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Dark beer makes its way North and East (Translation)

3 December 2010

Velké Popovice, December 2, 2010. The popularity of Czech dark beer abroad is significantly rising. 25,000 hl. of the dark beer best-seller Dark Velkopopovický Kozel was exported during the first 10 months of this year. And nearly half of it made its way to only one country, to Finland. There was a total increase of 22% in comparison with the same time period last year, an increase of 4,500 hl. South Korea became the biggest new commercial outlet with 600 hl. of newly exported beer.

Traditionally, Finland represents the biggest export sales. So far, 12,000 hl. of Dark Velkopopovický Kozel has been sold there this year. In Finland, it is the most popular imported brand and it is the symbol of high quality within the category of dark beers. Russia, with its 3,000 hl., is a very important market for the Central Bohemian brewery. Germany, Israel, Ukraine, and Belarus are among other countries with import volume higher than 1,000. Dark Kozel is exported to total of 23 countries on three continents.

“This year we started to export Dark Velkopopovický Kozel to several other countries. Croatia, Sweden, Switzerland, and South Korea are examples of our new trading outlets. South Korea also became the biggest purchaser of dark Popovice beer,” says Jiří Fusek, head maltster of  Velkopopovický Kozel company. Looking at the export increase percentiles, we see that Lithuania has been the high jumper of the year when it comes to the consummation of dark Popovice beer. Here, sales numbers doubled in comparison with last year.

Since 2000, dark Velkopopovický Kozel has been the only dark beer within the portfolio of Plzeňský Prazdroj, Inc. However, abroad, it is not a popular beer just by chance. Its quality has been indicated by numerous regular successes at different international competitions. For example, it was awarded gold medals at the International Beer Championship in Australia, and at the International Competition of Quality “Monde Selection” in Belgium. The most recent success Dark Kozel has taken in was at the Australian International Beer Awards, where it received a silver medal in the category of dark beers.

Finland – beer culture in the country with the biggest import of Dark Kozel

In a supermarket, you can buy beer with a volume of up to 4.4% alcohol. More potent beer is more expensive and can only be bought in the specialized store Alko, which is the only reseller of heavy drinks in Finland. You can buy all stronger alcoholic beverages in Alko, from strong beer and wine all the way up to vodka.

Thirds of beer are very popular in Finland, typically in cans. Glass bottles are rare. However, it is necessary to mention that cans are refundable in Finland. In restaurants, the draft beer goes into 0,33 l glasses. Prices, however, are notably higher than in our country, and they can hike high above the sum of 100 Czech koruna. In terms of the consumption per capita, the Finnish have a consumption level of 50% of that of the Czechs, and traditionally place somewhere around 10th place.

When it comes to traditional Finnish beer, it tastes very similar to Czech lagers, and dark beer is as popular. That is perhaps why Dark Kozel is so popular there. However, Velkopopovický Kozel is distinct in its proof rate and thus in its increased drinkability. It came to the Finnish market in 1995. In Finland, Kozel is considered a premium beer.

Further information:

David Frodl, Ogilvy Public Relations, tel.: 221 998 410, 724 244 473, e-mail: david.frodl@ogilvy.com

This SABMiller subsidiary news release has been translated from its local market language to English language for publication on www.sabmiller.com. We have attempted to provide an accurate translation of the original material but due to the difficulties of translation slight differences may exist. Note: This news release was first published in its local market on 02/12/2010.

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