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Germany’s domestic beer sales continue to plummet

German beer sales are facing a downturn with consumer demand for local brews taking a noticeable nose-dive.

Beer sales in Germany dropped 4.5% in 2023 as part of a long-term downward trend, according to official figures revealed via AP Newswire.

Figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed that German-based breweries and distributors sold about 8.4 billion litres (2.2 billion gallons) of beer last year and yet hastened to add the figure doesn’t include non-alcoholic beer and beer imported from outside the European Union.

According to reports, back in 2022, beer sales increased 2.7% owing largely to a recovery in demand both at home and in the EU following the end of pandemic-related restrictions. However, it pointed out that demand in both markets was lower again in 2023.

The report outlined that sales inside Germany, which account for more than four-fifths of the total, slid 4.2% to 6.9 billion litres (1.8 billion gallons).

Additionally, exports were down 5.9% overall and there was a 2.6% drop in sales to other countries in the 27-nation EU, which reportedly bought 784 million litres (207 million gallons) of German beer.

During the same time, sales to other countries were down 9.6% at 646.7 million litres (170.8 million gallons).

As previously reported, many German brewers have reportedly been struggling with a long-term downward trend that has been fuelled by health concerns along with a raft of other challenges that the brewing sector has faced.

One such challenge has been the rising cost of raw materials, with warnings that European hops are becoming increasingly difficult to grow due to climate change affecting yields and alpha acid content. In fact, Europe will experience a drop of 4-18% in traditional aroma hops yields by 2050, plus a 20-31% fall in alpha acids. All of this is also having a knock on effect upon price.

To illustrate the size of the issue and how the German beer market has shrunk organically over time, the statistics office revealed that 2023’s sales were 11.3% lower than in 2013 and 25.3% lower than in 1993.

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