EU beer statistics

'Unprecedented boom' in microbreweries helps boost European beer volumes and variety

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beer Craft beer European union NABLAB

European beer production reached an eight-year high of nearly 39.7 billion litres in 2017: with the region now boasting 9,500 brewers. Around three-quarters of these are microbreweries and SMEs, helping boost a shift towards greater diversity and choice.

The latest statistics from trade organisation The Brewers of Europe highlights the rise of no and low alcohol varieties - the EU now produces nearly 900 million litres of non-alcoholic beer (0.5% ABV or below), equivalent to 2% of total production, while the combined volumes of both non-alcoholic and low alcohol beer take a 6% share.  

“This, coupled with the rise in the number of microbrewers and SMEs over the past year, shows how consumer demand is evolving and how the sector is diversifying to meet it,” ​says the organisation.

Eight year high

Released this week, The Brewers of Europe’s annual beer statistics highlight record exports, a rise in microbreweries, and the increase in low and no alcohol beers.

“While beer production volumes are still a good way off their level prior to the economic crash nearly one decade ago, this same period has coincided with an unprecedented boom in the numbers of SMEs and new microbreweries springing up all across the continent,” ​said Pavlos Photidas, president, Brewers of Europe.

“In one year alone, the number of breweries active in the EU grew by nearly one thousand. In the last five years the number of microbreweries has doubled, and the EU now counts an estimated 9,500 breweries! While our members from Norway, Switzerland and Turkey are also bringing a further thousand breweries to the party.

“These new brewers have been helping to drive the exports that first led to the stabilisation and then the incremental growth in the European beer sector. They are also pushing all brewers to strive for even greater excellence and to innovate, meaning that beer consumers now have available to them an ever-diverse range of high quality beer brands, styles and flavours.”

Key figures from the 2018 edition of Beer Statistics (The Brewers of Europe)

  • EU beer production at an eight-year high of nearly 39.7 billion litres
  • Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland are the top three producers. Other countries making a high volume of beer were Spain, The Netherlands, France and Belgium.
  • Portugal has recorded the highest increase in the production of beer (up 8%), followed by Italy (+7%), Slovakia and the United Kingdom (both +6%) and Cyprus (+5%).
  • The number of active breweries in the EU rose by nearly 1,000 last year alone to almost 9,500. There has been an increase of around 6,000 breweries in the last 10 years.
  • Of the 9,500 breweries, about three-quarters are microbreweries and SMEs (small and medium enterprises). With 2,430 breweries, the UK has the most breweries: followed by Germany (1,492), France (1,100), Italy (868) and Spain (521).
  • The brewing sector generates 2.3 million jobs in Europe.
  • The brewing sector injects €50bn ($57bn) into the European economy overall - the equivalent of Luxembourg’s GDP.

The full report can be found here.

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