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Opinion

Bankers clear HK’s Czech consignment

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Ask most Hong Kong bankers frequenting the bars of Lan Kwai Fong about their last brush with anything Czech and most would point to sleepless nights watching the Republic?s flirtation with football greatness at the recent Euro 2004 championships. If local hedge fund manager Richard Johnson has his way, though, that is about to change.

After Johnson?s long-time friend, British entrepreneur Rolf Munding, acquired the Zatec brewery, housed in an ancient castle in the Czech Republic, Johnson decided to bring the beer, which has been brewed for a thousand years, to the territory.

In a market saturated with beer staples San Miguel, Carlsberg and Heineken, that seems a tall order. But Johnson, an irrepressible businessman, undertook extensive research and believes Zatec will have special appeal for Hong Kong?s hard-drinking financiers.

?Our beer is totally natural and takes 60 days to brew rather than the usual 10 days,? says Johnson. ?I can tell you: I went out and gave it a bit of a spanking on consecutive nights. I lay in bed waiting for the pain to hit me. It?s amazing stuff: because it?s natural, it doesn?t give you a hangover.?

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