Since its founding, Budweiser Budvar Brewery has been keeping up its famous tradition of brewing beer whose production started in the town of České Budějovice (Budweis) in the Middle Ages and that was simply called “Budweiser Bier” (Beer from Budweis) according to the place of its origin. The brewery has been trying to maintain the uniqueness of Beer from Budweis as well as its traditional brewing procedure in order to pass this wealth onto future generations.
10 years ago - on 1st May 2004, the Budweiser Budvar brand’s beers were entitled to use the Protected Geographical Indication logos (hereinafter referred to as PGI) of “Českobudějovické pivo” and “Budějovické pivo” (Beer from Budweis), thus joining the exclusive club of traditional European specialties, such as Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham), Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) etc. At the same time, the PGIs of “Českobudějovické pivo” and “Budějovické pivo” became the first indications of such kind granted to foods products from the newly joined EU countries in 2004 from Central and Eastern Europe. Budweiser Budvar later provided the Czech Maltsters and Brewers Association with its experience from the registration process during the association’s acquisition of the “České pivo” (Czech beer) PGI. The conditions for obtaining the “Českobudějovické pivo” and “Budějovické pivo” PGIs were stricter than in the case of the “České pivo” PGI.
“Producing beer labelled with the PGI represents our voluntary commitment to the consumers as well as a quality guarantee that goes well beyond the legal framework. The state administration authorities check the product’s compatibility with health or the compliance of its composition with the information on the label. However, they do not monitor quality as seen by standard consumers. In a consumer point of view, quality is considerably indicated by the PGI,” says Budweiser Budvar’s brewing master Adam Brož, Ph.D.
The PGI guarantees that the purchased product has been manufactured in a specifically prescribed way, using precisely specified ingredients and within the determined geographical area, therefore licensed production is out of question and consumers around the world can be certain that beer labelled with the PGI of “Českobudějovické pivo” (or “Budějovické pivo”) is not a cheap substitute and has been brewed in České Budějovice. “Owing to our original procedures, specific production conditions and producing only in our brewery, the whole brewing process is fully and directly under our control, thus guaranteeing unchangingly high quality of our beer, as opposed to licensed producers. Our customers from anywhere in the world can be sure that they have purchased an original product and not a fake,” adds Adam Brož.
The conditions for being granted the PGIs of “Českobudějovické pivo” and “Budějovické pivo” are very strict. To produce beer with this indication, the technological procedure and place of origin must specifically be adhered to and only precisely specified ingredients can be used. When brewing beer labelled with the PGIs of “Českobudějovické pivo” and “Budějovické pivo” logos, using e.g. rice or other ingredients and additives such as hop extracts are out of question. Meeting all the prescribed parameters for a PGI is continually checked by the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority.
Ingredients used in making beer with the “Českobudějovické pivo” PGI (Beer from Budweis)
Water: is drawn solely from 300 m deep artesian wells that are located in deep tertiary geological strata of České Budějovice basin. The water is so clean that it needs no treatment before brewing, and its purity meets the strictest criteria established for infant water. The composition of micro elements in this water plays its considerable role in the typical and unique flavour profile of the produced beer.
Barley: can only come from barley grown in a precisely geographically specified area of Moravia, which meets high-quality criteria and comes only from three strains of malt barley.
Hops: only the cones of Saaz hops of the “Žatecký poloraný červeňák” strain can be used in brewing, purchased and batched in a form of pressed hop cones (no pellets or extracts). The hops must be grown in specified cadastral areas of mere 14 villages in the Saaz hop area.
Yeasts: only a bottom fermentation strain of yeasts (Saccharomyces pastorianus) can be used, which was isolated at the beginning of the 20th century directly in Budweiser Budvar Brewery. The yeast qualities provide Beer from Budweis with a characteristic aroma and flavour.
Budweiser Budvar brand’s beer connects the specific geographical conditions of České Budějovice, the brewing skills, the experience of local people passed on for centuries, a strictly followed brewing procedure and the top-quality ingredients, jointly giving rise to the beer’s unmistakable flavour with mild bitterness, which is appreciated by customers worldwide.
The designation of origin in the European Union and in the Czech Republic
The European Union has been focussing on the protection of traditional local foodstuffs. The scheme includes three categories: Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG). Presently, 1227 Protected Designations of Origin are registered in the European Union, while in 2004, there were only about 600 of them. The highest share in the amount goes to Italy (264) and France (212). 26 Protected Designations of Origin are registered for beer, nine of which are in Germany, nine in the Czech Republic and five in Belgium. 33 Protected Designations of Origin altogether are currently registered in the Czech Republic.