Germany: Krombacher defeats the 6 million hl curse

Krombacher Group, producer of Germany’s leading beer brand Krombacher just completed another record year. After 2018, when the beer brand climbed above the magical 6 million hectoliter mark for the first time, the brewery from the village of the same name, located about 80 kilometers west of Cologne, Germany, could sell 6.011 million hl of beer in 2019. The slight decrease of 0.2% compared to the year before looks even better taking into account that 2018 was a year with a long and hot summer and a major soccer event.

Krombacher is the third beer brand in Germany to surpass with its main beer brand in the domestic beer market the threshold of 6 million hl. Warsteiner achieved this result in 1994 and Oettinger ten years later in 2004. However, both breweries could not hold this position for a long time and especially Warsteiner is since then on an ongoing retreat.

Sales of the whole Krombacher Group increased in 2019 by +1.4 % to EUR 862.1 million. One of the main drivers of this growth is the non-alcoholic product segment, which was gradually strengthened in the last years.

Krombacher sales are also growing noticeably abroad, predominantly in core market like Italy, Spain, Great Britain, France and Russia. The brand is nowadays available in almost 50 countries. In order to give the global business new strategic growth impulses, Krombacher will launch an independent global brand campaign for the first time in 2020.

"The outstanding year 2018 with the extraordinary summer was actually unbeatable. Nevertheless, with the continued strong performance of pils, the alcohol-free varieties [of Krombacher beer] and Schweppes, we managed to achieve a new record year in 2019 as well,”says Uwe Riehs, Marketing Director of the Krombacher Group as quoted in a media statement today.

In addition to Krombacher Pils, the brands Krombacher Pils Non-Alcoholic, Krombacher Radler, a 50/50 beer soda mix, and Krombacher’s Fassbrause, a non-alcoholic malt drink, are are leaders in their respective market segments in Germany.

Also Krombacher 0.0%, another product line without alcohol has firmly established itself on the market. After last year’s launch of Krombacher Grapefruit 0.0%, a non-alcoholic wheatbeer mix, the Krombacher beer mix family will grow further in 2020.

Next to Krombacher Radler Naturtrüb, the unfiltered version of Krombacher Radler, the company will launch this spring Krombacher Limobier, a mixed beer drink with 1.5% alcohol made from 70% naturally cloudy lemonade and 30% Krombacher Pils. At the beginning Krombacher Limobier will be available only flavored with lemon. Other flavors will follow later in the year.

Last but not least, there is Vitamalz, another sweetened malt beverage without alcohol. Krombacher acquired the worldwide brand and distribution rights of this traditional and well-established German brand, which is popular especially with children and young families, in 2016 (, 28.9.2016). The brand saw significant growth in 2019 which was due to an earlier brand relaunch and a new TV campaign in 2019 under the motto "Drink what you enjoy". Under the former owners the brand had been almost 20 years absent of TV. Later in 2020, Vitamalz will present its first line extender. Vitamalz Sport is an isotonic beverage, which is reduced in calories and contains 0.0% alcohol. Like the main brand Vitamalz, it remains a classic malt beverage without sugar substitutes.

Schweppes Germany once again achieved a significant volume growth of +8.3% and reached sales of 1.283 million hl and EUR 138.8 million (+7.9%) respectively. Krombacher acquired brand and distribution rights of Schweppes and Orangina for Germany and Austria in 2006 and has since then developed the brands to become strong pillars of Krombacher’s sales strategy.

In 2019, alongside the classics SchweppesIndian Tonic Water and SchweppesRussian Wild Berry, it was Zero products that saw significant growth. The successful sugar-free range was further expanded with the new SchweppesAmerican Ginger Ale Zero variety. Schweppes Fruity, the tart and sweet lemonade classic, will also be launching a new variety, Schweppes Mango & Passionfruit in spring 2020.

An absolute premiere will be the launch of Schweppes Virgin Cocktails during the year. With this range, Schweppes presents the first "ready to drink", non-alcoholic cocktail lemonade in Germany. At the start, the varieties Virgin Mojito and Virgin Moscow Mule will be available in 0.75 l non-returnable bottles.

In order to strengthen the position of Krombacher as the No. 1 beer brand in Germany, Kromabacher’s CEO and main shareholder Bernhard Schadeberg, will launch a new advertising campaign, which already started at the beginning of this year on TV and digital channels. Krombacher's extremely popular and brand-typical natural positioning has been further developed with the new campaign and transported into our current digital age. Core motifs of communication, such as the Krombacher Island, continue to be used and reinterpreted. The central statement of the campaign is: "This is our nature. And that is your beer".

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