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Vatican accepts a gift from the Czech Republic on the beatification of John Paul II – a blessed brew of Pilsner Urquell beer (Translation)

28 April 2011

Vatican/Prague, April 27, 2011 - For the occasion of the Easter holiday and the beatification of John Paul II, master brewers from Plzeňský Prazdroj in the Czech Republic sent a special blessed brew of pilsner beer as a gift to the Holy See in Rome. Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo accepted it from the hands of the Czech ambassador.

With the Easter celebrations still reverberating, the Vatican is making full preparations for the beatification of John Paul II. This ceremonial act has brought countless pilgrims to the Vatican wanting to celebrate right at the heart of the Catholic Church. For these solemn moments, world-famous Czech brewery Plzeňský Prazdroj, together with the citizens of Plzeň, sent a special Easter batch of their beer to the Vatican. While still in the brew house, the beer was blessed by Plzeň's bishop, František Radkovsky, on March 11. "When John Paul II saw me one day, he promptly remarked that I was the bishop from Plzeň, where we have such good beer," said the bishop, recalling with a smile one of his meetings with the former head of the Catholic Church.

The shipment of blessed Pilsner Urquell beer dedicated to the Holy See contained 2011 bottles, symbolising the year in which the beatification of John Paul II will take place. The Czech ambassador to the Holy See, Dr. Pavel Vošalík, handed it over to president of the Governorate of the Vatican City State, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, today at 10:00 a.m. The longtime traditional beverage will be served between April 30 and May 2 at official events of the Catholic Church connected with the beatification of John Paul II.

A small part of the brew also went to a clerical restaurant in Rome named after the former pope. The Giovanni Paolo II pub in the crypt of St. Ambrose and St. Charles is a place where especially young believers get together during cultural events and where Pilsner Urquell beer is now available to refresh pilgrims who have come there to celebrate Easter.

The gift, accompanied by a certificate, left the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery gates on April 20. Plzeň's bishop, František Radkovsky, and Plzeňský Prazdroj's commercial brewmaster, Václav Berka, officially handed the beer over to the Czech ambassador to the Holy See, Dr. Pavel Vošalík. The blessed brew was made according to a traditional recipe and matured for over five weeks, symbolically almost over the entire period of fasting that lasts 40 days before Easter. Samples of the blessed beer's ingredients have been stored at the Plzeň Brewery Museum to commemorate this event.

Pilsner Urquell
In October of 1842, the city of Plzeň in West Bohemia saw the first batch of beer made in the local brewery, which since then has conquered the world under the name Pilsner Urquell. The unmistakable taste and characteristic golden colour of Pilsner lager gave its name to a whole category of beer: pilsner (pilsener, pils), which accounts for 70 percent of all beers drunk around the world today. In Italy, beer aficionados drink over 20,000 hectolitres of pilsner lager a year.

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, the news release was first published in its local market on [27/04/2011].

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