Now all this might seem a familiar and inevitable outcome of ownership by some of the fizz kings of the world, but it seems that Jan Vesely, chairman of the Czech Beer and Malt Association doesn't agree or rather didn't when he took part in this interview for Radio Praha 3 years ago.
He says "The trend is totally opposite. The quality of Czech beer increased incredibly over the last 15 years. There's no comparison with the majority of beers fifteen years ago. Not only shelf life, but also all the hygiene and sanitary conditions. Yes, it's true, that sometime in history every beer from every brewery had a specific sensory profile - or taste and smell, to be more human in my expressions. But I must say this trend of losing this specific sensory value is very positive. Because the reason for the specific taste and smells was different contamination of specific breweries. Breweries were contaminated by bacteria. There were some high-level breweries, but the majority were suffering. And no-one could help themselves because there was no money for substantial improvement. Now, in the new conditions, it's true that beer is more standardised and perhaps one beer is closer to another. But for me it's very positive, because at least now we can be sure that it's just beer yeast that's found in beer as a final product!"
Sorry Jan, but when I go to Prague in May, it will be the beers from the small independent producers I'll be seeking for just that "specific sensory profile". If I want beers from the big tastealikes, I can just stay home.