The Price Gap: Czech Beer Cheaper in Germany Than in Its Home Country

The beer cost in the Czech Republic has steadily risen, with consumption hitting the lowest level since 1963. One of the most well-known Czech beers, Pilsner Urquell, often sells in Czech stores for more than double the price in neighbouring Germany. According to Plzeňský Prazdroj, the brewery that produces Pilsner Urquell, the pricing discrepancy is not their doing but rather the result of decisions made by retailers.

Regular Czech shopper Radek Šádek travels frequently to German stores for cheaper Pilsner Urquell. It’s a 15-minute drive from his hometown to the Bavarian town of Waldsassen with supermarkets Edeka or Netto Marken. According to Šádek, a half-litre can of Pilsner Urquell costs around 25 Czech crowns in these German supermarkets.

In the Czech Republic, the same half-litre can be priced at 28.90 crowns in two supermarkets during a recent sale. The usual price varies between 31 and 38 crowns, making a potential price difference of up to 23 crowns. The stark price gap has been noticed by consumers, and photos showing favourable German prices often appear on social media.

So why is it that in Germany, where the average wage is nearly double that of the Czech Republic, the famous Pilsner beer is so much cheaper? Tomáš Maier, a brewing expert from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, attributes it primarily to the marketing power of Plzeňský Prazdroj. The Czech beer market is unusually concentrated, with the market leader holding over a 43% share, and Pilsner Urquell is a highly profitable brand for the company due to its strong marketing presence.

In conclusion, the high price of Pilsner in Czech supermarkets can be attributed to its market strength, marketing, and the image of a premium brand. In Germany, beer would not succeed against stronger competition at such a high price.