Czech liquor producer in low spirits over egg supplies

Czech spirits producer faces liquor production crisis because of local eggs supply shortage and soaring prices

Chris Johnstone | 21.03.2012
As rare as hen’s teeth?

The Czech Republic’s biggest spirits producers wants to — pardon the pun — eggspand into egg production because of the soaring cost of one its basic raw materials.

Spirits producer Stock Plzeň says it looking to find its own source of eggs by buying into established producers or setting up its own green field site. A study setting out the options should be ready within a few weeks the company’s general manager Petr Pavlík told the Czech News Agency (ČTK).

The 85-year-old company, which produces a variety of brandies, rums, vodkas and its herbal bitters, such as Fernet Stock, has been hit hard by a more than tripling in the local price of eggs in recent weeks.

It faces problems because its vanilla egg liquer, Božkov Vajecny, is produced with fresh eggs with the west Bohemian spirits firm needing around 30 tonnes of eggs a month to keep production on course, according to Pavlík. The egg liquor is usually used to add to coffee, cakes, ice cream and cakes.

While the producer says it can deal with a temporary price rise, it faces a serious problem if the exorbitant prices last for any length of time. That is the main reason behind its quest for egg autonomy, says Pavlík.

The cost of eggs has soared in the Czech Republic following a ban on imports from some EU countries that have failed to implement legislation setting out minimum standards for battery hens. The ban includes, Poland, one of the main suppliers to the Czech market.

Czech have been seeking to buy eggs in neighboring Germany because of the high local prices and shortages, according to local media reports. In Germany the hen welfare rules have been in place for several years and prices have remained stable.

Head of state and EU critic President Václav Klaus sought to exploit the situation last week by saying that the shortage and soaring prices were a typical example of Brussels meddling in the market where it was not needed. 

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