The impact of COVID-19 had a strong negative impact on beer in 2020, especially after restrictions were applied to on-trade outlets. The total closure of foodservice from 15 March to 1 June, with ongoing restrictions regarding outside terraces only and limited numbers of customers, seriously affected beer sales across the whole year.
Lager continued to be the most consumer beer in 2020, thanks to its traditional popularity within Romania. Domestic brands fare well and international players are present in the country through local subsidiaries.
International players continued to dominate beer sales in total volume terms in Romania in 2020, with the aforementioned Ursus Breweries SA (owned by Asahi Group Holdings Ltd globally) maintaining its top place with its leading Timisoreana and Ciucas brands. The player has a wide portfolio, also including the Grolsch, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Azuga brands, which hold smaller shares than its flagship Timisoreana.
Pre-COVID-19 there was a trend for premiumisation and exotic and novelty beer variants. However, the pandemic and associated lower consumer spending power caused a sea change whereby consumers switched back to mid-priced and economy brands in 2020.
The opening of on-trade outlets in 2021 and beyond is expected to re-boost and sustain the dynamic of craft beer, which will both improve sales in off-trade and create higher visibility and consumption in on-trade channels too. International grocery chains such as Mega Image and Kaufland have already organised new displays and installed special refrigerators for craft beer within their stores, and this movement is expected to be followed by other retailers.
Over the forecast period, it is expected that beer will continue to be dominated by international players. As noted, said companies are members of the Brewers of Romania Association, which took important steps in 2020 to support on-trade players in front of the authorities to overcome the negative effects of the pandemic.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Beer industry in Romania with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Beer research and analysis database.
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