Czech brewer Pilsner Urquell to end production of Kingswood apple cider

The Czech beermaker will stop production on its hard cider beverage early net year, citing low sales following the coronavirus pandemic. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.07.2022 09:57:00 (updated on 17.07.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Sad news for local cider fans: Czech brewer Pilsner Urquell will end production of Kingswood Apple Cider after about ten years on the market. Pilsner marketing director Roman Trzaskalik informed reporters about the company's decision at the close of the Colours of Ostrava music festival this weekend.

Trzaskalik cited low sales numbers following the coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind Kingswood's demise. The brand had sold best on draft in pubs and restaurants, he added, and these venues were more hesitant to place orders for cider following the pandemic, preferring to focus on beer.

"Probably early next year there will be a halt in sales," Trzaskalik stated.

"At Kingswood, we had high sales in restaurants and pubs. But their operators are now afraid to take cider back. They prefer to concentrate on one brand of beer. You can say that it is a victim of the coronavirus."

Going forward, Pilsner will concentrate on its Frisco brand of cider, a sweeter and less-traditional cider variation that has more years on the market than Kingswood. The company will also introduce a draft version of Frisco, which had previously only been sold in bottles.

"We've decided to keep a brand that's growing," said Trzaskalik, adding that draft Frisco was already being served at Colors of Ostrava. "We are testing one such option at the Colors of Ostrava festival."

Kingswood Apple Cider was made exclusively from fully-ripened apples harvested from orchards, and designed specifically for the Czech market. It was launched in the summer of 2013, and joined a few years later by two variations: Kingswood Dry, which had lower sugar content, and the sweeter Kingswood Rosé.

In addition to its popular beer brands and Frisco, Pilsner Urquell also launched Viper, a hard seltzer with lower sugar levels, across European markets including the Czech Republic last year.

Pilsner Urquell reported total sales of 16.3 billion crowns last year and a net profit of 4.48 billion crowns. Those numbers were up compared to 2020, but down by four percent and six percent, respectively, compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

The company has cited restaurant and pub closures in 2020 and 2021 as reasons for the downturn in sales, which haven't fully returned to pre-pandemic levels.

"Compared to the pre-covid period, there was a significant drop last year, especially for draft beer. Overall, our sales on the domestic market last year fell even behind 2020 by three percent," says Pilsner Urquell Managing Director Dragos Constantinescu.

"On the other hand, mainly thanks to our ongoing support of pubs and restaurants, a number of establishments signed on with us last year, interested in becoming our customers."

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