WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?

Budweiser means it's brewed in Budweis in Southern Bohemia, whilst Budvar is the trademark name for the beer, first registered in 1930. In 1918, when Czechoslovakia came into being, Budweis also officially assumed its Czech name of Ceske Budejovice but Budweis lives on, particularly in English and German speaking countries. This is partly because to the average German or Anglo Saxon Budweis is easier to get tongue and mind round, and partly because after all it was the name of the place for 653 years (or 659 if you count the years it was part of the Third Reich).

Beer has been brewed in Budweis since 1265; and not just any old beer, very early on Budweiser beers earned themselves a formidable reputation throughout the Czech lands, which the Budweiser Budvar brewery rapidly made international after its foundation in 1895.

You would have thought that it would be quite in order, if your beer was brewed in Budweis a great brewing town for centuries, to call it Budweiser. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that and the American owners of a beer brand with a similar name to Budweiser Budvar have engaged the Czech brewery in litigation over this issue of who is allowed to use the "B" word for over 100 years now. Currently there are about 40 trademark dispute cases pending in different jurisdictions and some 70 procedural issues up for consideration around the world.

Discussing the rights and wrongs of the dispute would take us into lawyer country, and we are not going there but what we can do is point out that the majority of legal and administrative decisions so far confirm the right of Budweiser Budvar to its registered trademarks. Recently successes have been chalked up in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and New Zealand.

You'll always know where Budweiser Budvar is coming from because it is only brewed in one place - at the Budweiser Budvar brewery in Ceske Budejovice, Southern Bohemia. This is confirmed by the presence of the EU's Protected Geographical Indication badge on every bottle. The right to display this highly coveted badge puts Budvar awarded into the same class as say Champagne, Parmesan Cheese or Cognac. It is given only to food and drink products of unusual quality and unique style that are produced in a precisely specified region or in a certain location from which they derive their names.

The geographical aspect is so important because the products certificated by this EU scheme are considered to be a product of a combination of the environment in which they were created, the quality of the local raw materials used in their manufacture and the skills of the local people who make them. The Protected Geographical Indication badge on the bottle, hideously clumsy as it sounds in English, is nevertheless a complete assurance to consumers that they have purchased an original product from a known location and of a known quality.

 

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