The Czech Republic: Velké Popovice Brewery invests $4 mln to increase production capacity
Velké Popovice Brewery, part of the Plzeňský Prazdroj, has invested $4 mln to increase its production capacity of its Kozel brand by almost one-fifth, to 49,000 hectolitres per week or 2 million hectolitres per year, the Drinks Business Review reported on June 12.
The investment has been made in response to growing popularity from consumers both in the Czech Republic and on international markets, where Kozel is the best-selling of all Czech beer brands.
The total investment in expanding the Velké Popovice capacity amounted to CZK91 mln ($4.19 mln) of which CZK63 mln ($2.9 mln) went into the Brewhouse and the rest into the warehousing facility.
Velké Popovice brewery manager Petr Kofron said: We decided to go for this investment last March, the actual works commenced in August and carried on through the winter. Thanks to which its all done now at the start of the key peak season and we are all ready to meet the beer demand for Kozel in full.
The new brewing equipment allows them to produce as many as twelve brews a day in three mash tuns, while preserving the original process for making Kozel beer.
Petr Kofron added: We brew our beer to the highest-quality standards, according to traditional recipes and using the same procedures as in the era of Baron Franz Ringhoffer, the founder of our brewery.
The investment also included a new lauter tun and a mash kettle made of high-grade stainless steel, the size of the tun is 8.5 m in diameter and weighs more than 30 tons. The tun and the kettle were delivered to the extended Brewhouse in early March, the installation was finished in April and the first brews were trialled in May.
After the successful trials, the brewery is now about to run at full operation. In addition to the Brewhouse, a new warehouse has been constructed, enabling the brewery to ensure the finished beer is stored according to high-quality requirements before it is distributed to consumers.
The most complicated task in this project was the installation of the new lauter tun.
Velké Popovice capital project manager Tomá Kosmák said: Setting the tun in place was almost like a task for a clockmaker, but here, to be done by crane operators. All of us were almost breathless watching the tun being laid down and set, we were in great suspense because when you set an 8.5m diameter vessel, you only have a 5 millimetre allowance on each side.
By expanding its production capability, the brewery responds to the growing popularity of Kozel beer on the local but especially international markets. Last year, exports from Velké Popovice increased by 12 percent and the volumes brewed under licence (mainly in Russia, Slovakia and Kazakhstan) also grew by 12% versus the prior year.
Among the most popular products made by the brewery are Kozel pale lager and Kozel Dark, which is one the the best-selling of all dark beers around the globe, particularly fast growing in Asian markets.
In the Czech Republic, Kozel is anchoring its position as the second most popular brand, behind only the long-term No.1, Pilsner Urquell lager. The popularity of Kozel is witnessing the fastest growth of all local beer brands.
For its expanded capacity, the brewery has secured sufficient supplies of fine-quality ingredients from both Bohemia and Moravia, especially barley and hops.
Petr Kofron said: We have established long-term relations with local suppliers, thanks to which steady deliveries of raw materials in the required volumes are guaranteed. We informed our partners of the investment in advance.
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