Germany: The most successful German beer brands in 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was one of the worst years for the brewing industry in Germany. The15 beer brands with sales above 1 million hectoliters lost last year a combined volume of nearly 1.5 million hl, which is 4.2 % less than the year before, according to data collected by inside-getraenke. The magazine published on Thursday its yearly list of the most successful beer brands in Germany with sales of more than 1 million hl. This year’s  list includes 15 brands like the year before. While one brand has disappeared another one is new at the list.

Hardest hit were the brands which already lost in the years before. However this year, due to the pandemic, also those brands were among the losers that are sold in great parts in bars, pubs and restaurants. The brands with the highest draft beer volume which therefore also suffered most were in decending order  Bitburger, Paulaner, Krombacher , Veltins and Warsteiner.

Draft beer sales were down last year somewhere in-between 50 to 60% depending on the brand. Some of the brands could partially compensate the loss by increased retail sales. Finally, the majority of brands recorded a one-digit percentage volume loss in 2020 that includes both on- and off trade sales.

Only three brands were more affected and recorded a double-digit volume loss.

Not surprisingly, Warsteiner was the brand which performed worst (-16.2%) because it has a higher than average pecentage of draft beer sales but also becuase of its longstanding decline which started at its peak in 1994 with more than 6 million hl and ended last year for the first time in almost 40 years with overall sales of less than 2 million hectoliters.

Paulaner not only had to cope with the cancellation of public and beer festivals such as the Oktoberfest, but also suffered a lot from the temporary closure of pubs and restaurants to contain the coronavirus. At year’s end the brand lost 13.2% of its volume sales.

Another big loser is König. The brand, which is part of the Bitburger Group, sold last year less than one million hl (-14,5%) for the first time since 1967 and was therefore no longer included in the list.

On the other side, brands which already performed well in the last years and those which sell a majority of their volume to supermarkets and other retail outlets were the winners in 2020.

The surprise winner was Mönchshof, a beer brand from Kulmbach that belongs to the Paulaner Group and is sold in swing top bottles. The brand could gain 190.000 hl over the previous year (+19,8%) and sold for the first time in its history more than 1 million hl.

Ur-Krostitzer, a brand of the Radeberger Group, was able to continue its triumphal march in 2020 despite the pandemic and sold 135,000 hl more (+ 11.3%) than in the previous year. The same is true for Jever, another brand of the Radeberger Group, which could gain 42.000 hl (+3,5%) in 2020.

The only remaining brand with a positive trend last year was again Augustiner, which could overcompensate a heavy loss in draft beer (-59%) by selling even more bottled beer. The brand from Munich ended last year with an overall sales plus of 43.000 hl (+2.6%) compared to 2019.

The whole Inside Brand Chart 2020 is available here for subscribers of inside-getraenke.

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