Economy & Politics

Breweries10 facts about the European beer market

Beer is an important economic factor worldwide
Beer is an important economic factor worldwideUnsplash

The Corona crisis is also causing problems for Europe’s breweries. In Germany alone, sales fell by 6.6 percent in the first half of the year compared to the previous year. Recently, however, the number of breweries had increased, as the Brewers of Europe Association, the umbrella organization of 29 national breweries, has determined. The association counted almost 10,300 breweries in its last report in spring 2020.

This means that the beer industry is also an important factor for the economy of the countries that make up the association, as the data collections and reports by Brewers of Europe for 2018 show. An overview of the eight most important facts about the beer market in Europe:

# 1 number two worldwide

In 2018, a total of 405 million hectoliters were produced on the European continent. This is the first time in a decade that the 400 million hectoliters mark has been exceeded. If you take the former 28 EU states together, the international community is the second largest beer producer in the world behind China and ahead of the USA. And rightly so, because the selection with around 80 types of beer and 50,000 beer brands is not exactly small.

# 2 2.3 million jobs

According to Brewers of Europe, around 2.3 million jobs depend on the beer market, from agriculture to pubs. Around 130,000 are accounted for by the breweries, the majority of which come from the catering industry and the distribution of various beer brands. According to Brewers of Europe, one job in the brewery sector corresponds to 16 jobs outside the industry.

# 3 55 billion euros in added value

The entire beer market also makes a significant contribution to economic output. The total contribution to value added in the EU member states – at that time still including Great Britain – amounts to around 55 billion euros – 16 billion of which is accounted for by the brewery sector.

# 4 Total spending of 26 trillion euros

Beer production naturally incurs costs. Above all, packaging, including bottles, cans, and cardboard boxes are among the most popular products. Overall, the sector bought goods for around 26 trillion euros for its own production in 2018, around 80 percent of which were domestic purchases.

# 5 Biggest consumption

Most of the beer was drunk in the Czech Republic in 2018. Brewers of Europe counts around 141 liters per capita for the year. The Czechs were closely followed by Austria with 107 liters per capita, Germany with 102 liters per capita and Poland with 100 liters per capita. In contrast, France and Italy had the lowest beer consumption: Here, per capita consumption was 33 and 34 liters, respectively.

# 6 Largest exporter

Even if domestic brands make up their regular share of consumption, beer exports are particularly high for some European beer brands: In Estonia, around 61 percent of the beer produced went across national borders. The Netherlands and Denmark also exported more than half of their beer production with 59 and 51 percent respectively.

# 7 Largest importer

Luxembourg recorded the highest import figures within the EU. Eight out of ten beers were bought here from abroad. Latvia was clearly in second place among the largest European importers – with at least two thirds of imported beer. The Czech Republic and Poland, on the other hand, had the lowest import rates at around two percent.

# 8 Most active breweries

With Brexit, a considerable number of breweries will also disappear from the EU. In 2018, the United Kingdom counted almost a fifth of all companies in the industry with 2030 active breweries. In second and third place were France with 1,600 active breweries and Germany with 1,542 active breweries. At a considerable distance then Italy followed with around 874 active breweries.

# 9 Largest share of production of non-alcoholic beer

The variety of products has increased in recent years, including the segment for beer with little or no alcohol. In Spain, the proportion of non-alcoholic products made up almost nine percent of total production. This makes the country the front runner in a European comparison. Only Germany, at 7.3 percent, has a similarly high proportion of non-alcoholic beer in terms of total production. Incidentally, the lowest proportion of non-alcoholic beer in the EU was produced in Ireland – such types make up just 0.6 percent.

# 10 Largest proportion of production from small breweries

The majority of European breweries are considered small breweries and thus make up almost 80 percent of the industry. Their share in national production is still relatively small. The Swedish microbreweries had the largest share of beer produced, at six percent. For the majority of the EU member states, however, the proportion ranged between one and three percent – with the proportion in Spain and Germany even being zero.

Germany’s most popular beer brands

With beer it is often the same as with football: the homeland is kept loyal. This can also be seen in the ranking of the most popular beer brands in this country


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