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České Budějovice (Budweis)

České Budějovice (Czech pronunciation: [ˈt͡ʃɛskɛː ˈbuɟɛjovɪt͡sɛ]; German: Budweis or Böhmisch Budweis, English: Budweis) is a statutory city in the Czech Republic. It is the largest city in the South Bohemian Region as well as its political and commercial capital, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of České Budějovice, the University of South Bohemia, and the Academy of Sciences. It is located in the center of a valley of the Vltava River, at the confluence with the Malše. České Budějovice, which is located in the historical province of Bohemia, is not to be confused with Moravské Budějovice in Moravia.

The city was founded in 1256 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia, who granted its municipal charter in 1265. The siting and planning of the city was carried out by the king's knight Hirzo. The settlers were coming from the Bohemian Forest and Upper Austria. The royal city was created as a platform of the king's power in South Bohemia and to counterbalance the powerful noble House of Rosenberg, which became extinct in 1611.

In 1341 King John of Bohemia allowed Jewish families to reside within the city walls, and the first synagogue was built in 1380; however several pogroms occurred in the late 15th and early 16th century. Since the Hussite Wars, the city was traditionally a bulwark of the Catholic Church during the long-lasting religious conflicts in the Kingdom of Bohemia. A part of the Habsburg Monarchy from 1526, Budejovice remained a loyal supporter of Emperor Ferdinand II in the Thirty Years' War. Budějovice underwent a short occupation by Prussia during the Silesian Wars, and the war between the Habsburgs and the French army in 1742.

In 1762 the Piarists established a gymnasium here and Emperor Joseph II founded the diocese in 1785. In 1847, the production of Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth pencils was relocated from Vienna to Budějovice.

During the Second World War in March 1945, Budějovice was twice targeted by U.S. Air Force raids that greatly damaged the city and caused great loss of life. At the end of the war, on May 9, 1945, Soviet troops liberated [conquered] the city. On the following day, the Red Army and the American Army met on the main square in a joint celebration of the city's liberation.

The old town preserves interesting architecture from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and 19th century periods. This includes buildings around the large Ottokar II Square ("Náměstí Přemysla Otakara II"), the old Town Hall with murals and bronze gargoyles, and the 16th century Black Tower (Černá věž). The most valuable historic building in České Budějovice is the Dominican convent with the Gothic Presentation of the Virgin Mary church from the 13th century, on Piaristic Square.

The Museum of South Bohemia dates to 1877 and holds a large collection of historic books, coins, weapons and other articles. It was closed for reconstruction in 2012-2014.

In the new town, the Belle Époque Austro-Hungarian train station is notable. The horse-drawn railroad line connecting České Budějovice to Linz was the second oldest public line in continental Europe (after the St.Étienne-Andrézieux line in France), constructed from 1824 to 1832; traces of the line can be seen south of the city center.

Nearby České Budějovice lies Hluboká nad Vltavou with one of the most visited Czech castle, Hluboká Castle. The ruins of the home castle of the Czech national hero Jan Žižka, Trocnov (now part of Borovany), are located some ten kilometers (6 miles) southeast of the town. A bit further away (about 30 km), the town of Český Krumlov is another popular tourist destination in South Bohemia. In 1992, it was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Budějovice has long been well known for the beer brewed there since the 13th century. For a time, the town was the imperial brewery for the Holy Roman Emperor, and Budweiser Bier (i.e. beer from Budweis) became, along with Pilsner from Plzeň, one of the best-known lagers. Brewing remains a major industry. In 1256 the Svitavy brewery was founded there, which was closed in 2002.

The oldest (founded in 1795) and second largest brewery was renamed to "Pivovar Samson", replacing its original German name "Budweiser Bürgerbräu" during the communist period. It also exported, mostly under the "Samson" and "Crystal" labels. Recently, they reacquired naming rights for Budweiser for Europe while offering "B. B. Bürgerbräu" in the US since 2005.

 

Budweiser Budvar Brewery

Budweiser Budvar Brewery (Budějovický Budvar) (Czech pronunciation: [ˈbuɟɛjovit͡skiː ˈbudvar]) is a brewery in the city of České Budějovice (German: Budweis), Czech Republic, that is best known for brewing a beer known as "Budweiser Budvar" for 800 years, brewed in accordance with the 1516 Reinheitsgebot law, using water, barley and hops.

The largest brewery, founded in 1895, is "Pivovar Budějovický Budvar" (Budweiser Budvar Brewery) which has legal rights to market its beer under the "Budweiser" brand name in much of Europe. The same product is also sold elsewhere under the names "Budvar" and "Czechvar" due to legal disagreements with Anheuser-Busch over the Budweiser brand. The American lager was originally brewed as an imitation of the famous Bohemian original, but over time has developed its own identity and attained remarkable commercial success. Anheuser-Busch has made offers to buy out the Czech brewing company in order to secure global rights to the name "Budweiser", but the Czech government has refused all such offers, regarding the Czech Budweiser name as a matter of national pride.

  • Bud Super Strong (Dark Red Label and Silver Quality Label/awarded by Monde Selection in 2005): This beer is marketed as the super-premium member of the Budvar family. Contains 7.6% alcohol by volume.
  • Budweiser Budvar Premium Dark Lager (Black Label and Gold Quality Label awarded by Monde Selection in 2011 and 2010): This beer is brewed in the same style as the red label, but is brewed from three different kinds of barley malts. Contains 4.7% alcohol by volume.
  • Budweiser Budvar Czech Premium Lager / Czechvar (Red, white, and Gold Quality Label awarded by Monde Selection in 2011 and 2010): The classic Budějovický Budvar lager. Contains 5% alcohol by volume.
  • Budweiser Budvar Yeast Lager: Unlike the other Budvar beers, Yeast Lager is served in kegs, not bottles. Contains 5% alcohol by volume.
  • Budweiser Budvar Pale Beer (Silver, white, and Gold Quality Label): Marketed as a more accessible beer than the red label. Contains 4% alcohol by volume.
  • Pardál (Gold Quality Label awarded by Monde Selection in 2010): Budvar calls Pardál "the perfect beer for sharp and full bitter flavored beer lovers." Contains 3.8% alcohol by volume.
  • Budweiser Budvar non-alcoholic beer (Green Label and Gold Quality Label awarded by Monde Selection in 2011): A non-alcohol version. Contains a maximum of 0.5% alcohol by volume.

 

A dispute has been ongoing since 1907 with American brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev over the name "Budweiser". In the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Brazil and Peru, the Budvar beer is marketed as Czechvar. In other countries, it is sold as Budweiser Budvar.

Budweiser Budvar is one of the highest selling beers in the Czech Republic in 2014, it was exported into approximately 66 countries. It is the best selling imported beer in Germany and the best selling Czech beer in Austria and Great Britain.

The history of brewing in České Budějovice, dates back to the 13th century Kingdom of Bohemia, when the city received the brewing rights. The original Budweiser Bier or Budweiser Bürgerbräu (Czech:Budějovický měšťanský pivovar), was founded here in 1785. The company began exporting to the United States in 1871. In the U.S., Anheuser-Busch started using the Budweiser brand in 1876 and registered it two years later.

A second company (now named Budvar) was established in 1895 in same town by mainly Czech brewers, which also started exporting beer under the name Budweiser (being the German way of referring to something from the city such as a beer, while "Budějovický" means the same in Czech). These exports into the US market led to the Budweiser trademark dispute. Negotiations between the three companies, the two from the original town and the American Anheuser-Busch, about using "Budweiser" reached an agreement in March 1938 that allowed Anheuser-Busch to use the brand "Budweiser" only in North America.

After the fall of communism, both local breweries tried to secure rights to traditional names.

 

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