Mar 11, 2024

Czech Pubs Adapt to Survive: Price for a Beer Can Reach 100 CZK, Says Expert

The Czech Republic, famous for its beer culture, is seeing a shift in pub culture. Rising costs and changing customer habits are forcing traditional pubs to adapt.

The price of a pint in the Czech Republic is expected to climb above 100 CZK. However, pubs that weathered the recent crisis are unlikely to go out of business entirely.

Following the January tax hike, nearly two-thirds of Czech restaurants raised draft beer prices. Increases varied, ranging from 3 to 10 crowns per pint. Despite this, fears of widespread closures have subsided in the gastronomy sector.

In recent years, many classic pubs and “fours” (pubs focused on cheap beer and spirits) have disappeared. The decline is attributed to a shift in social habits. The days of after-work pints with colleagues seem to be fading.

“We used to get a bunch of regulars every afternoon,” says Stanislav Petřík, a 50-year-old bartender. “They’d all have several beers and a nightcap. That was a steady income. Now they’re gone, due to age or tighter budgets.”

Luboš Kastner, a board member of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, suggests a new business model for rural pubs. This could involve limited hours or weekend-only operations, especially during winter.

Kastner also predicts beer exceeding 100 CZK a pint, with Prague pubs already charging 70-90 CZK for specialty beers, even outside the city center.

The Fight for Customers

Experts believe the Czech Republic’s beer tradition is safe. The wave of pub closures is expected to stop, with only 2% planning to shut down this year. However, many (11.5%) will likely optimize by reducing hours or opening days, especially in winter.

Innovation is also a key strategy. Many pubs are following successful examples by improving services and offerings to attract and retain customers. This trend is highlighted in a recent survey by Plzeňský Prazdroj, that included over 3,000 pubs.

It’s important to note that the Prazdroj survey might be biased. It only included pubs partnered with the brewery, which invests significantly in them. Pubs relying on other breweries could face a disadvantage.

“We actively support pub owners,” says Roman Trzaskalik, Prazdroj’s sales director. “This year, our support includes roughly 450 million CZK for tap equipment, glassware, co-financing renovations, and staff/owner training programs.”

Currently, pubs are adjusting prices in response to the tax increase. Data from Dotykačky reveals that 38% of pubs haven’t raised prices yet. The average price increase across the market is 2.80 CZK per pint, with some pubs implementing hikes of 5-10 crowns.

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