Germany: Beer prices rose well above inflation rate

Germany is one the countries with the lowest beer prices. But this could change, according to the latest figures of the Federal Statistical Office. As the federal authority reported on Thursday right ahead of German Beer Day on April 23, the prices of beer and drinks containing beer rose by 3.5 percent across the board in 2018, well above the official consumer inflation rate of 1.9 percent.

Popular beer styles like Pilsners, lagers and bottom-fermented dark beers soared most with a price increase of 3.8 percent. Beer based drinks like shandies and alcohol-free beer still rose by 3.6 percent and 2.7 percent respectively, while wheat and top-fermented dark beers (“Altbier”) increased by only 1.8 percent.

Despite higher prices, breweries in Germany brewed around 87 million hectoliters of beer in 2018 (non-alcoholic beer and beer based drinks not included), 1.84 million hectoliters (2.2 percent) more than in the previous year. Reasons for this were the hot and long summer as well as the soccer World Cup last year according to the Federal Statistical Office.

The number of breweries rose by 39 year-on-year to 1 539. Bavaria was on top of the list in a direct state comparison with 654 breweries (42%) and a production of about 24 million hectoliters. With 206 breweries, Baden-Württemberg ranked second in terms of the number of breweries, but not in terms of the quantity of beer produced: North Rhine-Westphalia took second place with around 20 million hectoliters from 155 breweries, while Baden-Württemberg produced around 6 million hectoliters of beer.

Beer exports remained almost unchanged compared to the previous year. In 2018, 16 million hectoliters of beer worth EUR 1.2 billion were exported from Germany. This was a volume increase of 0.1 % compared to 2017. By far the largest export market was again Italy with a share of 21.8 % or 3.44 million hectoliters. China (11.3%) and the Netherlands (7.0%) followed in second and third place respectively. 7.18 million hectoliters of beer worth EUR 441.3 million were imported into Germany. The largest supplier was Denmark with 2.46 million hectoliters worth EUR 177.5 million.

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