Today’s episode is a really interesting discussion with one of the most influential people in international beer—Robert Lobovsky of Pilsner Urquell.
I say "most influential" because he’s the face and ambassador for one of the world’s most famous beers, which has only gone on to embolden its reputation over the years as its shifted from a European gem to an international icon for the Pilsner style.
I had my first chat with Robert a few years ago in the Czech Republic walking around the campus and the caves of Pilsner Urquell. I found him to be a delightful conversationalist and a but of a history nut, both for Pilsner Urquell but also for his country.
So getting the chance to sit down with him in the studio in Chicago was a real treat for me. We dig in to everything from the history of Pilsner, to Robert’s personal journey, to the state of world affairs that make a brewery like Pilsner Urquell such an interesting acquisition for the likes of SABMiller who, in the days following this conversation, actually sold off the brewery to Asahi as part of the monster deal between AB InBev and SABMiIller.
One thing to note: in this interview we try to relate world events like the formation of NATO to the timing of the original SABMiller sale, and honestly, we struggle a bit to paint that picture. Following the interview, we discussed a bit more and came to the conclusion that SABMiller wanted to buy Pilsner Urquell because it was a bit of a pride piece for the South African conglomerate to own such a critical piece of European brewing history, but of course the signing of NATO certainly helped that investment pay off a lot faster than it otherwise would have. In fact, it helped bring companies like Pilsner Urquell to the world stage.