According to Die Welt, The German Brewers Association has released figures indicating that consumption of beer in the country is at an all-time low. In 2008 per capita consumption sank to 109.5 litres, 2.2 litres less than 2007. The heady days of the 1970's when consumption was high above the 150 litre mark are far away now says the article.
The drop is being blamed on the recession, the elimination of smoking in bars and changes in consumption patterns among younger drinkers. Brewers indicated that market conditions were increasingly difficult during the last quarter of the year. The drop in consumption will put pressure on Germany's 1,300 breweries and likely result in consolidations and some closures.
There is also some rather disturbing facts about what beer Germans drink, presumably at home. They like it cheap. The top selling beer was Oettinger, a bargain brand which is sold very cheaply. This is followed by well known brands Krombacher, Bitburger, Warsteiner and Becks. An on line survey with Die Welt shows that 50% of Germans say they buy on taste, yet the brewers figures show they buy on price. This leads to a prediction that brewers will find it difficult to increase their prices to customers this year.
In my view, homogenisation, branding, falling consumption and sheer lack of imagination is turning Germany into a beer wasteland, with just a few pockets of brightness. I have remarked on it before, but the German beer market is becoming ever more depressing.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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