Tim Palmer Ambitious plans to turn the Czech lager Pilsner Urquell into a major international brand have been unveiled by owner South African Breweries (SAB). It intends to increase global volume sales by 30% each year until it has grown from 1.1bn litres to 5bn. By 2010 it expects the brand to be one of the top 10 international beers. To do this it is committing to long term marketing support which starts with a $10m (£6.86m) budget this year. The lion's share will back sales in its key markets of the US, Germany and Poland but it also plans to spend £2m on the brand in the UK alone in 2002. The central plank to the campaign will be the brand's first TV, cinema, press and poster advertising which claims that numerous inventions created since 1842, when Pilsner Urquell was first brewed, were introduced solely to appreciate the beer. Examples include the fridge (to make the beer cold) and the bicycle (to get to the pub faster). In the UK the brand will be supported by print advertising in the summer with cinema adverts expected to follow. Distributor Ubevco has been signed up to handle the brand in the UK and SAB marketing director Phil Plowman said: "Although the brand has been available in the UK for some years we are effectively launching it here for the first time. "We have reasonable distribution in the multiple grocers and there is a lot of work still to do in the on-trade. "We will be applying a niche marketing strategy to get the brand in front of its target market of 22 to 40-year-olds." Two promotions have been lined up for the brand this year. The first, running from now until July, offers the chance to win weekend breaks, and the second, in the autumn, has the latest gadgets to hit the shops as top prizes. {{DRINKS }}