Czech beer has officially made it to all seven continents across the globe, as Czech daily e15 confirmed earlier this year that a shipment of Czech beer was exported to Antarctica for the first time in 2018.
A shipment of 104 kilograms of Czech beer, at a price of around 3,000 crowns, made it to Antarctica’s Gregor Johann Mendel Science Station last year. According to the Czech Statistical Office, it was the first time Czech beer had been exported to Antarctica.
But the beer wasn’t from iconic Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell, or any of the other “Big 5” Czech breweries, which also include Gambrinus in Plzeň, Staropramen in Prague, Budvar in České Budějovice and the Velké Popovice brewery in Central Bohemia.
Instead, it was popular Moravian brand Starobrno, long a punching bag for beer fans in Bohemia. The beer, produced by Heineken, was not chosen for taste but for logistical reasons: it had the furthest expiration date of all possible options at the time of shipment.
According to e15, eleven crates of Starobrno cans were shipped to the Gregor Johann Mendel Science Station, a Czech research station on Antarctica founded by polar explorer Pavel Prošek in 2007.
Because of the Mendel station, the Czech Republic is one of only 29 countries to have voting status on the Antarctic Treaty.
Research at the station is conducted only during the summer months, by a team of about 15 people. Communication with the outside world is possible thanks to a network developed in cooperation with the Czech Technical University in Prague.
The station has an annual operating budget of approximately 11 million crowns, but the Starobrno beer shipment was not part of that allocation.
“It was part of the supply for the scientific expedition whose participants pay for food, snacks, and in this case drinks themselves from private funds or funds received as part of a donation,” Pavel Kapler, administrator of the Antarctic station from Masaryk University’s Faculty of Science, told e15.
The Czech researchers did not hoard the beer for themselves, however.
“Part of this cargo [of beer] was distributed to our colleagues at Chilean, Chinese and Argentinian stations as part of establishing and strengthening good relations and technical-logistic cooperation,” said Kapler.
According to the Czech Statistical Office, Czech shipments to Antarctica are not unusual, with the country exporting 8.5 million crowns worth of structures and building supplies to the continent last year, along with other goods including sausage and marmalade.