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Wine & Spirits

Czech Brewer Budvar Increases Net Profit Amid Pandemic

PRAGUE — Budvar, the Czech brewer that has been in a long legal dispute with U.S. company Anheuser-Busch over use of the "Budweiser" brand, increased its net profit by almost 10% last year amid record output as the pandemic saw people drink less in bars and more at home.

Budejovicky Budvar NP, a 125-year-old state-owned brewery, said Monday its net profit reached 305 million koruna ($14 million) in 2020. Its output rose 3.1% to a record of 1.73 million hectoliters (45.7 million gallons) last year.

Demand for its beer in tanks and barrels declined last year as bars and restaurants were closed for a long time, but Budvar was able to meet rising demand for bottled beer.

The brewer has been expanding in recent years to be able to produce more than 2 billion hectoliters (52.8 billion gallons) of beer a year. That investment made it possible to react to changes on the markets amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Budvar sells its beer in around 80 countries and Germany, one of its key markets, grew particularly strongly in 2020. Revenues also hit a record last year, growing 0.4% to 2.81 billion koruna ($129 million).

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