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Pilsner Urquell Earns Highest Taste Rating


MILWAUKEE - The ultra-premium imported beer Pilsner Urquell is taking its place among other top-rated brands in the liquor department. The Czech Republic import, the beer that invented the pilsner category, will be showcased utilizing a points rating system and with suggested food pairings.

The new focus on marketing tactics traditionally used by wine producers is prompted by the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI), who recently awarded Pilsner Urquell a score of 93 points (out of 100)—the highest rating ever given to a pilsner style lager. This rating places Pilsner Urquell at the “exceptional” level, atop some of the most well known import lager brands.

Sales figures back up the brand’s strategy, as import beer sales are rising at a faster rate than those of wine. According to the Beer Institute, import beer sales were up nearly 15 percent last year, while the Nielsen Company reports wine sales increased 7 percent in 2006.

“We are finding that the wine aficionados who savor the total sensory experience also enjoy Pilsner Urquell’s deep golden hue and delicate malt/hop balance,” said Evan Cohen, U.S. brand manager for Pilsner Urquell.

In the typical week, according to Research International, more than 55 percent of people who are buying wine are also buying imported beer. “We see a growing trend in beer accompanying meals, even replacing chardonnay, at the dinner table and beyond,” explained Cohen.

To take advantage of this trend, Pilsner Urquell is engaging wine connoisseurs through methods they already understand: ratings. Six-packs of Pilsner Urquell will have “neckhangers” identifying the 93 rating and shelf descriptions will highlight tasting notes and pairings.

Pilsner Urquell expects the BTI’s rating claim to resonate with those who have discerning tastes. “Sophisticated consumers want to know that the beer they are purchasing is a quality product,” said Cohen. “A trusted rating shows beer buyers that there are independent expert evaluators who, as in the wine category, can help them identify the best in class.”

Additionally, Pilsner Urquell is reaching out to beverage aficionados with other efforts, including: offering tasting notes with active descriptions reaching beyond a beer’s taste; introducing complex food and beer pairings; and organizing tasting events to educate both consumers and retail partners on appropriate beer tasting etiquette.

Pilsner Urquell also has appointed an internal beer expert and former student of the Siebel Institute of Technology—the oldest brewing school located in the United States—as the company’s U.S. Trade Brewer, International Brands Division. In addition to educating consumers and retailers on proper pouring, tasting and serving methods for beer, Ryan Johnson will satisfy the food and beer pairing movement by hosting tasting events similar to a top wine sommelier.


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