The dark lager market in the UK will shortly be joined by another contender from the Czech Republic.

Premium bottled beer supplier Branded Drinks has this month been appointed as the distributor for the Krusovice range of beers, which have until now only been available in Scotland in small quantities.

The range includes Krusovice Dark, which is a 3.8% abv dark lager, and Imperial, a 5% abv premium pilsner-style lager. Both beers will be sold in 500ml bottles, priced at £1.59.

"The move to Branded Drinks should allow us to take the beers to the next stage where we can look at a UK-wide distribution filtering into the English off-trade through northern cities such as Manchester and Newcastle," said Gary Lawson, who has been responsible for developing Krusovice in Scotland for the past five years.

Lawson, who will be joining Branded Drinks as its director for Scotland, will also manage the Furstenberg and Weihenstephan beer brands.

The two Czech beers are brewed in the Krusovice Brewery, just outside Prague, which started brewing in 1581. Until 1992 the beers were only produced for the domestic market, and it has been developing its export side since then, said Lawson. "The brewery has royal heritage in the Czech Republic so the beers are seen as premium products there."

Earlier this year Czech brand Budweiser Budvar launched its Budvar Dark into the UK, and in March Peruvian beer Cusqueña brought out its Malta variant to tackle the UK's growing dark lager market.

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