Beer in Eastern Europe

July 2021

On-trade sales of beer collapsed in 2020 as Coronavirus (COVID-19) led to the closure of bars, pubs and restaurants. While off-trade sales continued increasing, picking up some of the lost on-trade sales, the size of the on-trade decline as well as the loss of social occasions due to lockdowns meant that total volume sales were falling in 2020. Beer will immediately return to recording positive annual growth rates from 2021, albeit relatively modest ones.

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Key findings

Sales decline due to the pandemic in 2020

A strong decline in on-trade sales in 2020 meant that, despite the positive growth in the off-trade, total volume sales of beer were falling after two years of positive growth. The forced closure of foodservice outlets as well as a sharp reduction in social occasions due to lockdowns/quarantines meant that sales of beer were down year on year across most of the region.

Dynamic non-alcoholic beer

Although still only a relatively small category in Eastern Europe, non-alcoholic beer was the most dynamic product area in 2020, with this expected to continue to be the case over the forecast period. A rising number of both flavoured and non-flavoured variants have been appearing in recent years, with more likely to follow in the 2020-2025 period.

COVID-19 has a big impact on craft breweries

Smaller players, such as craft breweries, were generally badly hit by COVID-19, as they often rely heavily on sales in the on-trade. In addition, there was downtrading in some countries as well as a trend for consumers to stick with the well-known brands of the large producers. This led some small breweries in Ukraine, for example, to postpone their plans to expand their production capacity, while the worst-hit were forced to close down for good.

Positive forecast period growth expected

Although many consumers in the region will still be faced with constrained purchasing power in the immediate future, off-trade sales will continue to rise over the forecast period, while on-trade sales will return to positive growth rates from 2021. However, the on-trade will not be able to recover all the sales it lost in 2020 before the end of the forecast period, despite seeing dynamic rates in the next couple of years.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Regional Overview

Czech Republic the clear global leader in per capita consumption
Return to positive growth for Eastern Europe over the forecast period
Russia (just) manages to record a positive CAGR in 2015-2020
Non-alcoholic beer most dynamic over 2015-2020
Domestic mid-priced lager loses significant sales in Poland
On-trade sales collapse across the region
Off-trade increases its already dominant share in 2020
Pandemic speeds up modern grocery retailers’ gains in 2020
Off-trade takes share from on-trade during pandemic in 2020

Leading Companies and Brands

Beer remains a concentrated competitive landscape in Eastern Europe
Some downtrading to cheaper products seen in 2020
Russia the main market for half of Eastern Europe’s top 10
Baltika continues to lead regional sales in 2020

Forecast Projections

Off-trade sales will continue growing year on year…
…while on-trade sales should start recovering from 2021
GDP growth to help drive beer sales in the region

Country Snapshots

Belarus: Market Context
Belarus: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Market Context
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Bulgaria: Market Context
Bulgaria: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Croatia: Market Context
Croatia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Czech Republic: Market Context
Czech Republic: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Estonia: Market Context
Estonia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Georgia: Market Context
Georgia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Hungary: Market Context
Hungary: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Latvia: Market Context
Latvia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Lithuania: Market Context
Lithuania: Competitive and Retail Landscape
North Macedonia: Market Context
North Macedonia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Poland: Market Context
Poland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Romania: Market Context
Romania: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Russia: Market Context
Russia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Serbia: Market Context
Serbia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Slovakia: Market Context
Slovakia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Slovenia: Market Context
Slovenia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Ukraine: Market Context
Ukraine: Competitive and Retail Landscape
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