Germany: Beer sales drop by two per cent in 2017

In 2017 the German beer market declined again after three years of more or less stable sales. As reported by the German Brewers’ Association (DBB) on Thursday, beer sales in Germany declined last year by 2 per cent to 94 million hectoliters after having achieved 96 million hectoliters in 2016. An independent analysis by Veltins, one of the leading independent breweries in Germany put the overall decline of sales at an even higher rate of 2.5 percent.

The bad weather during the summer was one of the main negative drivers as repeated rainfalls prevented many people from going outside and sharing a beer with friends in one of the many beer gardens in the country.

Negative domestic sales were accompanied by declining beer exports to overseas destinations, mainly China.

For 2018 the industry organization is cautiously optimistic. Dr. Jörg Lehmann, President of the DBB, said: "The number of breweries in Germany and the variety of beers will continue to grow in the coming years, also thanks to the craft beer movement. By 2018, major sporting events such as the Football World Cup will bring momentum to the industry. In addition, the demand for non-alcoholic beers, which are not part of the official beer statistics, is developing positively."

Niklas Other, publisher of Inside, pointed out that several large brewers had already announced price increases in the coming weeks, which could dampen sales figures at least in the first half of 2018.

According to estimates of the DBB, there are already more than 6,000 beer brands available in Germany. 80% of all beer sold in Germany (except beer in kegs) is filled in returnable glass bottles, PET beer bottles account for 10% and cans for only 5%.

Most popular beer type in Germany is still Pils (50%), followed by Wheat Beer (7%), Export, Hell and Non-alcoholic Beer (all 6%). New beer styles like Kellerbier, IPA, Non Alcoholic Beer Mixes , just to name a few, are becoming more and more popular and will most likely show up in the statistics of the following years.

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