Beer Culture

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A New Brewmaster Takes Over at Budweiser Budvar

There’s big news at the Czech Republic’s favorite state-owned brewery: after 24 years as the brewmaster at Budweiser Budvar, Josef Tolar is stepping aside to make room for new brewmaster Adam Brož.

In the picture above, Tolar passes Brož the Budweiser Budvar brewmaster’s ceremonial “wand of office,” an original Réaumur thermometer first used in 1895 by Budweiser Budvar’s founding brewmaster, Antonín Holeček. The 32-year-old Brož becomes Budweiser Budvar’s tenth master brewer.

So what does this mean for the beer?

In practical terms, virtually nothing: despite some claims to the contrary, Budvar has made its name in not innovating, not changing, and not trying to fix what isn’t broken. Expect the same great lagers to come from Brož as those you enjoyed during Tolar’s tenure.

But of course there’s a chance that Brož might be more open to some new ideas that are still in line with Budvar’s traditions and identity. Though those of us here in the Czech Republic drink it daily, Budvar remains a premium brand and an absolutely world-class lager.

If I could suggest anything at all, it would be for Budvar to consider something along the lines of Fuller’s Brewer’s Reserve, a limited-release, oak-aged ale released in numbered bottles and packaged in attractive gift boxes. (Watch this space for a forthcoming review of bottle no. 22623.) That is, Budvar is a premium brand, so why not do something super-premium, if only for the export and specialty market?

Just a thought. For now, raise your glass to celebrate the achievements of Josef Tolar — who won brewmaster of the year just last November — and welcome Adam Brož. And don’t worry too much about Budvar: after overseeing the production of 22 million hectoliters of beer during his time as brewmaster, Mr. Tolar will remain on the Budvar board with a special responsibility for the brewery’s future development.

Herewith is the list of those who have created great lagers in the city of Budweis.

Brewmasters at Budweiser Budvar

Antonín Holeček, 1.4.1895–31.3.1899
František Felix, 1.4.1899-31.12.1908
Josef Brych, 1.1.1909–26.2.1919
Vladimír Kořán, 1.3.1919-31.12.1935
Dr. Ing. Oldřich Miškovský, 1.1.1936–30.4.1942
Ing. Václav Rambousek, 1.5.1942–10.4.1948
Rudolf Smolík, 1.1.1949–31.7.1959
Miloš Heide, 1.8.1959–31.12.1984
Ing. Josef Tolar, 1.1.1985–31.12.2008
Ing. Adam Brož, 1.1.2009–present


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  1. I am sure that Mr Tolar will have left Budvar in very capable hands. As long at the company stays in safe hands and accountants don’t start to have an undue influence on the beer then long may Budvar continue to make wonderful beers. On the innovation front, perhaps a Budvar Porter?

  2. Do you mean a Czech porter or a British one?

  3. Jonas

    Tolar stepping down is not a surprise, he worked long over the usual retirement age (and the prize at the end of the year was obvious), but who the hell is Broz? Afaik Tolar had 2 deputies, who have been in Budvar for ages, and Ales Dvorak is known for widescale experimenting, homebrewing, etc. Pardal is completely his project. This move is a mystery to me.

  4. I guess a Baltic Porter would be the obvious step, but a London Porter would be a very bold move indeed – one that would no doubt turn heads.

  5. So, last year’s was a kind of life acheivement award. Well deserved.
    On the the other hand. I am not expecting anything very revolutionary from Budvar. At most a rebooting of Budvar Strong.

  6. If Budvar ever makes a British porter, I’d recommend watching the skies for flying beer-delivery monkeys, because to me, flying monkeys seem far more likely to come to pass.

    Not only is London Porter oceans removed from Budvar’s well-established traditions, but what would they call it? According to Czech brewing law 357/1997, “porter” is

    “dark beer made mostly from barley malt with an original gravity of 18 degrees and higher, bottom-fermented.”

    As I said in the post, I don’t expect anything new from Budvar. The only thing I would suggest is that if they do produce something new, they should go upscale rather than downmarket.

  7. Just a pipe dream I know.

  8. I am ashamed to admit that I never got round to adding Budvar to the list of beers, even having passed the brewery several times on various trips; maybe I should add Czechvar (as it is sold here in US)

  9. Honza

    Ales is responsible for technology.
    Budvar as far as wont buy a different brewery, wont make any top fermented beer…

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