German beer consumption hits a 20-year low

Following the news that beer consumption in the UK was down by 50 million pints in the first quarter of this year, comes the news that sales in Germany have slumped as well.

The entrance to Oktoberfest

The entrance to Oktoberfest (Image: Antonia Glezakos)

According to figures released by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, in March domestic sales of beer fell by 10.9% year-on-year; exports were also down, falling by 13.3% over the same period.

Over the first quarter of this year German beer sales dropped to 19.9 million hectolitres, the lowest amount for at least 20 years. Volume dropped 4.3% to the lowest level since 1993, when the data were adjusted to exclude alcohol-free beer.

Marc-Oliver Huhnholz, a spokesman for German Brewers Federation, said: “We had a long, snowy winter, so people did not go out that much to have beer in the sun.

“The population is getting older, the drinking culture is changing, alcohol has been banned from the workplace and young people have a much bigger variety of drinks to choose from.”

Beer sales have shrunk for 37 years since peak consumption in Germany of 151 liters per capita in 1976, according to the federation.

The last figures released by the Kirin Institute, which measures beer consumption, showed that Germany was ranked third for per-capita beer consumption in 2011. The country dropped from second in 2010, Austria jumped from third to second and Czech Republic remained as the largest per-capita beer consuming country.

Earlier this week it was reported that beer consumption in the UK had fallen by 50 million pints in the first quarter of 2013.

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