Since the beginning of April, Czechs are spending on average CZK 360,000 on beer and food vouchers every day to be consumed “in better times”.
Following the success of Zachraň pivo! (Save the Beer!) website, the new Zachraň svou hospodu! (Save Your Pub!) site enables concerned drinkers to buy vouchers for use when cash-strapped Czech pubs re-open.
The initiative partners include a dozen of the Czech Republic’s biggest breweries, alcohol, and soft drinks producers. Among them is Plzeňský Prazdroj, the makers of Pilsner Urquell.
“The brewers who work in the pubs all their lives are inherently connected with the pub. We need to support each other,” says Plzeňský Prazdroj’s chief brewmaster emeritus Václav Berka, who has personally bought several vouchers.
Berka called on his colleagues in the industry to support their pubs as well. “I was pleasantly surprised by the interest in this initiative, but on the other hand, I was surprised at how many pubs are not involved, yet. I don’t want to use any strong words, but beer is our destiny. Our lives have been associated with it for decades.”
“More than 90 percent of establishments are now closed. Czech pubs are part of our culture, an important part of communities. They are in fact a social network,” said Budvar’s brewmaster, Aleš Dvořák.
The “Save your pub!” project was launched by the Czech Association of Breweries and Malthouses, and so far about 2,500 pubs have registered, more than an eighth of the total establishments in the country.
The Save the Pub! website lets customers select establishments by region, district or neighborhood. As of Tuesday morning, almost 4,000 people had bought vouchers through the system – for anywhere from 100 crowns (good for two, maybe three pints) to 1,000 crowns (enough to have a proper night out for two).
Martina Ferencová, head of the Czech Beer and Malt Association, considers the Save Your Pub! the initiative really successful.
“Customers already spent 7 million CZK on vouchers. It’s a big success considering we started this project at the beginning of April,” she says to iRozhlas.
Approximately 50,000 pubs in the Czech Republic were forced to close as a result of government measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.