Over one in five beer producers in Europe now export their beer beyond national boundaries, with one-third of exported beer being shipped outside the EU market according to figures for 2017 from The Brewers of Europe.
The 2018 edition of The Brewers of Europe Beer statistics reviews beer production, consumption and exports across the EU 28 (plus Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). The organisation also had its first-ever Brewers of Europe Form in Brussels last year which ran for two days and witnessed 800 participants from 40 different countries.
This year’s event in Antwerp takes place on 3rd & 4th June.
Number of active breweries
The EU now has an estimated 9,500 breweries with Ireland having 102 active breweries in 2017 (up from 93 in 2016) or 100 microbreweries (up from 91).
These employed 1,100 (down from the 2016 figure of 1,400).
The report finds that while Britain houses more breweries than any country in the EU region, brewing 10% of all of Europe’s beer, the UK also buys in the most beer from overseas, the vast majority of which comes from Europe.
British pubs, bars, restaurants and retailers bought more than 10 million hectolitres of foreign beer last year, around 87% of which was sourced from within the European Union as Europe’s beer production rose to an eight-year high last year according to the data.
(The European report was published as beer sales rose by 4.4% in the UK last year, according to the British Beer and Pub Association’s annual Beer Barometer report which also found that on-trade beer sales in the UK witnessed the first rise in sales in over 15 years while beer sales in the off-trade rose by more than 7%.)
2017 beer production
Germany, unsurprisingly, remains the biggest beer producer overall, churning out more than 93 million hl in 2017, with the UK following in second place, tied with Poland in brewing over 40 million hl in 2017.
Ireland came in in 12th place in Europe, producing over 8 million hl (up from the previous year’s 7.7 million figure) but behind Austria on 9.3 million hl and ahead of Portugal on just under 7 million hl.
Beer consumption 2017
Ireland consumed just under 4.5 million hl of beer in 2017, putting it in 17th place behind Switzerland on 4.6 million hl but ahead of Sweden on 4.4 million hl. But in 2016 Ireland consumed just under 4.6 million hl.
Interestingly, No-alcohol/Low-alcohol beers account for 6% of the overall European beer market.
Per capita beer consumption per capita 2017
Ireland lies in eighth place for per capita consumption at 79 litres, (down from 81 litres in 2016) equal with Croatia and Latvia.
Total imports 2017
In 2014 our beer import figure was over 1.3 million hl and it was around 1.2 million hl in 2015 and 2016.
But in 2017 Ireland imported over 1.5 million hl of beer placing us in eighth place behind Slovakia which imported over 1.6 million hl but ahead of Switzerland which imported just under 1.2 million hl.
Total exports 2017
Ireland claimed to be the EU’s seventh-largest beer exporter in 2017 with over 3.5 million hl being exported, up from the previous year’s figure of 3.1 million hl.
Ireland’s beer export figure was ahead of Poland’s (nearly 3.4 million hl) but behind Czech Republic’s on nearly 4.6 million hl.
Belgium topped the beer exporting charts on 15.8 million hl.