Overall Budvar grew its sales by 6%, while exports soared 12% driven both by new markets and growth in existing ones such as Germany and the UK.
Here Budvar’s sales increased 20% in the 12 weeks to November 8, according to Nielsen – compared to just 5% growth for the overall premium lager market.
“We are outstripping premium lager in the off-trade by a factor of five,” UK sales director Simon George told OLN.
“We have enjoyed a really good time in the off-trade, led by some of the innovation around the brand. The 33cl can has performed particularly well in Sainsbury’s and the 7.5% variant, Bud Premier Select, has performed very well in the Co-op.”
Budvar is celebrating 120 years since the company was incorporated, although beer has been brewed on the brewery site in Ceske Budejovice for a lot longer than that.
To celebrate, it has launched Budvar Tankové Pivo, an unpasteurised version of the beer delivered in 5hl tanks directly from the brewery to its first UK customer, a bar in London’s Hoxton called Zigfrid von Underbelly.
George plans to roll out another nine of the tanks around the country in the first wave of the beer’s launch, with some 30 to be installed over the next three years.
The launch is targeted primarily at the on-trade, although George could envisage retailers working with local on-trade outlets to sell the beers themselves.
He said: “It’s primarily an on-trade focus mainly due to the level of throughput required – the beer is supplied in 5hl tanks, the equivalent of 880 pints, and we will typically do two or three of those a week.
“But there is a burgeoning craft beer scene where you can go in and buy growlers of beer, and we wouldn’t proclude looking at that, but initially the focus is on the on-trade.”