Budvar beer exports up to record high in 2010

PRAGUE (AP) — State-owned Czech brewery Budvar, which has been fighting a long legal battle over the Budweiser brand, said Wednesday its 2010 exports rose by 4.3 percent to reach a record high.

Budejovicky Budvar NP said it exported 604,791 hectoliters (15.98 million gallons) of beer to 58 countries last year, the best result in 115 years.

Budvar said in a statement that sales in Germany, its most important market, were up by 4.7 percent to 214,408 hectoliters, also a record. Sales in the United States, where Budvar has a distribution deal with its U.S. archrival Anheuser-Busch, grew 4.0 percent.

Budvar entered a new market in India in 2010 and returned to the Dutch market after six years.

Despite the company’s good results, analysts expect 2010 exports of Czech beer to fall by 12 percent.

Details about Budvar’s overall 2010 output will be released in a month while financial results are expected in May or June, Budvar spokesman Petr Samec said.

Budvar has fought for years with American brewer Anheuser-Busch in a number of countries over use of the famous Budweiser brand, to which both companies claim a historical right. Anheuser-Busch was taken over by Belgian brewer InBev in 2008 to form Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer company. Budvar said the sale did not affect the legal battle.

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