Belgium: Beer consumption declines and registers its lowest level ever – Newsletter No. 24b (2013-06-18)

Beer consumption per capita in Belgium registered the lowest level ever. Last year, it dropped to 74 liters, according to official figures in the annual report of Brasseurs Belges on June, 11.

After passing below the threshold of 80 liters in 2010 (78 liters), beer consumption was maintained in 2011 and this was, in some way, a reassuring status quo. But 2012 marks a further decline.

Through exports, production continues to rise, however, to reach 18.75 mln hectoliters (+1%). More than 60% of beer production is exported. Neighboring countries (France, Netherlands and Germany) absorb the most of it.

Exports to Germany, where people are known to drink mostly their domestic beers, registered an increase (+17.9%). With 2.03 mln hectoliters, Germany is now close to the Netherlands.

Japan is a destination that is popular for Belgian brewers. In one year, the production exported to this country increased by 116% to exceed 200,000 hectoliters.

Exports to the United States remained stable at 1.3 mln hectoliters.

In 12 years, exports of Belgian beers outside the European Union increased by 613.3% in comparison to 77.8% in Europe. The export for the first time exceeded domestic consumption in 2006.

The import has also increased.

Even if Belgium offers thousand of different beers, imports also raised last year (+6.3%) to 1.16 mln hectoliters, a total that has not been this high since 2007. Germany and France represent about 50% of the imported production. Czech beers gain as well in popularity.

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