Monday, 14 June 2021

Czech beer sales by type

As I've often said, I love numbers. All types of lovely crunchy numbers. Like granola, but more useful and better tasting.

That Polish trade journal is serving me really well. It's thrown up some dead handy stuff. In fact, some of it answers a question I asked myself recently. Did Czechs drink mostly 10º Plato beer between the wars? I guessed that they did but had no hard data. Well now I do.

A preference for lower-gravity Lagers in Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic goes back a long way. I'm not quite sure why, as that isn't the case in any of the countries around them. Even when Bohemia and Moravia were in the same country as Austria, the beer drunk in the former was weaker than that drunk in the latter. The liking for weaker beer than on average isn't the result of wartime restrictions, as it does in the UK.

The Polish article divides  Czech beer into three types: piwo wyszynkowe, piwo składowe and piwo specjalne. Assuming that these are based on Czech classification, I'm pretty sure that they're výcepní pivo, ležák and specialní pivo. (Also after asking for help on Twitter.) Výcepní being 10º Plato and below, ležák 11º-12º Plato and specialní 10º Plato and above.

Czech beer sales by type in June 1935 & 1936
type 1935 1936 decline in %
  hl % hl %  
výčepní pivo 740,181 78.88% 628,570 79.29% 15.1
ležák  192,349 20.50% 159,974 20.18% 16.8
special beer  5,800 0.62% 4,244 0.54% 26.8
total 938,330   792,788   15.5
Przegląd Piwowarsko-Słodowniczy: organ Związku Piwowarów w Polsce 1936 wrzesień R.2 Nr3, page 65.

And, obviously, I've got some modern (fairly modern) numbers to compare them to.

Czech Beer production by beer type
beer type  2004 2005
výcepní  61.30% 59.80%
ležák  34.40% 35.80%
specialní     1.05%
non-alcoholic beer  1.10% 1.25%
Český svaz pivovarů a sladoven.

Back between the wars and even greater percentage of the beer consumed was 10º Plato. It's a shame to see its popularity has fallen so much. I'm guessing that 12º has closed in even more in the last 16 years.

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