The double-digit decline is according to preliminary figures recorded by the Czech Beer and Malt Association.
Budvar, the state-owned Czech brewer, described its year-on-year growth as the best export year in its 116-year history, and reports that exports now form almost 50% of its annual 1.4m hectolitre sales volume.
According to Tony Jennings, CEO of Budvar UK, the export rise was due to strong growth in Budvar’s major market, Germany, a return to high sales levels in Russia and strong performance from draft Original Budvar in the UK, which rose 14%.
He said: “According to the brewers and maltsters association the dismal export performance last year was due to the recession and ‘restriction of consumption’, whatever that means.”
For Jennings, it is the large internationally-owned Czech beer brands that that have suffered most.
Staropramen, an international Czech beer brand with global sales of around 3m hectolitres, saw exports drop by 11% in 2009.
While SAB Miller – owners of Czech beer brand Pilsner Urquell – recorded 5% negative growth in Europe during H1 2010, something it ascribed to ‘weak economic conditions across the region’.
Jennings said: “If a craft lager like Budvar is doing OK, along with a lot of small Czech breweries its has to be proof of what we have been saying for a long time; that the big brands are losing out to a new generation of well informed drinkers who want to enjoy the real thing.”