must put up with tough business competition in more than 60 countries, therefore the brewery has constantly been modernising its production capacities. The investment primarily concerns the production technologies, logistics, business and marketing. Between 1991 and 2013, Budějovický Budvar increased the volume of brewed beer nearly threefold, thus substantially boosting the sales both locally and abroad in particular.
Since its founding, Budějovický Budvar Brewery has been a traditional export company. As early as at the beginning of the 20th century, its beer was exported not only to many European countries, but also to Africa and the USA. At present, Budějovický Budvar exports about half of its sold beer. The brewery has been achieving considerable export success in the long term, particularly on traditional and at the same time demanding markets in Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Slovakia a and Russia as well as in other countries such as Italy, Switzerland or France. In 2001, Budějovický Budvar managed to return to the American market after 62 years. The Czech original premium lager has been sold there under the name of Czechvar for trademark reasons. The brewery has also succeeded in expanding to entirely new markets, particularly in Asia and South America. Therefore it is not surprising that Budějovický Budvar Brewery participates in Czech beer export by one fifth and pale lager Budweiser Budvar B:ORIGINAL ranks amongst the best known Czech products in the world.
The high quality of the beer brewed in Budějovický Budvar was first officially appraised by a gold medal from the Trade show in Prague in 1896. To this day, the brewery has received a large number of further Czech and international awards at quality competitions. Fifteen gold medals from the international competition “Monde Selection” gradually awarded to different types of beer from Budějovický Budvar have belonged to the most significant achievements in recent years. Gaining the World´s Best Lager title awarded to dark lager Budweiser Budvar B:DARK in 2007 by the British magazine “Beers of the World” also brought a lot of delight.
David a Goliath
During the 19th century, the renown of the beer from Budweis reached such a degree that other breweries began to imitate it. Coming across “beer from Budweis” for instance in the New World (the name for the American continent at the time) was not so unusual. As early as in 1872, the original beer from Budweis was imported to the USA by the company V. Horak and later by Koster & Bial. However, some American breweries as well started to use the designation “Budweiser” when labelling their beers, e.g. Dubois, Pennsylvania – “Dubois Budweiser”, Fred Miller Brewing Company, Wisconsin – “Milwaukee Budweiser”, Acme Brewing Company, Georgia – “Acme Budweiser”. The company of Anheuser-Busch located in St. Louis and producing “Budweiser Lager Beer” was amongst them.
The evidence of the above-mentioned beers and the American breweries can be found in the national archives of the USA, so can a record of court proceedings between two American breweries - Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association versus Fred Miller Brewing Company. Both companies sought to obtain the exclusive right to use the designation of "Budweiser" in the name of their products. Therefore they attempted to prove that it was the flavour of their beer that was the closest to the original from České Budějovice.
The statement of Mr. Adolphus Busch, the founder of Anheuser-Busch company of Thursday 26th April 1894, 10.30 a.m., in the South New York District Court, USA:
- "The idea was simply to brew a beer similar in quality, color, flavor and taste to beer then made at Budweis, or in Bohemia."
- "The Budweiser beer is brewed according to the Budweiser Bohemian process."
To illustrate the situation, the statement of Mr. A Busch in the case of C. Conrad versus J. Uhrig Brewing Co. in the District Court in Missouri in 1878 may be cited:
- "The process I have described is the process by which beer is made in Budweis to my best knowledge. The knowledge I have in regard to that I have obtained from books and from people that have worked there."
All the disputes in the USA were eventually won by Anheuser-Busch company, which became the only owner of the “Budweiser” trademark within the USA. At the beginning of the 20th century, trademark disputes over the “Budweiser” trademark originated between Budějovický Budvar Brewery and Anheuser-Busch company. Not even 1911 and 1939 agreements of both parties brought any conciliation, and the disputes have kept going till the present day. In these disputes, Budějovický Budvar Brewery has always defended and is going to defend its identity and indefeasible right to designate its beer with the brands of “Budweiser”, “Budweiser Budvar” or “Budějovický Budvar”. Besides, the terms of “Budějovické pivo” and “Budějovický Budvar” are protected by the regulations on the protection of geographical names and designations of origin. This form of protection results from the Lisbon Agreement reagarding geographical indications and bilateral agreements between the Czech Republic and other countries. In addition to that, the terms of “Českobudějovické pivo” and “Budějovické pivo” have been the Protected Geographical Indications of the European Union since 2004.
The disputes over the Budweiser Budvar trademark have been going on for more than 100 years, with the motivation of both rivals being somewhat different though. Whilst the supranational company has been seeking the world exclusivity regarding the “Budweiser” trademark, Budějovický Budvar wants to maintain the original beer from Budweis for next generations. The Czech side has been substantially more successful in the disputes, having won in about 70% of the cases.