Following the strong growth of off-trade beer sales in 2020, mostly driven by a temporary shift from on-trade to off-trade consumption due to pandemic-related restrictions, the longer-term trend towards declining beer sales through the off-trade channel resumed in 2021, while on-trade sales stabilised. The pandemic continued to create steep challenges for brewers in 2021, as on-trade sales remained impacted by restrictions placed on the full operations of on-trade channels, notably cafés/bars, particularly nightclubs, alongside entertainment venues.
Within domestic premium lager, by far the largest segment in beer, a decline in volume sales was only partly compensated by a shift towards more premium brands, notably Hell/Helles beer (clear/light lager), thereby leading to stable total value sales in 2021. The popularity of Helles beer is driven by its lighter taste, and continued to increase rapidly outside its region of origin, the two southern states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, across most of Germany.
Due to the dominant presence of local and regional brands, the competitive environment in beer remains fragmented, with only the largest player, Radeberger Gruppe, holding total volume share exceeding 10%. The company, with a portfolio that includes a wide range of regional, national and international brands, benefits from focusing firmly on its core East German regions, notably under the Ur-Krostitzer brand.
Despite predictions for stronger demand for beer through on-trade from 2022 onwards, as the impact of COVID-19 wanes, sales though this channel are expected to remain well below pre-pandemic levels. This will be due to the greater prevalence of remote working and studying, which is likely to lead to a decline in the number of business trips alongside lower attendance at trade events and fairs (traditionally major economic activity for Germany’s largest cities).
Despite an expected slowdown compared to growth recorded over the review period as the category reaches greater maturity, total volume sales of non-alcoholic beer are predicted to increase over the forecast period, driven by the growing health awareness of young adults seeking to reduce their alcohol consumption. Non-alcoholic beer is predicted to appeal to a growing audience, due to a wider assortment and promotions from retailers, alongside the launch of new products using recipes aiming to preserve the taste properties of alcoholic beer.
The growth of e-commerce as a distribution channel for beer, accelerated by the pandemic, is expected to continue in Germany over the forecast period, although at a slower pace than in 2020 and 2021, with brewers seeking to boost consumer loyalty by promoting online orders, notably by leveraging social media activities including personalised offers, partnerships with celebrities and limited editions targeting home consumption for at-home entertainment (hometainment). The interest in craft beer among German brewers is increasingly expected to target off-trade channels, including e-commerce, with the latter creating opportunities to offer a broader assortment than can be found in store-based channels.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Beer industry in Germany with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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An alcoholic drink usually brewed from malt, sugar, hops and water and fermented with yeast. Some beers are made by fermenting a cereal, especially barley, and therefore not flavoured by hops. Alcohol content for beer is varied – anything up to and over 14% ABV (alcohol by volume), although 3.5% to 5% is most common. Beer is the aggregation of lager, dark beer, stout and non/low alcohol beer.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Beer research and analysis database.
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