Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Battle of the Buds

Czech vs. American Budweiser
There's been a "Battle of the Buds" going on for years.  It's more well known here than in the USA.  The battle is a trademark dispute over the name "Budweiser" between Anheuser-Busch and Budějovický Budvar, the Budweiser Budvar Brewery in České Budějovice.

Budweiser is the German word meaning from Budweis and Budějovický means the same thing in Czech.

Budějovický Budvar
Beer has been brewed in Budějovice since the city was founded in 1245.  In 1876, Adolphus Busch and a friend developed a "Bohemian-style" lager inspired by a trip to Bohemia.  Budějovický Budvar was founded in 1895.

In 1938, the companies agreed that Anheuser-Busch could use the brand name "Budweiser" only in North America.  In 1938, the Czech lawyers were probably more concerned with Germany invading the country than with fighting out the rights to "Budweiser."

Czechvar sold in the USA
The Battle of the Buds has only gotten worse since the fall of communism because now the Czech version is exported to +60 countries throughout the world.  In every country, the two companies have to fight out the trademark issue.

Czech Budweiser is sole in North America under the label Czechvar while American Budweiser in Europe is sold as Bud.

I'm an American and live in Czechland.  So which side am I on?  Honestly, I'm with the Czechs on this one.  For a few reasons...

It's like champagne or bourbon.  If it doesn't come from the Champagne region of France then it has to be called sparkling wine.  If it doesn't come from Bourbon Country, Kentucky, then it's whiskey; not bourbon.  It's odd that it's called Budweiser but the American beer isn't from Budweis.  Plus I've actually tasted both beers and the Czech version is better.

"Bud" is sold in the EU
Besides it really comes down to a David and Goliath thing.  Anheuser-Busch InBev is the world's largest brewer with 150,000 employees and it produces some 400 million hectoliters of beer.  Bedějovický Budvar and its 600 employees makes only about 3.5% as much beer.  Sometimes you just want the underdog to win.  

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