The brewery is famous for a beer “known as Budweiser Budvar in the EU, Czechvar in the US and Canada, and Budějovický Budvar in the rest of the world”.
If you don’t know much about brewing, touring the brewery is an entertaining introduction to the process. With the smell of malt from Moravia and hops from Žatec in the air the tour includes a multimedia exhibition about the seven-century brewing tradition in České Budějovice.
One interesting stop is at a Gothic-Renaissance-style cabin with an exhibition on medieval brewing. The tour concludes with a 3D film about beer and a taste of Old Bohemian dishes and specialties in the Masné krámy restaurant and beer hall.
Budvar Budweiser brewery is north of České Budějovice along Pražskául, the old road to Prague. Brewery tours begin in the visitors’ centre.
The original Budweiser Bier or Budweiser Bürgerbräu was founded in České Budějovice in 1785. The Company began exporting beer to the US in 1871.
In the U.S., Anheuser-Busch started using the Budweiser brand in 1876 and registered it two years later. In 1895 Czech brewers established a second brewing company called Budvar. Exports of these two Czech beers into the US market led to the Budweiser trademark dispute.
A March 1938 agreement between the three companies allowed Anheuser-Busch to use the brand “Budweiser” only in North America.
After the fall of communism, the two local Czech breweries tried to secure rights to their traditional names. Since both companies have trademarks for the name “Budweiser,” complicated lawsuits ensued and are still in process.
In July 2010, a ruling stated that Anheuser-Busch may not register the name Budweiser as an EU-wide trademark. In Germany and Austria in particular, only Budějovický Budvar can use the trademark Budweiser.
Beer drinking is an important social part of everyday Czech life, like drinking cay tea in Turkey. Not being much of a beer drinker I have tried several local brews. An ice-cold beer is refreshing on a scorching-hot day.
If you visit České Budějovice, a tour of the brewery is worthwhile and fun!