25 Nov 2008

Apologies

Among the many good things blogging has is that there is no censorship or editing. I am free to write whatever I want, however I want it and if people don't like it, it is actually more their problem than mine.

The other day, when reviewing this year's SPP awards I wanted to be bit of a badass and I took issue with their decision to give Budvar the second place, and wrote the following:
"Budvar as second, not a chance, they haven't innovated, they haven't grown, they haven't done anything new worth mentioning. Primátor should be in their place (if not first)"
I don't have any animosity towards Budvar (as I do have with other big brewers). I might not be a fan of their beers, but I like most of them, in fact, I prefer Budvar beers over pretty much any other from the big breweries.

There was, of course, some reaction. First there was a comment from Velký Al, who saw things differently. Then I got an email from Petr Samec, who obviously wasn't too happy with my opinion, and said...
"I have only one important comment to your text - the cathegory of breweries:
[...]
You are mistaking little bit:
In fact, we have grown (+ 9% beer otput in 2007 in comparison with 2006) and we have launched quite new brand Pardal (in March 2007) on local market in South Bohemia. It was important innovation. In South Bohemia, we have sold 76 000 hectolitres of Pardal in 2007. That is why we have decided to extend the Pardal distribution acrosss the whole Czech Republic since January 2008. Pardal is very succesfull - our sales forecast for 2008 is 150 000 hectolitres (this sold volume is similar to the total production of Bernard brewery and the growt of Pardal will be almost 100% year to year).
Of course we did not innovated our traditional beer brands - i.e. Budvar - but this NO INNOVATION of Budvar brand is our basic and stategic mission. We are proud not to innovate/change this product (with the exception of packaging)."
After reading this I started thinking about the words I'd written, and finally, came to the conclusion that I'd been unfair (and also wrong about the growth bit).

I could have easily dismissed the thing, continued my life as if nothing happened. But that's not my style, I like critising hard those who deserve it (and believe me, I have fun with that), but I don't think Budvar deserved such hard words.

I still don't think they should have been second place. But the truth is that, at a time when many industrial breweries are cheaping down their beers, budvar at least still lagers them as long as it takes, and still uses hops flowers, and not extracts or other subsitutes. Their beers are still of good quality. Maybe not comparable with many of my favourite beer's, but they brew more than a million hl a year! 

The only serious criticism I have towards them is Pardál. I still don't think it is a good beer. I don't know why Budvar came out with it, being that they already had a very good výčepní.  I also believe that is something that came into the market a couple of years too late, but then, I don't work in the brewery, and, according to what Petr tells me, it is successful. Anyway, I really hope Budvar will come out next year with a product that will compete with Master, the premium brand Pilsner Urquell presented last year. I believe they have the chops for that.

In the meantime, I stand corrected, and apoligise, first to the people in Budvar, but foremost, to my readers.

Na Zdraví!

6 comments:

  1. I really have no idea what to make of Pardal - have had it on tap and from the bottle and really it is nothing I would go out of my way to drink. It is very much the lowest common denominator approach to beer and one which the Czech market is flooded with. I can only hope that Pardal doesn't affect the core Budvar brands negatively.

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  2. Perhaps it's my lack of experience with some of the more esoteric offerings from the Czech Republic, but I found many Budvar beers to be quite tasty. Granted, the closest I've gotten is sitting in Budvarka, and only being in Prague for a day and a half (and if I can scrape together the money, this should change!), but I greatly enjoyed what they had to offer. Not sure if that's due to different formats the beer comes in, and not to argue subjective tastes, but I just thought I'd show them a little love.

    Plus, I think many American beer lovers would gladly trade Budweisers with you.

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  3. dear Beerphilopher,
    1 I apoligize for my poor english.
    2 Thank you so much for your blog. It is always a joy to read it
    Thanks to you i found, on a holiday in Prague, that nice pub in holesovice with that beautiful klaster beer, and the pivni-klub with 6 (!) great czech beers on the tap.
    3 Pardal. Im living in the Netherlands. I've never drunk Pardal in my life but i guess it is much better than the heineken crap we have. Count your blessings.

    with friendly regards,
    Ries

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  4. Hi Ries,

    Thanks for the comments. You really did go to that Klášter pub in Holešovice. You must be a very brave man! :)
    Anyway, I am really glad you enjoyed it thanks to my blog.
    I don'T like Pardál, but I think I would drink it before Heineken any day.

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  5. Hi to all you beer-loving-lads :-)
    Just one comment regarding Pardal:
    You probably missed the story behind, that Budvar invited real people from South Bohemia to develop the beer with their help. These lads were tasting the brewed and based on their comments the brewmaster tuned the beer :-) That is what make this beer different and worth existing, as this is finetuned by its drinkers themselves.

    Petr

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  6. Petr,

    The story of Pardál is very well known (and it's been copied by Otravar recently). I still don't think it's a good beer, but that's my opinion.
    What I, and I think every beer enthusiast in the world, would love is if Budvar ever made at least a limited edition of a beer designed with the help of those with a more demanding palate, not just the people who like to knock down 10 pints in one seat. Will that ever happen?

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