If Called By a Panter...

The "Cat" is out of the bag on Budvar's new beer.

If Called by a Panther...

27.01.2007 Prague, Czech Republic. The lid is off Budvar's new brew! Budvar announced last week that they have been brewing a new beer but so far have declined to give specifics other than it's designed for the "medium price segment". The name was to be announced at a press conference in the near future, but the folks at Hospodarske Noviny newspaper were clever enough to discover that Budvar just registered a new trademark, "Pardál", which we have to assume is the new beer! The name translates to "Panther" in English, but the slang meaning is something like "Old Hand" or "Sly Fox".

The brew is designed for the middle market, competing with the likes of Gambrinus and Kozel from Pilsner Urquell. According to Jiri Bocek, CEO of Budvar, it's already brewed and in the bottles, it's just a matter of putting on the labels. Though no official word has been given, Pardál is assumed to be a 10 degree light lager, but Budvar has stated that there will probably additional beers marketed under the same name.

The reaction of our "panel of experts" (the boys at the pub) was decidedly mixed. Most were hoping for a new addition to Budvar's premium line and not a branch out into a new price market. While the move certainly makes financial sense for Budvar, there is some concern as to whether this is a sign that Budvar may be leaning toward putting profits before quality. According to some opinions, this has already happened with the other major breweries in the country. The thought was supported by world-renowed beer writer Roger Protz during a December appearce in Prague where he criticized the methods of Pilsner Urquell and Staropramen, the two largest beer producers in the Czech Republic. According to Protz, both brewers have given to using inferior products and shortening production times, forsaking quality in the process.

This news comes right on the heels of Budvar's historic agreement with long-time rival Anheuser Busch the American Brewing Giant. The two brewers have been at odds for years in courts around the world disputing who has the right to use the trade name "Budweiser". The two sides maintain their new agreement won't affect the ongoing court cases, but at the same time praised a new era in cooperation between the two where AB will import Budvar to the United States under the Czechvar label.