Germany: These were the largest beer groups in 2018

The 7 largest German brewing groups sold last year altogether nearly 55 million hectoliters of beer which stands for more than half of the total beer production in Germany. While the three podium places were again secured by the same groups as in the preceding years, the race for the places 4 to 7 was fiercer than ever, inside, the German bi-weekly journal for the drinks industry, reported in its newest edition on Friday.

Radeberger Group took last year again the lead with brands like Radeberger, Jever and Ur-Krostitzer. The group sold in total 11.65 million hl of beer, which is 2.1 percent more than the year before. However, Niels Lorenz, Management Spokesmen at Radeberger Group and Member of Group Management Team at Dr. August Oetker KG which owns the Radeberger Group had to admit that favorable weather and the Football Word Cup helped in 2018 to boost the group’s sales. (, 27.1.2019)

Next in line is TCB Beverages, based in Frankfurt/Oder 100 km east of Berlin, the “largest private label producer in Europe” according to their own website. The group sold 8.95 million hl in 2018, which is slightly more (+1.0 percent) than the year before, mainly caused by their branded label business with brands like Feldschlösschen (not to be confused with the brand of the same name from Carlsberg in Switzerland) and Gilde.

Place 3 goes to Oettinger Group. After the settlement of severe disputes amongst the family about the ownership of the privately-owned brewing group (, 6.10.2017) and several management changes (inside, 31.10.2017) the company could regain its stride in the second half of 2018. However, the Bavarian-based company ended the year with 8.48 million hl which was still a considerable minus of 2.1 percent.

The following three ranks were hotly contested with three groups being close together.

Bitburger Braugruppe, the biggest loser on this list finished at rank 4 (6.59 million hl, -3.1%). Its premium priced lead brands Bitburger and König lost disproportionately -4.2 and -4.8 percent respectively. Especially export sales were below expectations.

Next in line was the only international brewer on this list, AB InBev. AB InBev exchanged the head of its German business unit at the end of last year (, 30.11.2018) which can be at least partly attributed to the failed sale of AB InBev’s two breweries Hasseröer and Diebels (, 30.8.2018). Bothprove to be practically unsaleable after unsuccessfully searching a buyer for the last two years. Therefore it comes to no surprise that the Hasseröder brand lost another 143,000 hl (-7.5%) and ended the year with only 1.75 million hl. The good performance of the wheat beer brand Franziskaner (+1.8%) and the comparatively small loss of its flagship brand Becks (-0.6%) could not offset the bad performance of the rest of the group. At year’s end AB InBev had to report a minus of 1.5% and ended at 6.48 million hl. However it should be noted that these figures in contrast to those of the other groups do not include export sales.

Krombacher is not only the name of the biggest and most successful beer brand in Germany (, 21.1.2019) but stands also for the whole family owned group which mainly consists of one brewery in the namesake town in the center of Germany. The group ended the year with 6.31 million hl (+4.2%) of which about 6 million are sold under the Krombacher brand.

Last on the list is Paulaner Group, which consists not only of the brands Paulaner and Hacker Pschorr, which are both produced in Munich where the group is also based, but also brands like Kulmbacher and Fürstenberg. The group achieved the best result on last year’s list (+5.5 percent) and ended at 6.05 million hl. For sure the hot summer weather which always favors wheat beer sales helped also to boost the Paulaner brand, which sold last year more than 2.5 million hl (+7.1 percent). It is not clear if the change in management (inside,beer, 16.8.2018) already helped to bring the group closer to its rivals on the list.

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