Tweet Well, in the end it seems that Heineken won't be Pivovary Staropramen a.s.'s new onwer, so forget everything I said here (actually, I think you have forgotten already, but just in case).
According to news reports, AB-InBev has put up for sale (or at least is very seriously considering doing so) their business units in Central Europe, the Czech one included, because they don't consider them strategically important and they need as much cash as possible to pay debt incurred when buying AB.
It looks like 11 breweries in 6 countries will be sold as one package and, though there isn't anything official yet, the private equity firm CVC Partners are the ones who have shown the biggest interest.
If this goes through, what will be the future of Staropramen? Several people have told me about how well the beer is being exported, it is rather well positioned in England, for example. That is, I'm sure, thanks to belonging to the biggest brewing group in the world. With them out of the picture, will the brand from Smíchov be able to keep that presence in those markets?
And what will mean for the brand domestically speaking? I've got no figures to back this claim, but I am of the idea that Staropramen has lost market. The reasons are several, the huge drop in quality (it is undrinkable now), the growth of the regional breweries and of the several spread in the country that belong to Heineken.cz. Staropramen does have a strong position in Prague, there is no doubt about it, out of the Capital, though, things change considerably. And when was the last time you saw a hospoda selling Ostravar out of the Ostrava area? If it wasn't that Braník is the second best selling bottled beer in the country, I don't know what would be of the company.
Anyway, the likely new owners seem to be an even more fundamentalist strain of accountants than the current ones, so an improvement in quality is something we should not hope for. However, the possibility of the insulting Stella Artois leaving this market is, by itself, a small reason to celebrate.
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