Italy: Beer industry breaks all records

2017 has been a record year for the Italian beer industry: Production of beer increased by 7.5% to an all-time high of 15.6 million hectoliters (2016: 13.4m hl); per-capita consumption stands at 31.8 liters per head and year (2016: 29.8 l), another record for Italy; beer exports also market a new record level with 2.7 million hectoliters (2016: 2.1m hl); only imports decreased to 6.4 million hectoliters (2016: 7.0m hl).

The reasons for the record sales can be seen in an overall positive business sentiment of the Italian industry, the growing awareness of the diversity of beer styles and a decrease in the tax burden.

As it can be also seen from the figures, Italians become more and more proud of their own beers, which is also shown in the growing number of microbreweries, which exceeds now 850, divided into craft brewers (693) and brew pubs (162), accounting for a 3.2% market share and total production of 483,000 hl.

Concerning exports the EU area has drawn over 2 million hectoliters of beer produced in Italy (72% of total export), with Great Britain still firmly on the lead with 1.4 million hectoliters, followed by France and the Netherlands. Amongst extra-European countries, the USA comes first (218.827 hectoliters) preceding Australia and Albania.

Despite the decrease in beer imports, this sector still plays an important role with about every third beer consumed in Italy coming from abroad. Once again most of the beer was imported from Germany, with over 2 million hectoliters (31% of total Italian import), followed by Belgium (23.7% of import), the Netherlands (11.5%) and others.

Malt production has also grown in 2017 by 2.500 tons, reaching its record high of 75.800 tons. Today only half of the necessary raw materials are produced locally.

The figures were published in the newest annual report by AssoBirra, the Association of Beer and Malt Producers in Italy (AssoBirra Associazione dei Birrai e dei Maltatori dal 1907).

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