Name change fear for Budweiser as controversial law is proposed

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Plze?, Czech republic, ?eské bud?jovice

US lager Budweiser could be forced to change its name if controversial new proposals become law.The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been asked to...

US lager Budweiser could be forced to change its name if controversial new proposals become law.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been asked to rule that only beers brewed in the town of Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic may be called "Budweiser".

Such a ruling would also affect rights to use the words "pils" and "pilsner".

The request to the WTO comes from the Czech government and will have to be taken seriously, although big business leaders will use their muscle to try to block the idea.

Brand owner Anheuser-Busch has already issued a statement saying that it would oppose the proposal, as it has been using the name "Budweiser" for decades, establishing custom and practice.

The logic behind the request already applies to wines — only sparkling wines made in the Champagne region may bear its name.

South African Breweries plans to expand UK sales of Pilsner Urquell after it completes brewery acquisitions in the Czech Republic.

Announcing a four per cent increase in pre-tax profits, finance director Malcolm Wyman said the brand had excellent potential.

"Pilsner Urquell has a symbolic representation in the UK at the moment but could achieve very wide levels of distribution.

"We will be assessing this potential over the next few weeks," he said.

Company turnover was up one per cent in results described by Wyman as "better than expectations".

The company will complete its takeover of Czech brewers Radegast and Pilsner Urquell in January, giving it a 44 per cent share of the market. Bass has around 15 per cent.

It plans to cut costs and act to end the "price war" in the country which is driving down the price of beer.

Related topics: Beer

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