Budvar opens new £3.6 million canning line

Budvar aims to increase its UK business by 40% after its new £3.6 million canning line started churning out thousands of cans at its Ceske Budejovice brewery this week.

It is the first time the brewery has had its own can line – it previously shipped tankers over to the UK, where the beer was canned by Thwaites in Manchester.

But Budvar is now being canned at 33cl, 44cl and 50cl in the brewer’s factory in the Czech Republic, making it far more economical to sell cans in the UK.

Until now only a 50cl SKU has been available in Britain, but now it will be joined by the smaller cans on shelves.

Off-Trade Sales Jon Whittle said the new line offering a variety of SKUs will “dramatically enhance the possibilities for canned Budvar on the UK market”.

He added: “There is a shortage of top class brews to be had in a can so in this respect we can see Budvar satisfying a genuine need to offer a great beer with a fashionable form of packaging.” 

The decision to build the canning line was prompted by a substantial increase in can sales in recent years.

In 2005 canned beer sales represented 9,000 hectolitres while at the end of 2012 they represented 74,000 hectolitres and a further substantial increase in sales is projected for the future.

Three-quarters of the cans will be exported, with the UK among its biggest beneficiaries, along with  Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Canada.

The new 33cl, 44cl and 50cl cans are available in four, six, eight or 12 pack configurations, shrink-wrapped or carton. The filling line was provided by German company KHS and was officially opened by the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus. 

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