Czech Bartenders Mix Beer and Soda to Increase Sales

The future of Czech beer looks light and fruity
The New Czech Beer

Photo Modified: Flickr/BerntRostad

Czech bars now dilute their brews with soda to make a drink, called "radler."

Beer has a strong relationship to national character: Americans like their brews cold, the Brits serve beer at room temperature and flat, and the Czech, well, they just like to drink a lot of it. Czech attitudes have been changing, however, in regards to how they best enjoy their pint.

To increase beer sales and driving down prices, many Czech bars now dilute their brews with soda to make a drink, called "radler." This results in a beer that has a low alcohol content and is cheaper than water or soda — making it easier for people to buy and drink much more of it than of a traditional brew.

This trend is a response to both Europe’s changing economy and the nation's shifting tastes. Czech citizens have reduced their beer consumption drastically in recent years, as tastes shift from heavy lagers to sweet drinks like soda. A radler provides a way to bridge the gap between soda and beer, while maintaing one of the country's largest industries.  

There lies the problem that has been brewing concerning the radler's place in Czech society. This drink has divided serious beer drinkers and those with modern tastes. Before 2011, when the first bottled radler was introduced, many bartenders would refuse to serve those who asked for the drink. While tourists and lager devotees will continue to flock to Czech bars in order to order a pint of the country’s famed drink, the radler might provide a way for Czech to continue their dominance in beer as the world's tastes change.

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(Photo Modified: Flickr/BerntRostad)