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Czech brewer Budvar hits record as people drink more at home

FILE - This Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, shows the Budejovicky Budvar brewery, in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic. Budvar brewer, which has been in a long legal dispute with U.S. giant Anheuser-Busch over use of the Budweiser brand, increased output to the highest level in its 125-year history. Budejovicky Budvar NP, a Czech state-owned brewery, says that its output rose 3% to 1.73 million hectoliters (45.7 million gallons) in 2020, despite the pandemic that hit hard global trade and business. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

PRAGUE – Budvar, the Czech brewer that has been in a long legal dispute with U.S. giant Anheuser-Busch over use of the “Budweiser” brand, increased output to a record last year, when the pandemic saw people drink less in bars and more at home.

Budejovicky Budvar NP, a 125-year-old state-owned brewery, said Thursday that its output rose 3% to 1.73 million hectoliters (45.7 million gallons) in 2020.

The brewer’s exports were up almost 3.5% last year, director Petr Dvorak said.

Budvar sells its beer in some 80 countries and Germany, one of its key markets, grew particularly strongly in 2020. Revenues also hit a record last year, growing 1% from 2.8 billion crowns ($130 million) in 2019. It did not release profit figures.

Demand for its beer in tanks and barrels declined last year as bars and restaurants were closed for a long time but Budvar was able to meet rising demand for bottled beer, it said.

The brewer has been expanding in recent years to be able to produce over 2 billion hectoliters of beer a year. That investment made it possible to react to “dramatic” changes on the markets amid the coronavirus pandemic.