Brussels - For the first time, the application to register ČESKÉ PIVO, or "Czech Beer", as one of the EU protected geographical indications was published in the Official Journal of the European Union this week.
This means that the "Czech Beer" fulfills all conditions necessary for having its name geographically protected.
Now, the process can be hampered only by a complaint filed by a third party.
Czech brewers filed their application to the European Commission (EC) shortly after the Czech Republic's admission to the EU in May 2004.
"In spite of the EC's calls for some of them being deleted, we managed to defend all important aspects in our application and thus increased the chance of having our original, traditional, and top-quality process of brewing protected," said the Minister of Agriculture Petr Gandalovič.
The EC now has to wait six months for possible objections to be raised by third parties before it can grant the coveted protection.
"If the EC approves our request, domestic breweries will be able to use the EU protected name 'Czech Beer' on their products, but only if they meet clearly defined conditions", informed the Deputy Minister Ivo Hlaváč.
According to experts, Czech beer is unique, courtesy of special species of barley and hops used, and specific technology of the production that differs from those used in the majority of other beer-producing countries.
The system of the EU protection of geographical indications and designations of origin was established in 1992.
Its aim is to protect the names of European top-quality agricultural and food products against unlawful immitation.
So far, ten Czech products have been enjoying the EU geographically protected indication status, including Budějovické pivo (Budweiser Beer) and Žatecký chmel (Hops from Žatec).
Diskuse: Attempt to protect Czech beer across EU underway