Budejovicky Budvar, the Czech brewery pitted in legal disputes against US and world no. 1 brewer Anheuser-Busch, has made bold predictions about its future progress in A-B's backyard.

The company said it had sold some 8,500 hls of its Czechvar lager in the US and Canada during the past year and marketing manager, Jana Kubistova, said this year's sales could exceed 15,000 hls.

Budvar currently sells beer in 15 US states and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. It plans to launch in a further five US states during the coming year.

The company is currently involved in 40 legal proceedings with A-B over the use of the Budweiser Budvar name. Not surprisingly, in the US it is prevented from using this trademark and markets its beer under the Czechvar brand. This dates back to an agreement in 1939 not to use the name north of Panama.

Budejovicky Budvar forecasts overall turnover of CZK 2.3 billion this year, up from CZK 2.2 billion in 2001, with exports rising by 4% to 530,000 hls.