Scotch whisky battles bourbon in Czech Republic

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Whisky Distilled beverage

Scotch whisky is winning the battle against US bourbon for dominance of the expanding Czech Republic spirits market, according to the latest report from Global Agricultural information Network (GAIN).

Czech consumers are interested in new tastes but Scotch whiskys not US bourbons or whiskys dominate​,” report the researchers. To counter the heavy promotion of Scotch whisky in the country, the US Distilled Spirits Council is planning a promotional visit to Prague next month.

Increasingly affluent Czech consumers are choosing higher quality international spirit brands in preference to cheap or traditional ones over recent years, according to the report Distilled spirits find a market in the Czech Republic.

“The economic downturn caused a slump in sales, however, as the Czech economy is still continuing to grow, the drop in demand is expected to pick up next couple of years​,” predict the report’s authors.

Consumers are willing to pay more for high-quality alcohol with brands such as Cognac Hennessy Richard and Cognac Remy Martin Louis XIII leading the market.

Biggest market

But Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew is also making its mark in the Czech Republic as Czechs bought more than 850,000 litres; the brand’s biggest market, last year. Tullamore Dew’s exclusive importer Stock Plzen reported sales about 32 per cent up on 2008.

Total alcohol consumption per capita is 10.4 litres and the consumption of imported distilled spirits is accounting for a growing proportion of total consumption.

The Czech statistical office estimates the value of total imports of the distilled spirits in consumer packaging to have exceeded US $103m last year. The value of US distilled spirits imported into the country was nearly $7m.

Whiskey, scotch whisky, rum, and tequila accounted for the most imports.

Distilled spirits

Meanwhile, total exports of Czech distilled spirits in consumer packaging reached $48m last year. Slovakia is the country’s biggest buyer of distilled spirits accounting for sales of $31m.

Czech distilled spirits exports to the US reached $642,000 including slivovice (plum brandy), hruskovice (pear brandy) and tresnovice (cherry brandy).

Major domestic distilled spirits producer, Stock Plzen reported exports of 4.2m litres in 2008 compared with 3.3m litres the previous year. Popular destinations for Czech exports were Germany, Norway, Hungary and Lebanon.

While most producers achieved high sales last year, this year sales have been slowed by higher excise tax and the economic downturn. The tax rise increased the price per litre of pure alcohol by $0.95 (20 CZK).

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