Germany: AB InBev’s bizarre sales promotions

Hasseröder (+95,000hl), Ur-Krostitzer (+39,000 hl), Veltins (+38,000 hl), Augustiner (+ 25,000 hl) and Jever (+14,000 hl) were the five most successful beer brands in Germany, gaining in total 211,000 hl in 2019 according to the newest ranking by inside getraenke. The Munich publishing house, which is also editor of this newsletter, has been researching the sales of all beer brands in Germany with more than one million hectoliters for over 30 years.

According to the findings this gain was more than compensated by the five least successful beer brands in Germany Oettinger (-492,000 hl), Erdinger (-140,000 hl), Franziskaner (-67,000 hl), Radeberger (-63,000 hl) and Warsteiner (-35,000 hl), which accounted together for -797,000 hl.

While Oettinger’s loss can be attributed mainly to a radical price increase in 2019 and a restructuring of the company, Erdinger, Franziskaner and to a lesser amount also Paulaner (-20,000 hl) felt the fading popularity of the wheat beer segment.

On the other side, the aforementioned brands with volume gains show that even in a declining beer market like Germany, which has lost about 2.2 million hl in 2019 (, 13.1.2020), well-managed beer brands can not only gain market share but also overall volume sales.

Last year’s winner Hasseröder, however, played the game unfair. Apparently to achieve preset targets by the headquarters in Bremen and Leuven after Hasseröder’s failed sale in March 2019 (, 20.03.2019), AB InBev’s German sales team lowered the price for a crate of beer (10 liters) often to EUR 8 and below and executed bizarre sales promotions. Reportedly wholesalers got huge bonuses to stock extra beer at last year’s end which then could be recorded as sales in 2019. People close to the matter reported that in some cases wholesalers even got rent allowances for renting extra warehouse space and bunkering beer to push up volume sales.  

The detailed list of beer brands and their ranking is only accessible for subscribers of the German news service inside getraenke.

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