Monday, March 30, 2009

Missed Opportunities.

I am starting to think that "Missed Opportunities" should be the credo of the marketing departments for most independent Czech breweries, come to think of it, most Czech breweries in general. Evan has commented several times about how poor our local breweries are here when it comes to using labels creatively.

Take the beer in these pictures as an example. Named in honour of an Austrian author and poet, who also wrote in Czech. How did I discover this, having not known it before? Yes, I had to look it up on Wikipedia. Going back to the label, it just left me asking questions, and probably annoying Mrs Velkyal into the bargain. It is possible to deduce that the beer is named after a guy called Klostermann who lived from 1848 to 1923, but that's where the information finishes. These were the questions that went through my head:
  1. Why are there 4 city crests on the label? What cities are they?
  2. What is Klostermann's connection to Strakonice?
  3. What did Klostermann do?
  4. Why is "Lager Bier" on the label in German instead of Czech?

It was only when I read his wiki entry that it became clear, and I had checked the back label, to be told the ingredients of the beer and the best before date.

But grumbling without suggesting an alternative is pointless, so here is what I would do:

  1. Use a complete wrap around label, rather than the more usual front and back efforts
  2. Leave the front section largely as it is
  3. On the back section, put the smallest possible barcode on it, and have it horizontal rather than vertical, decrease the size of the font for the ingredients and then give a potted biography of Karel Klostermann.

The potted biography could be something like this:

"Born in 1848 in Haag am Hausruck, Karel Klostermann was an author in both the Czech and German languages. His later writings are based in the Šumava region under the title "In the Heart of Šumava". Klostermann died in 1923 in Štěkeň, a village near Strakonice."

Oh, and if you want to look at the brewery website for more information about the beer, don't bother - it isn't even listed in their "assortment" section.
As for the beer, it was alright, not an amber lager up there with the likes of Primátor's excellent 13° amber, but certainly a decent enough drink.


  1. But if they did that it would have denied you the pleasure of sleuthing your way to all that information. Can't beat a bit of mystery! ;)

    Or was it misery?

  2. If sleuthing had actually been involved rather than just typing Klostermann in the search box, then perhaps it would have been worthwhile. Mystery and intrique may be interesting, but just plain cryptic is annoying.

  3. I like reading beer bottles for some reason. I especially like a description of the beer and maybe some tasting notes. It is nice to have some history if it is named after something also. Shepherd Naeme springs to mind for this. They could put the history on the neck label even.

  4. That is one of the reasons I like the Cyclops tasting notes in the UK - they help to decide what beers I fancy trying, and also what a beer should be like, so if there is a problem I can know it isn't necessarily the beer that is bad, but just one batch.

  5. Klostermann is listed on their website. Below their "normal" range of beers it says: "A to jeste neni vsechno, kliknete sem a uzrite nase specialni piva". If you click there you wil find information about their special beers such as Samp, Velkoprevor and Klostermann.

  6. Must have missed that - thanks for the heads up!

  7. Yes, that link is very well disguised. I knew it was there but it took some time to find it.

  8. Just as well we can both speak Czech, the English site is somewhat lacking in general.


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