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