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Budweiser buys Czech brewer in bid to seal control of Budweiser brand

Anheuser-Busch comes a step closer to ending its long-running dispute with a Czech brewery by buying a local rival.

When is a Budweiser not a Budweiser? Budvar managing director Jiri Bocek poses with a glass of Budvar beer - locally known as 'Budweiser'.
When is a Budweiser not a Budweiser? Budvar managing director Jiri Bocek poses with a glass of Budvar beer - locally known as 'Budweiser'.

THE US-BASED brewer of the Budweiser beer has moved a step closer to ending a century-old legal dispute over the right to use the name, after buying a Czech brewery which also uses the brand.

Anheuser-Busch – which markets the better-known ‘Budweiser’ beer, which is also brewed in Kilkenny – has bought one of two breweries in the Czech town of Ceske Budejovice, which in the German language was known as ‘Budweis’.

Having bought Budejovicky Mestansky Pivovar (BMP), and its own ‘Budweiser Beer’ brand, Anheuser-Busch has tightened its grip on the name – potentially bringing the dispute to an end.

Another brewery in Ceske Budejovice – the better-known ‘Budvar’ brewery, whose beers are also available in Ireland – also still claims use of the name, but may also itself be put up for sale in the coming years.

The Budejovicky Budvar brewery was one of the prized assets of the former Czechoslovakian government, Czech Position reports, with the trademark dispute becoming more pronounced in the 1970s when the government opted to increase its exports.

The Czech government has long been considering spinning off assets like Budvar, however – and it’s thought that whenever the brewery is sold, most likely through a public flotation, that Anheuser-Busch could step in and buy a significant stake.

Around 120 legal battles have been fought in various countries between Anheuster-Busch and Budvar – with Budvar usually coming out on top – and another 40 cases are still alive in courts around the world.

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Gavan Reilly

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