The heat and the strong odour of barley malt hit you like a wave the second you step inside. In the heart of the brewery, the brewer and his assistants move around the hall containing huge copper tanks and monitor every detail of the brewing process.
"For us, brewing beer is primarily about keeping the traditions and the old craftsmanship alive. We use only locally produced ingredients, and every step within the production is initiated by people. For example, our brewers still add all the hops by hand," says Peter Samec, PR Manager for Budějovický Budvar.
Beer has been brewed in the city of České Budějovice for more than 700 years, and the Budějovický Budvar brewery has existed since 1895. The famous light amber Premium Lager made here has never been more popular around the world than it is today. Sales reached 140 million litres in 2013. Such volumes mean modern and reliable technology is essential to support the traditional brewing methods.
Good beer requires high quality water. The brewery therefore has its own well, from which a Grundfos SP 95 pump draws water 300 meters below ground.
"The water below our brewery is very soft and contains very low levels of nitrates compared to water from the rest of the Czech Republic. This means it only needs to pass through a sand filter before we can distribute it throughout the brewery," explains Petr Samec.
Extra power through partnership
The Budějovický Budvar brewery acquired new pump equipment last year. The old pump system was replaced with a new Hydro MPC-E booster system, including six CRE 64 pumps.
"We brew beer 24 hours a day, so it is crucial that the pumps do not break down. Our old pumps operated very reliably with a minimum of maintenance for 17 years, so it was natural for us to continue our good partnership with Grundfos," says Jaroslav Suchan, manager of the brewery maintenance department.
Sales Engineer Lubomir Nuc has worked for Grundfos in the Czech Republic since the company was founded. He was actually responsible for selling the old pump station to the brewery in 1997.
"It can be difficult to convince operators to replace something which is currently working. But in this case I used Pump Audit to demonstrate the real pattern in the water consumption. Given the success of the brewery, it may need the extra power offered by the new system in the near future," says Lubomir Nuc.
Taste is everything
The brewery has links to several iconic pubs in České Budějovice. One of which is Masné Krámy, where Czechs meet to eat, talk and enjoy the liquid gold. The pub sells all varieties of Budějovický Budvar, even a special Krausened Lager, which is based on such an active yeast that the beer has to be stored under 10°C and has a maximum shelf life of one month.
The majority of patrons at Masné Krámy probably do not give much thought to groundwater quality or hops being added by hand. But they no doubt appreciate that the liquid amber flowing from the bar taps is one of the finest lagers in the world – brewed just around the corner.