Budweiser Budvar, N.C. has launched the construction of a completely new can-filling hall. The construction of the hall will be finished in October 2012, with the machinery being installed immediately afterwards. The line for filling cans will be put into trial operation in December 2012. The can-filling hall is going to be provided with the most modern equipment for filling 0.33 litre, 0.44 litre and 0.5 litre cans, furthermore allowing packing cans in many practical and comfortable group packaging in plastic wrap (e.g. for 4, 6, 8 or 12 cans) or in plastic wrap with a handle. The most important element of the technological complex is a filling mono-block using volumetric filling and working in aseptic environment. The line with an hourly capacity of 15,000 cans will be attended by only four workers. The machinery will be supplied by the German company KHS Dortmund, while the construction parts will be supplied by Česko a.s. The total investment will amount to CZK 97 million.
“The can-filling hall represents an important investment for us, as it allows a faster response to the customers’ requirements as well as substantially extending the product range of group packaging. The distribution and logistics system will get considerably simplified, since we are now filling cans at our contractor’s in Vienna brewery of Ottakringer. Furthermore, the investment will result in decreasing production costs of this type of product,” says Budweiser Budvar’s brewing-master Adam Brož, Ph.D. A quick response to the changes in demand and extending the product range should bring a further increase of beer can sales in the future.
The share of cans in Budweiser Budvar’s sales was 5.4 % in 2011 and has had an upward trend. The year-on-year increase of this type of packaging amounted to 7% in 2011. Budweiser Budvar’s domestic sales of cans were 30% higher last year than in 2010. At present, Budweiser Budvar offers its pale lager, draught beer and alcohol-free beer in cans.
Hindsight into the history: The origins of canned beer in Budweiser Budvar
In 1973, Budweiser Budvar launched a newcomer – beer in a can. However, the attempt to fill beer in cans directly in the brewery collided 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 really 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 can 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)