Germany: Breweries are still lagging behind pre-COVID sales

German breweries are faced with massive cost increases. According to an analysis by the German Brewers' Association (DBB), the costs of gas and electricity, but in particular also brewing malt and packaging materials (, 17.5.2022) have recently increased drastically. Carbon dioxide, the price of which had almost doubled in the meantime, was temporarily no longer available on the market, so that in 2022 individual companies in the beverage industry had to stop production. (, 18.9.2022) Here, however, the situation has eased considerably.

“Inflation is putting a lot of pressure on the economy. We have to expect that the costs will remain at a high level in 2023 and in some cases will continue to rise," says DBB General Manager Holger Eichele. The persistently high cost pressure is the biggest challenge for the brewing industry in the new year, alongside maintaining a secure and affordable energy supply. Above all, sharply rising costs for raw materials and preliminary products as well as personnel and logistics are a burden on companies. This will also affect prices, according to the DBB forecast. Numerous breweries in Germany are facing an extremely difficult financial year and have already announced price increases for 2023.

However, the industry has proven to be extremely resilient in recent years and has generally been able to assert itself successfully in the crises. "Many breweries were able to use the experiences from the Corona crisis, even if the dimensions are much larger today," says Eichele. “We have been working in a permanent crisis mode for almost three years now. Cost increases and unexpected bottlenecks in the supply chain have been with us since the beginning of the pandemic. Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine has further aggravated the problems. Today, however, the brewing industry is much more resilient than it used to be.”

For the months of January to November 2022, the German brewing industry, recorded sales of 81.2 million hectoliters of beer (excluding non-alcoholic varieties), which is  3.2 percent more than in 2021 This is only a positive signal at first glance , because 2021 was badly affected by the pandemic and in the pre-COVID year 2019, beer sales in the same period were 85.2 million hectoliters, 4 million hectoliters or 4.9% more than last year . The beer sales figures for the whole of 2022 will be published by the Federal Statistical Office at the beginning of February.

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