Tweet It's well known that it's not too difficult to find imitations of famous and horribly over-priced brands of clothes and accessories (by the way, I don't know who's the biggest fool, someone who buys a 2000EU handbag or someone who buys a knock-off of said handbag because they want to pretend they can afford such thing). I've also read about knock-off wines, you know, plonk that is given a label of a well known (and perhaps horribly overpriced) chateau this or that (there was a great Benny Hill gag with that), but this is the first time I've heard about knock-off beer.
According to the news, customs and police last week arrested a gang that was doing just that.
Česká Televize gives a bit more detail on their news broadcast. It seems this gang was sourcing the beer from a small local brewery and selling it under well known brands.
The authorities haven't released the names of either the brewer or the brands that were affected. They have said, though, that one of the members of the gang had some sort of relationship with the small brewery, while others were linked to distributors.
I find it hard to believe that the unnamed small brewer from Central Bohemia was doing this on purpose, unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be what bigger brewers believe, in fact, they claim in ČT's report that it's rather common practice, that smaller breweries sell their stuff under better known brands, even the people of Staropramen complain about that!
Now, before you ask why the fuck a small brewer would sell their beers as Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, Gambrinus, etc., when people's preferences are slowly shifting towards smaller breweries, let me say that it's not fair to the brewers, regardless of whatever crap they happen to brew, and to the consumers, who drink whatever they drink because they like it.
That said, why the fuck will a small brewer sell their beers as Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, Gambrinus, etc. when people's preferences are a slowly shifting towards smaller breweries? Really, think about it for a second. People are more and more looking for alternative brands or rediscovering regional ones. I know quite a few brewers and believe me, they are proud of their product and they would never think of doing something so foolish.
I'm not saying that this things don't happen, it's obvious that they do, but I see it more as the work of pub owners, who buy a cheaper brand X and sell it as a more expensive brand Z (or a 10º for a 12º), knowing that most people will not notice the difference. I'm sure most times they do it to rip people off, but there are others who might do it because they want to get something through the thick skulls of their štamgasty, either way, the brewers can't be held responsible for that.
Perhaps, next time you got to a Staropramen or Gambáč pub you may want to have a look at the kegs, though, you'll yourself a favour if you go somewhere that offers beers that have been properly brewed at a smaller brewery, just to be sure.
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