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Greater Potential

Pivovarky Staropramen have decided to axe Kelt, a Stout-like dark lager that, until Primátor Stout came to the market, was the only local alternative to overpriced Guinness brewed who knows where. I'm not going to say that I'll miss it, but it wasn't a bad beer at all, it was actually pretty drinkable.

(Curiously, Kelt had their peak in sales in 2004. That year the Belgian Interbrew (the owners of Staropramen) merged with the Brazilian AmBev to spawn our beloved InBev. I wonder if the subsequent increase in the marketing for Stella Artois had anything to do in the decline of Kelt's sales)

The reason the Smíchov based brewery gave was: "“We see greater potential in our other brands.”

Which ones?

I remember reading sometime ago that the local chapter of InBev was planning to promote Hoegaarden more aggressively this summer. We're already at the end of July and I haven't seen much really. Who can blame them. AB-InBev has put their Czech subsidiary for sale and perhaps they don't want to invest in promoting a brand that might not be on the market in the near future.

The other brewery of the group in the Czech Rep., Ostravar has recently come out with Bazal, a beer "designed" by 121 fans of the football club Baník Otrava. Great potential that brand has. Yeah.

What else have they got up their sleeves? Oh, yeah, this:
Chill Staropramen. With this product, the folks from Smíchov, maybe inspired by Heineken, are finally confesing, though in a somewhat indirect way, that their beers is so crap that it's not worth tasting.

According to this abomination's web page, the swill will be dispensed from a frozen tap into a think frozen glass because that is the best way to fully concentrate the aromas and flavours (I wish I was joking on that). Apparently, this product is aimed at discos and clubs so people will drink it as a refreshment.

The page also says that the beer is Staropramen Ležák (a.k.a. Premium Lager). Considering that at "Chill" temperatures nobody is going to be able to feel any taste (not a bad thing in this case), what will prevent Staropramen from filling the kegs with lefovers from Braník or Staropramen Světlý (I suspect those two are the same beer with different label, I should check that with a blind tasting, but I'm not such a masoquist)?

Chill Staropramen, another product with a great potential.

Na Zdraví!

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  1. Ah yes, nothing quite like InBev for a true shooting-fish-in-a-barrel experience. I'd never heard of the 'chill' thing though, although it does look pretty ghastly.
    I too was rather disappointed to hear about the demise of Kelt. I used to drink loads of the stuff when I was in Ostrava. As such, it has a special place in my memories.
    Got to stick up for Bazal, though. I had a bottle or two recently and it wasn't bad at all, and I'd have it again. Although I'm aware that it may well just be re-packaged Granát.

  2. I wasn't commenting on the quality of Bazal, I haven't tasted it. But you have to agree that as a product it's got a VERY limited reach.

  3. A beer designed by Banik Ostrava fans? So let's see: minimal head, as most Banik fans are brainless morons; it must be a witbier to keep the racists happy. Thank gos there isn't a Sparta beer, although having said that, Staropramen is so devoid of flavour, perhaps there is!

  4. HA! Brilliant!!!!

    Well, Gambrinus is the main sponsor of the Czech football league and we all know how exciting those two are...

  5. A rather funny typo in the first word of your post, actually describing the real state of things :) I am sad seeing Kelt go away, I really enjoyed drinking it (from time to time), in more recent times bottled only, since seeing Kelt on tap has been a scarce occasion lately. It tought me what a stout might taste like. I admit to trying Guinness a few times (not in its homeland but in Prague) - I never liked the taste. As for Primator Stout, Kelt seemed (I have to get a few bottles while their still in shops) much superior to me (maybe similarly as I enjoyed a sixpack of Beamish from Makro to a much greater delight than drinking Guinness), but that's just my subjective opinion.

    As for Chill Staropramen, I feel perversely tempted to try (or see) that stuff, one time only of course...

    Which InBev brand is going down next ? Granát or Velvet ? I would say the latter must do even worse than Kelt has been doing recently. I know nothing about Ostravar, and don't want to :)

    I think it was your blog where I learned about the Broumy microbrewery. I stopped by today on a bike trip, tasted the dark Broumský pařez by Mr Matuška, and I thought I had been poured a dark Budvar they had also on tap, but it was good. I'l have to try some other time.

    Cheers to you and your great blog (with Berounský medvěd 11 - PET bottled and rocking ;) - in my beer glass)

  6. Sorry about that, just my kneejerk reaction to defend all things Ostrava (including Banik - but that's another discussion entirely). :)
    But I do see your point about Bazal, although I'm not sure it was intended for the wider (national) market anyway.
    Otherwise I'm not really sure what to make of IB's ostensible reason for chopping Kelt. I'm really just treating it as corporate BS, and lamenting the demise of one of IB's few saving graces on the Czech market. God forbid that a beer should have anything going for it apart from gimmicky marketing (viz. 'chill')...

  7. Iain, I think Velký Al wasn't referring to all Blaník's football fans, but those that make the news. Basically, the same sort of moron you can find among football fans in Prague, Liverpool, Buenos Aires and Guadalajara.

    Back to the beer.

    I think Kelt could have been successful with some clever marketing, but I guess a gimmick like Chill was easier to work with.


    I would put my money on Velvet going down next. I've always seen it as Kelt's sister beer. When I moved here, in 2002, Velvet could be seen at many pubs, now it has all but dissapeared.

    Oh! And thanks for the compliments!

  8. Why worry about staropramen at all, just lets enjoy out Kout,s. Reminds me off here in UK, people are desperate to defend Marstons, saying they are able to do a creft beer when they really want, instead of waxing lyrical about a good Pheonix beer or something thats always quality.

    PS - Had a Moorhouse dark beer yesterday and it tasted just like Shlenkerler Rauchbier, aaah superb.

  9. I am quite surprised to hear so many sad people that Kelt is going away, when I lived in the CZ, I was never that impressed with it. I just felt that it could be a better product and never was. Staropramen Chill, you will really have to be worried if they start making the label change colour to let you know its chilled enough to drink. ;-)

  10. I will miss Kelt, I will miss it very much :(
    I wonder what I'll drink next time I'll go to Hells Bells then?

  11. Staropramen Chill? I bet all the poshies that attend that reputable establishment will greatly appreciate that fine beer....:)


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