While in 2005 the volume of the beer sold reached 9,000 hectolitres, last year’s volume got to more than 74,000 hectolitres. The brewery anticipates a further rise of sales of canned beer in the future.
Budweiser Budvar Brewery, N.C. put a new can-filling hall into operation today. The official cutting of the ribbon and switching on the most important part of the filling line – the beer filler, was done by the President of the Czech Republic Prof. Václav Klaus, CSc., with the presence of other state executive representatives, regional and local self-administration representatives, the investment unit suppliers and important canned beer purchasers.
The new beer can-filling hall is equipped with the most modern machinery for filling 0.33, 0.44 and 0.5 litre cans, furthermore allowing packing cans in practical group plastic-wrap packaging comfortable for consumers (4-pack, 6-pack, 8-pack and 12-pack) or packaging with a carrying strap. The most important element of the technological unit is a filling mono-block using volumetric filling and working in an aseptic environment. The line has a nominal hourly capacity of the beer filler of 16,800 cans. The German company of KHS GmbH supplied the machine technology, while the construction part was supplied by Porr a.s. company. The total value of the investment amounts to CZK 110 million.
“The racking room for cans has counted among our most important investments in the recent years. The canned beer sales are going to significantly increase and we anticipate a further rise of demand for beer in this type of packaging in the future,” says Budweiser Budvar’s CEO Jiří Boček. While in 2005 Budweiser Budvar Brewery sold 9,000 hectolitres of canned beer, last year’s volume got to more than 74,000 hectolitres. About 75 % of the cans head for the export, the biggest volumes of which go to Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Canada. “Due to our own racking room we will be able to respond to the customer demand faster, substantially extend the product range in group packaging and sell other types of beer in cans. In addition to that seven job positions will be created.” adds Jiří Boček. At present, Budweiser Budvar markets only its pale lager, draught beer and non-alcoholic beer in cans. The quick response to the changes in demand and extending the product range should bring a further rise in sales of canned beer in the future. The Viennese brewery of Ottakringer had provided the racking of the beer for Budweiser Budvar Brewery.
Hindsight into the history: The origins of canned beer in Budweiser Budvar Brewery
In 1973, Budweiser Budvar launched a newcomer – beer in a can. However, the attempt to fill beer in cans directly in the brewery met with technical problems and eventually resulted in a set-back. This operation had been prompted by the Directorate General for Breweries and Malt-houses, which purchased 1.5 million 0.33 litre cans for the brewery. At the same time a hand-filler was imported from Austria and temporarily installed in the old bottling house. All the manipulation and filling were carried out by hand. A very skilful worker was able to fill 100-120 cans an hour. Nevertheless, filling beer into cans on such a primitive basis could not continue, as problems occurred e.g. with cooling down the filled beer; the inspection of the canned fullness took no place at all at the beginning. Therefore, the brewery management entered into negotiations with the “Golden Pheasant” Brewery in Hurbanovo, where they had a can-filling line. In exchange for covering the costs, the filling of 12% beer took place here until 1974, when the stock of cans ran out. The price of a can in the local market was then laid down at CZK 5. Just to mention, the price of 0.5 litre of 12% beer was then established at CZK 2.80.
(Source: PhDr. Ivo Hajn: Budweiser Budvar in the new millennium, first edition - 2001)