Czech brewer Budweiser Budvar is in talks to set up a trade body for the marketing and promotion of imported lagers in a bid to crack down on brands that falsely play on their foreign roots in advertising.
The news comes as Budweiser Budvar is to trial a black lager later this year. This will be the first major extension to the 800-year-old brand. The company is also expected to launch a higher alcohol version of the lager, called Budvar Gold, later this year.
The black beer, which is being launched under the name Budweiser Budvar Black Lager, will be launched in a selection of pubs and bars this autumn.
John Harley, UK chief executive of the brewer, says the beer has a similar taste and texture as normal Budvar lager, but has been turned black through the heavy roasting of the ingredients. He adds that the beer is a traditional Czech recipe, which has become more popular in Europe over recent years.
Harley says imported lager has been one of the strongest areas of growth in the beer market over the past year. He has sent out invitations to brewers of foreign lagers to meet to discuss the formation of a trade body to help maintain this performance. The body would encourage consumption of imported lager.
Harley says it would also discourage brewers from marketing beers brewed in the UK on foreign origins.