Bad news for beer lovers in the Czech Republic during the coronavirus — iDnes.cz recently reported a 40% drop in sales on average of tank beer accompanied by widespread slow-down of production.
While store sales of bottled beer from supermarkets have actually gone up, small breweries that do not supply to large retail networks are taking a hit.
“A quarter of about 500 Czech microbreweries will not survive the crisis,” Czech-Moravian Brewery Association head Jan Šuráň said in a statement this past week.
He added that beer production in microbreweries has fallen by an average of 80 to 85 percent.
Some microbreweries are attempting to shore up business with deliveries and take-away window service. Among them Únětice brewery, in the suburb of Prague-West is currently selling bottles daily from its brewery.
“There is so much beer that if the situation does not stabilize within two to three weeks and it is not possible to open restaurants, we will be forced to liquidate part of the stock,” Lucie Tkadlecová from the brewery management told the publication.
A newly launched platform Zachran Pivo (Save beer) aims to help 77 small breweries throughout the Czech Republic unload surplus beer. The site has compiled an interacitve map and list of breweries and locations where “beer rescuers” can help consume thousands of liters of fresh beer that could go to waste.
Here in Prague breweries are doing their best to keep afloat while helping out beer lovers in their hour of need. One local favorite that’s keeping the tanks full is Vinohradský pivovar. This week it announced via its Facebook page that it would be selling 1-liter PET bottles tapped directly from the tank.
Many Prague restaurants are helping to keep breweries in business as well. Prague 6 pub Na Slamníku delivers Únětice while a number of other local restaurants have kept local beer on their delivery menu. (See our article on food delivery here). And prices are low: both Vinohradský pivovar and Ossegg are currently offering a liter of freshly-poured beer for just 50 CZK.
Bottle shops are also doing their part to help small brewers continue distribution throughout the crisis. One of them, Lya Beer Café in Vršovice, started loading up its vintage hand cart and making house calls to the area earlier this week.
Owner Sarah told us they work directly with microbreweries whenever possible as well as some distributors. “It’s tough, I’m not gonna lie. But we have very faithful and awesome customers that are supporting us the very best they can, which is so heartwarming at the end of the day.”
She says, “Our supply is good, and we work very closely with a few of the good microbreweries.” Lya is currently delivering bottles from Zichovec as well as Sibeeria at a 20 percent discount for take-away orders. “People need some comfort at the end of the day in times like these,” she adds.
Here’s a list of breweries, bottle shops, and pubs by district that are still in operation and accepting orders for delivery of bottles and fresh tank beer or offering a pick-up or drive-through option (note that it is encouraged to stick to the district you live in when picking up beer or food; don’t linger around take-out windows):
Outside of Prague