Budweiser Budvar, N.C. ranks amongst important tourist destinations in the south of Bohemia. The brewery’s Visitor Centre provides entertainment as well as education during the tours of the brewery’s brewing premises, also offering comprehensive tourist services. Additionally, the brewery runs the “Budvar Beer Restaurant”, where the guests can savour some specialities of Czech cuisine besides the perfectly treated beer. The range of services is completed by a completely equipped facility for company training courses or social events.
Budweiser Budvar Visitor Centre is entering this year’s tourist season with many introductions. The visitors will newly be able to view a panoramic film about beer production available in five languages projected in a copper model of a wort tub, which they can start themselves in the entrance hall. The tour route was enhanced by several notice boards next to some new machines that have recently been installed in the bottle filling room. “The tourists appreciate three newly created places for taking photographs as well. The most interesting one is the statue of the knight from the ‘SAYING NO MAKES US WHO WE ARE’ campaign, which is two metres tall. The tourists also can newly be photographed in a lager tank model directly in the brewery’s cellar,” says Budweiser Budvar’s Gastronomy Department manager Tomáš Olejník. More details on the knight statue can be found at the end of the press release.
“41,881 visitors took part in the tours of the brewery last year, which is 6% more than in 2012 and nearly double the amount of 2002 visitors. The visitors appreciate particularly the fact that they can move around directly in the authentic brewing areas of the brewery as opposed to an artificial fun park for tourists,” adds Tomáš Olejník. Last year’s tourists ranged from all continents. “People from India, New Zealand and Peru visited us; nonetheless guests from the German language area prevailed, participating in the total number of tourists by 37% last year. The second most important group with 20% participation were domestic visitors," specifies Tomáš Olejník. Tourists from German-speaking countries generally turned up in large organized groups, as opposed to the Czechs, who prefer rather individual tourism. They were followed by tourists from English- speaking countries with about 8% participation.
The brewery tours are led by professional tour guides and available in Czech as well as six other languages. “The most favoured part of the tour for visitors older than 18 years of age is tasting the non-pasteurised and non-filtered Budweiser Budvar Lager directly in the lager cellar, while children love the bottle filling room with two robots,”concludes Tomáš Olejník.
The multimedia exposition “The Story of Budweiser Beer” is not going to be available for visitors this year due to reconstruction. Nonetheless, the works will not affect the brewery tours in any way, as they will take place without any limitations.
The brewery is open to visitors every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. upon a previous E-mail or telephone order. Every working day (in the summer at weekends as well) at 2 p.m. people can take part in a tour even without a prior booking. Further details on Budweiser Budvar tours, including their online reservation can be found at http://www.visitbudvar.cz. Owing to the Google Street View technology, you can now try the whole tour route virtually at http://goo.gl/nf3TCW.
Knights guarding Budweiser Budvar brand’s values
For nearly 120 years, Budweiser Budvar Brewer has been saying its emphatic NO to altering the traditional brewing processes, licensed production or selling trademarks, thus protecting the quality of its beer, its dignity and honour like a lone knight in the field. The knight figure represents a symbol and a metaphor for this battle. A knight with typical attributes and mission was created for each of the four NOs that make the base of the Budweiser Budvar trademark values. A statue of the knight that says NO to replacing the original ingredients has recently been put up in the Visitor Centre. Its main mission is to protect the holy trinity of brewing (hops, malt and water).
The production of the statue took 12 weeks, with five people participating in it. As the knight’s look had only been pictured in one view in the illustrations, it had to be transferred into the three dimensional world. The work was based on drawings, which solved the supporting frame, attachment system, surface structure and the proportions of the real character. These designs made just a concept, since such a complex work of art constantly changes during the work process. A lot of material was used while making the knight. The frame, which created the knight ‘skeleton’, and the pedestal are made of welded iron. These two components alone weigh over 100 kg, therefore it was necessary to accomplish compactness and especially safety of the statue. The knight’s body is a combination of wood and soft materials. The statue surface was the most demanding, as it is very detailed. These details were first carved from wood and subsequently moulded into a cast from resin and silicone.
By this time, the knight still was only an abstract figure. However, when it was ‘dressed’ in its armour, a real formidable guardian of our values appeared. We believe that it will approach with honesty and determination when guarding the Budweiser Budvar brand’s values.
Budweiser Budvar Brewery tours
The tours of the brewery’s brewing premises are led by professional tour guides giving a detailed commentary in Czech as well as 6 other world languages (German, English, French, Russian, Italian and Spanish). Visitors can also taste the non-pasteurised and non-filtered Budweiser Budvar Lager directly from a lager tank as a part of the tour, which lasts approximately 60 minutes and is suitable for groups of 5-50 people (the tasting only for the over-18s). The standard price of the tour is CZK 120, but discount can be provided for certain groups. The tour must be ordered in advance and takes place daily. Through their tour guide, the visitors can learn about the brewing secrets of Budweiser Budvar Original Lager, which lies particularly in using raw materials of top quality (Moravian barley, Saaz hops and water from artesian wells) as well as thorough adhering to the traditional brewing procedure under the supervision of experienced maltsters.