Posted by Michael P. Thiele on 4/1/2013 to
Welcome to Prague, the beer drinking capital of the world!
The Czech Republic appears to be the country of the highest consumption of beer per head in the world. The average consumption has reached 150 beers per year per inhabitant including infants and women (who usually drink less beer than adult men) in 2010. The truth is that foreign visitors are increasing the average consumption very significantly. This phenomena is occuring thanks to the two unique attributes of the Czech beer: drinkability and price.
Drinkability has been the main attribute of Czech beer for ages. It works very simply: right after you finish your first beer, using three to four gulps, you are eager to have another one - and another one and so on. The beer does not make your stomach feeling full, so you can easily enjoy the sensation of drinking. I have made 10 large beers during a night as my personal record, but I know guys who are able to drink more than 25 beers a night and still be thirsty. Drinkability is an intentional result of the brewing process, used by all Czech traditional breweries.
Actually, beer on tap is usually cheaper then bottled water in most pubs in Czechia. Beer itself is not expensive in Czechia thanks to the long term tradition. Some tourists get the impression that Czechia is the beer drinking paradise. The truth is that prices of beer have always been low here. You can have a large premium lager beer on tap (half a liter, 5,1% of alcohol) for 25-40 CZK (approx. 1 - 1,6 EUR) or a large draught beer (0,5 liter, 3,6% of alcohol) for 20-30 CZK (approx. 0,8 - 1,2 EUR) in most pubs around Prague and in the country.
Tradition of good prices
There used to be four categories of pubs in the Czech Republic in the seventies and eighties: One, Two, Three and Four. Beer on tap had cost the same money in Four as had bottled beer in supermarkets (can you imagine that?!!). There was a surcharge of 10% in Three, 100% in Two and 200% in One. I remember having a large draught beer in the Four pub for 2 CZK (approx. 20 Pfennigs of the former Deutsche Mark at those times) in the early eightees. And the beer was of uncomparably better taste then it is today thanks to the unspoiled local brewing conditions and traditional technology used before globalization. This pub categorization is no longer used but the price difference between supermarkets and pubs has remained very low until now in Czechia.