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Beer-loving Czech Republic turns to wine as most popular alcoholic drink

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Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Republic may be known worldwide for its beer-loving culture, new studies reveal that wine is actually the most popular drink in Central Europe’s “pivo paradise”.

Wine more popular than beer in the Czech Republic

According to a poll by the Focus agency for the local wine-growers’ association Vinařský Fund, 73% percent of Czech adults consume wine, compared to 65% who indulge in beer.

In terms of overall volume, however, beer – usually served in half-liter bottles, cans or glasses – quite naturally remains the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the Czech Republic, ahead of wine.

According to Vinařský Fund director Jaroslav Machovec, Czech wine drinkers are ready to pay higher prices to support domestic producers, with three-quarters of them indicating a preference for local Bohemian and Moravian wines.

Most Czechs who drink wine prefer the whites (54%) – particularly semi-dry ones – by far more popular than the red (15%) or rosé (6%) varieties. A quarter of them declare not having any specific preference.

On average, Czechs spend around 400 Kc on wine every month (approximately €16), only 25 Kc more than in the previous survey four years ago.

The Focus agency survey was conducted last year on a representative panel of over 1,200 Czech adults.

Czechs remain world’s biggest beer drinkers

The birthplace of the iconic Pilsner-style lager, the Czech Republic has long been known around the globe for its beer-loving culture. With a total consumption of around 142 liters per capita, Czechs are by far the biggest beer-drinkers in the world.

The Czech Republic is also among the largest producers in Europe, with historic brands such as Pilsner or Budweiser Budvar flooding markets as far as North America and Asia, while a string of local micro-breweries are increasingly being favoured by consumers at home.

In terms of overall alcohol consumption, the Czech Republic ranked fourth among the world’s developed economies (11.6 litres of pure alcohol per capita), surpassed only by Lithuania, Austria and France, according to the OECD. A local study in 2019 had found that around 10% of Czechs could be considered “at-risk” or “excessive” drinkers.

Both the large producers and smaller micro-breweries have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, repeated closures of shops, bars and restaurants and the plummeting number of tourists, recording a drop in revenue of 20 to 30% for big breweries, and more than 50% for micro-producers.

In total, draft beer sales in the Czech Republic are estimated to have dropped by 30% in 2020, according to the Czech Association of Breweries and Malthouses.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.