Budweiser loses fight to be only 'Bud' in Europe

Czech Budweiser beers leave the production line at the Budejovicky Budvar brewery in southern Bohemia.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Budweiser has lost a long-running battle to have its name trademarked across Europe. The American brand has fought for years against a Czech company called Budweiser Budvar to copyright the words "Bud" and "Budweiser". Now, Budweiser Budvar can call itself "Bud" in some major European countries. The BBC's Rebecca Singer reports.


Rebecca Singer: Both beers have the same name, but ones a light lager originally brewed in St. Louis and now owned by the global giant Anheiser-Busch Inbev, and the other is a darker beer steeped in small town Eastern-European tradition. Larry Nelson is the editor of Brewer's Guardian, an international magazine for the drinks industry:

Larry Nelson: Budvar is a small Czech brewery with a production of roughly one one-thousandth of what AB-Inbev would produce worldwide.

Now the highest court in Europe has decided the American Budweiser brand can't use its name in Germany or Austria, two very important beer markets. This disputes been going on for 14 years. But the root of the problem comes from the fact that Budweiser just means "beer from the town of Budweis". And with the local Czech Budvar growing in popularity, the global brand didn't want any misunderstanding. Nelson says the decision won't impact Budweiser too much.

Nelson: You're talking about a small brewery that has a great product but limited resources. At the end of the day it's still going to come down to marketing muscle.

Most other European countries, including the U.K., allow both companies to use the name.

In London, I'm the BBC's Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.

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