While total volume sales of beer in Uruguay continued to contract in 2021, the rate of decline was modest and markedly slower than that recorded in 2020. This improvement reflected a robust return to growth for the category at the on-trade level as local consumers began visiting bars/pubs, restaurants and similar establishments more frequently following the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the relaxation of public health restrictions that had been imposed to curb the spread of the virus.
Chilean multinational Compañía de las Cervecerías Unidas (CCU) – represented in Uruguay by Milotur SA, which it acquired in 2012 – relaunched the Miller Genuine Draft brand in the country in October 2020. Miller was incorporated into CCU’s portfolio following negotiations with Molson Coors Brewing Co, its global brand owner.
Fábricas Nacionales de Cerveza (FNC), a subsidiary of global giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, remained the dominant player in beer in total volume sales terms in 2021 with an extensive portfolio that spans multiple categories and boasts several popular domestic and international brands. The company occupied leading positions in domestic mid-priced lager (Pilsen, Patricia), domestic economy lager (Norteña), domestic premium lager (Zillerta, Patricia Dunkel), weissbier (Patagonia Weisse, Patricia Weisse), non/low alcohol beer (Pilsen Soul, Quilmes 0.
Beer should experience a strong return to growth in total volume sales in 2022 as off-trade consumption normalises and on-trade demand picks up in line with the further easing of the pandemic. The outlook for the rest of the forecast period is positive overall, with growth in the population of legal drinking age, favourable economic conditions and inbound tourism expected to support the consistent expansion of the category in volume terms at the off- and on-trade levels.
The tendency towards premiumisation that has been observed in beer in recent years is expected to gain momentum during the forecast period. Weissbier looks set to be among the main beneficiaries, though the likelihood that this category will be the most dynamic performer in overall volume growth terms is primarily due to the fact that sales are emerging from a very low base, as it will remain a niche area.
Health concerns are increasingly leading Uruguayans to consciously reduce their intake of alcohol. This behaviour is expected to become more common over the forecast period, partly because the health and wellness trend has been reinforced by the pandemic, but also due to population ageing and the fact that the desire to lead healthier lifestyles is especially strong among millennials and Generation Z consumers.
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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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