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
@ 2020 Brewery C. & A. Veltins GmbH & Co. KG
# 10 Veltins
Veltins takes tenth place in the German beer ranking. According to YouGov, 8.5 percent of the survey participants can imagine reaching for bottles of this brand. However, Veltins doesn’t seem to have that many passionate fans nationwide. The beer brand made it into the top 3 in only one federal state. Veltins took second place in the home state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The company headquarters of the country brewery, founded in 1824, is still in Meschede-Grevenstein in the Sauerland. C. & A. Veltins GmbH is named after the twins Carl and Anton Veltins, who ran the private brewery from 1905. With Susanne Veltins, managing the company is still a family affair. The company owns the brands V +, Pülleken and Grevensteiner.
@imago images / Waldmüller
# 9 Jever
Almost every tenth German (9.2 percent) would buy Jever, according to the survey. In Bremen, the extra bitter beer from Friesland ranks third. The history of the Frisian brewery in Jever began in 1848 with the innkeeper Diedrich König. At that time there were 20 small breweries in the region. Jever used marketing early on to stand out from the crowd. While the competitors delivered their beer in mugs, Jever was available in green bottles from 1870 onwards. Since 1934 the beer has also stood out in terms of taste. Master brewer Ernst Böhme decided to add a touch more hops to the water, which gave the Pilsener its (Frisian) bitter taste. The brewery was only moved to Bavaria-St. Pauli brewery in Hamburg-Altona sold. Later it went to the Herz brothers (Tchibo) and finally to the Radeberger Group. According to official information, up to 60,000 bottles per hour are filled today. The “v” in the name is pronounced as “w” for beer and as “f” for the city – which is still the company’s headquarters today.
@imago images / Manngold
# 8 Franciscans
According to YouGov, Franziskaner Weissbier is eighth of the most popular beers in Germany, with an approval rate of 9.5 percent. In Bavaria it ranks first with 21.7 percent, but does not make it into the top 3 in any other federal state. The brewery traces its roots back to 1363. At that time the “Bräustatt bey den Franziskanern” near the Residenz in Munich was mentioned for the first time. Franziskaner Weissbier belongs to Anheuser-Busch InBev and thus to the largest brewery group in the world.
# 7 Radeberger
Exactly every tenth German (10.0 percent) drinks according to the Radeberger survey. Even more: only the leader in this ranking is number one in more federal states. Radeberger Pilsner leads the regional rankings in Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania it is enough for second place. The Radeberger export beer brewery was founded in 1872 and is based in Radeberg near Dresden. It is the flagship of the Radeberger Group, which in turn belongs to the Oetker Group. The Radeberger Group in Frankfurt am Main claims to be the market leader in the German beer market with more than 80 brands (including Schöfferhofer, Clausthaler, Jever, Berliner Kindl).
@Paulaner Brewery Group / Soller Photography
# 6 Paulaner
With an approval rate of 10.6 percent, Paulaner is the sixth most popular beer in Germany. In the home country of Bavaria, the brand has to be content with third place. It ranks second in Baden-Württemberg. Paulaner Brewery Group is based in Munich. The monks of the Paulaner order are said to have brewed beer by 1634 at the latest. The Paulaner brewery group includes the brands Hacker-Pschorr, Auerbräu, Thurn & Taxis, Hoepfner and Fürstenberg.
# 5 Bitburger
From 1951 at the latest, “Please a bit” was ordered in German pubs. Since then, the brewery from the southern Eifel has been advertising with this slogan. Bitburger is currently number one in the home state of Rhineland-Pfaz and Saarland. In North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse it came in third place in the YouGov survey. Nationwide it was enough for the private brewery, founded in 1817, for fifth place (11.6 percent). The company is in the seventh generation of family ownership and claims to have around 1,800 employees. The brands Köstritzer, Licher and Wernesgrüner belong to the Bitburger brewery group. Export plays a major role at Bitburger. The group’s products are to be consumed in around 90 countries around the world. By the way, the template for the “Please a bit” lettering in the logo comes from the great-great-grandson of the brewery’s founder, Theobald Simon.
@imago images / Manngold
# 4 Erdinger
According to YouGov, Erdinger is Germany’s most popular wheat beer brand. It comes in fourth place in the overall ranking with 11.8 percent approval. Erdinger claims that it is the largest family-owned wheat beer brewery in Germany. Total sales in 2019 were 1.71 million hectoliters. Erdinger Weißbräu only made it into the top 3 in Bavaria and had to settle for second place behind Franziskaner in the battle of wheat beers. The private brewery was founded in 1886. Erding, a town on the outskirts of Munich, is the company’s headquarters to this day. After the main fermentation, the wheat beer is matured a second time in the bottle.
# 3 Warsteiner
At Warsteiner, it’s the crowd that makes it. The brand does not make it to number one in any federal state. Otherwise, only a second place (Saarland) and three third places (Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate) are sufficient. Even in the home state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the brand missed the podium. Nationwide, however, Warsteiner is third among the most popular beer brands with 12.5 percent. The Warsteiner Haus Cramer brewery was founded in 1753 by Antonius Cramer and run by Catharina Cramer in the ninth generation. The Warsteiner Group includes the Herford brewery and the Paderborn brewery. According to its own information, it produces more than two million hectoliters per year. The turnover in 2018 was over 400 million euros.
@imago images / imagebroker
# 2 Beck’s
In contrast to Warsteiner, Beck’s can rely on a strong regional identity. The bitter beer from Bremen especially hits the taste of the North Germans. Beck’s is the most popular beer in Bremen and Hamburg, number two in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony as well as in Hesse. In Germany, only one beer can show the brand in the barrier (approval rating: 12.9 percent). In addition, Beck’s can often be found abroad. The Beck brewery was founded in 1873. Like Franziskaner, she belongs to Anheuser-Busch InBev.
@imago images / Jan Huebner
# 1 Krombacher
Krombacher is by far the most popular beer in Germany. The brand secured first place in the YouGov brand index with 16.8 percent. It makes it to the top in four federal states: Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein. The Krombacher Brauerei Bernhard Schadeberg GmbH is named after its former boss, who took over the management of the family business in 1922. The current managing director is also Bernhard Schadeberg. It all started with a small brewery, which was first mentioned in a document in 1803. Today, Krombacher claims to be the largest private brewery in Germany with over six million hectoliters per year. The company holds the trademark rights to Schweppes and Orangina in Germany and Austria. Krombach is a district of Kreuztal in North Rhine-Westphalia.