Germany: Number of breweries to exceed 1,500 in the first quarter of 2018

Last year 82 new breweries opened up in Germany making a total of 1,492 breweries across the nation - more than at any point since the country reunited in 1990, reported the German Brewers’Association, the umbrella organization of the brewing industry, citing new data from the German Federal Statistical Office. This is the same number of German breweries that were set up within an eight-year time span prior to 2017.

Due to the positive development of recent years, the industry association expects the number of beer-brewing companies in Germany to exceed the 1,500 mark in the first quarter of 2018.

The strongest growth last year was recorded by Bavaria with 18 new breweries, followed by Hesse, Lower Saxony and Bremen, each with ten additional companies. According to the statistics, 26 new breweries have been opened since 2012 in the capital region Berlin-Brandenburg, which shows the dynamics of this attractive market. From the perspective of the leading association of the German brewing industry, the brewery boom is likely to continue, especially in the German metropolitan areas.

"The beer market in Germany is becoming increasingly diverse despite ongoing consolidation. Newly established and traditional breweries are always bringing new, interesting beers to the market. Consumers can look forward to a constantly growing variety of beer that is unrivaled worldwide, "says Holger Eichele, Managing director of the German Brewers’ Association in Berlin.

In Germany, about 94 million hectoliters of beer were sold in 2017. If one adds the production of non-alcoholic beers, the total sales volume is 101 million hectoliters. As a result, Germany still holds the leading position as Europe's largest beer producing nation and continues to be well ahead of Russia, Great Britain, Poland and Spain. Worldwide, China remains the largest beer producer ahead of the US and Brazil. Germany is in 5th place of the world's largest beer producing nations.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, German domestic beer sales in 2017 (without non-alcoholic beers) fell by 2.5%. Domestic beer sales were down 2,366,880 hl or 2.3% and export to third countries collapsed by 4.1%. After three very successful years, in which export sales remained stable at a very high level, especially the export of beer to China came down again, as market researchers already predicted.

Especially December 2017 showed disastrous results for German breweries. According to the Federal Statistical Office, beer sales were down by 9.5% (- 634,000 hl). Exports "only" decreased by 3.1%, totaling the minus for German brewers and beer importers to 8.7%. Beer mixes lost 1.2% over the year, 7.5% in December.

However, this year started very favorable. In January total German beer sales increased again by a whopping 10.5%, with domestic sales even higher by 12.5%. Exports showed only a moderate increase by 1.3%. While sales to EU countries weakened slightly (-1.2%) exports to third countries (mainly to USA, China and Italy) went up by 4.4 %.

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