COVID-19 resulted in an increase in overall volume sales in 2020, driven by a boost in volume sales through modern grocery retailers, as foodservice was several disrupted in 2020. However, while volume was up, total current value sales were down as off-trade holds a much lower unit price than on-trade.
The biggest companies in beer in Norway, Carlsberg-owned Ringnes and Hansa Borg Bryggerier saw limited impact on their financial standing from COVID-19, with the boost experienced in the grocery channel generally offsetting the decline in on-trade. Some bigger breweries such as Macks Ølbryggeri registered a considerable sales drop due to decline in on-trade, duty free and exports, with the uplift in off-trade not enough to compensate.
Carlsberg-owned Ringnes maintained its leading position with its solid foothold in domestic premium and domestic mid-priced lager. Ringnes gained share in 2020, particularly due to a strong performance for its largest brand Tuborg, which is best-selling brand in Norway.
Beer is expected to register moderate growth over the forecast period in what is a mature product area. On-trade will outperform off-trade, particularly early in the forecast period, as there will be pent-up demand to dine in foodservice establishments and visit nightclubs, pubs and bars, after enduring restrictions for so long.
While the craft wave reached its peak during the review period, Norwegian consumers have now a taste for far more than the traditional lager variant. Although lager still constitutes the lion’s share of volume sales, new beer types, particularly ale, is expected to continue to grow at a strong pace over the forecast period.
Non-alcoholic and low alcohol beers saw double-digit growth in 2020, being the strongest growth drivers within beer. Non-alcoholic beer saw particularly strong growth in the summer months June-August, fuelled both by the launch of higher quality products, more selection and better availability.
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