Czech president Miloš Zeman is the undisputed master of the unpopular opinion, a factor that may have actually won him the presidency in a political environment where extremism polls well.
While President Zeman’s controversial statements are often political in nature, his most recent brush with controversy taps into a source of great national pride—Czech beer.
According to Czech political news server Forum 24, the president expressed his distaste for the majority of domestically brewed beer during a recent appearance on Barrandov TV’s show “Week with the President.”
Zeman was asked by moderator Alexandra Mynářová about the shortage of brewers in the Czech Republic. His response:
“I really do not know whether they are few or many. There are two or three good beers in the Czech Republic, the rest is second class. I visited a lot of microbreweries and [they make] the most disgusting sour brewed beer.”
The president followed up his pivo points by saying: “Now I have pissed off so many people…if I did not manage to offend someone, I will make up for it next week.”
In 2014, during a business summit in Kazakhstan, Zeman dissed American beer deeming Czech beer far superior:
“Czech beer is the best in the world. No American company that offers filthy water instead of beer can compete with us.”
Last spring, Zeman, who recently announced that he would seek a second term in office, raised a pint with Chinese president Xi Jinping on the terrace of the Strahov Monastery, savoring what appeared to be a Pilsner Urquell, now, ironically, a Japanese-owned beer.
While we’ll just have to keep guessing which Czech beers are among the president’s top three, his preferred alcoholic drink is no secret; during a 1996 election campaign Zeman said his bus “drove on gas and Becherovka.”