Budějovický Budvar is planning two international “collaborations” for 2024 and more in 2025 as it looks to scale distribution overseas, the Czech brewer told Just Drinks.

Budvar’s product tie-ups aim to increase brand awareness in export markets, get placements in new accounts and reach more drinkers.

It follows the brewery’s first three overseas collaborations last year: Czech Mates with Thornbridge in the UK, OK, Czech! made with Germany’s Brlo and #Yearofthelager which was made with Danish craft brewery Mikkeller.

Speaking to Just Drinks on the sidelines of the Arena International Beer Strategies Conference in Porto today (15 May), Renata Pankova, global sales director at Budweiser Budvar, said collaborative beer launches were an important way of scaling up distribution.

Pankova said the moves help build distribution channels that can, ideally, lead to listings of the core range. Collaborations also introduce Budvar to new consumers who may already be familiar with the partner brand.

She would not be drawn on where the company was looking to move next but hinted it would be outside of Europe.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Budvar’s brands are sold in 70 countries and 96% of sales are within Europe. Germany is its biggest market in volume and value – which Pankova noted was unusual for a Czech brewer.

A beer label design for a collaboration between Budějovický Budvar and Mikeller
Budvar’s collaboration beer with Danish craft brewery Mikeller, called #Yearofthelager. Credit: Budějovický Budvar

Budvar started doing collaborations with domestic peers a few years ago. The beers are always brewed at the partner’s site, using local ingredients, but in a “Czech style”. A small team from Budvar consults on the process.

Asked about the response of breweries when approached to work together, Pankova said they were “very open to it”. “They understand we are experts in brewing Czech lager,” she said.

Another aim of international collaborations is to “export Czech beer culture”, like the famously foamy heads. “We can do much more to maintain the tradition of [our] beer culture,” she said.

Asked if the brewery would consider brewing its own beers under licence abroad, she said: “Never say never.”

Budvar’s first collaboration outside its home market was Czech Mates in the UK.

The 4.8%-abv beer is brewed at Thornbridge’s site in Bakewell in the English Midlands. It contains Budvar’s flagship yeast strain, as well as UK-grown Maris Otter and East Kent Goldings hops.

Budvar is open to both one-off or permanent collaborations, Pankova said. Czech Mates is still being brewed, with no plans to stop.