Germany: June gives brewers a breather

German brewers got this year a boost by a hot spring and an early summer. However the statistical data for June show sobering figures.

According to the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office beer sales of German breweries ended in June with a disappointing minus of 1.8%, thereof -2.3% in the domestic market and a breathtaking -8.2% within the EU. Only the very strong  export growth to third countries (+ 15.3%) helped to turn positive the overall export figure with a slight plus of 0.5% in total exports.

The disappointing June figures can not be attributed to a statistical bias since this year’s June had the same amount of working days than the year before, in some German states even one day more.

Already last year’s June had caused headaches to German brewers but not because of the then slight decline of -1.0% overall, but because of a loss of almost 20% on exports to third countries. The current plus in this segment thus roughly compensates for the losses in the previous year.

Still, the figures for the whole year comfort German brewers. Overall beer sales went up from January to June by around 300,000 hl to 47.1 million hl, which is an increase of 0.6%. Domestic sales also went up by only 0.5% to 38.5 million hl while exports rose by 0.8%. Exports to countries outside oft he European Union (EU) picked up 6.6%, which was compensated by  3.5% less sales to other countries within the EU.

Beer-based mixed drinks increased by 6.3% in the first half of the year, but also lost in June -2.2%. Alcohol-free beers are as always not included in these figures.

Looking forward, July is expected to exceed all expectations. So far, no official statistical data is available but most German breweries claim that they can not fulfill all requests for their beers. Astrid Peiker, managing director of Glückauf-Brauerei in Gersdorf, says: “Current beer sales are great“. The local brewery in Saxony, which has yearly beer sales of about 50,000 hl, enjoys like most other breweries in Germany the boost in sales, which help to reverse - at least for the time being - the longterm negative trend of the industry.

However, like most of her colleagues she is also worried about shortages in bottles and raw materials (, 22.7.2018). „We are running out of empties,“ she says but does not really sound too concerned about it.

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