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Czech Budvar launches unfiltered, unpasteurized lager; US won’t see any

Czech Brewer Budweiser Budvar has announced plans to market an unfiltered, unpasteurized version of its classic pilsner beer in the UK. The beer, also on sale in the Czech Republic, is a draft-only product.

Czechvar_Logo_4480American fans of Budvar, marketed in the U.S. as Czechvar, however, won’t be seeing any of the new Budvar Yeast Lager on this side of the Atlantic.

Budvar’s Yeast Lager was designed to take drinkers a major step nearer to Budvar’s ultimate goal of making their beers taste in the bar as pristine as though they have just been drawn in the brewery cellars, Adam Broz, Budweiser Budvar’s brew-master, said in a press release.

Budvar’s yeast beer is brewed using the same 100-day cycle as the brewer’s original beer and using whole Saaz hops, malt from barley grown in the Hana valley in Moravia, a strain of yeast resident at the brewery since 1895 and a water of celebrated purity from an ice age lake located 30 meters under the brewery in Southern Bohemia.

UK skeptics have said that Budvar’s unpasteurized Yeast beer would never catch on, because of alleged almost insuperable difficulties involved in handling a living product.

Indeed, Budvar’s public relations manager Petr Samec explained in an email, “It is not possible to export yeast beer into USA, because the guarantee time is only 30 days (living yeast cells are included, secondary fermentation is going on).” He said shipping the beer by air would be too expensive.

The brewery last month, shipped its first line extension to the U.S. East and West Coast, it’s dark lager.

Budweiser Budvar is called Czechvar in the U.S. because of a century-long legal dispute with its American rival, Anheuser-Busch InBev which markets Budweiser beer.

The brewers agreed in 1939 that Anheuser-Busch would have sole rights to the name Budweiser in all American territories north of Panama. But the settlement did not last as the two companies expanded exports to new markets.

Last month, a European Union court ruled in an appeal that Anheuser-Busch InBev could use the trademark “Bud” for its beers and Britain’s top court ruled that both companies can use the Budweiser name in the UK.

AB InBev is far larger than the state-owned Budvar but the Czech won 88 of 124 disputes between 2000 and 2011. It holds exclusive rights in 68 countries, mostly in Europe, preventing AB-Inbev from selling its Budweiser brand in some key markets, including Germany. When the companies do not have exclusive rights to the Budweiser brand in a country, they use slightly altered names. AB-Inbev sells its Budweiser as Bud in many European countries. Budvar sells its lager as Czechvar in the U.S.

At mid-2012, Czechvar switched U.S. importers to United States Beverage of Stamford, Conn. It had been imported since 2007 by AB-InBev, prior to the merger of A-B and InBev. Budvar said AB-InBev failed to meet sales targets.

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