Matterhorn in Switzerland (Photo: Chris Holgersson on Unsplash)
07 May 2020

Boom in Swiss brewery openings continues

Switzerland | The number of brewery openings rose 11 percent in 2019, to reach 1,132 breweries, after only 32 breweries in 1990 and 81 in 2000. However, most of them – 811 – are really nano-breweries with an annual output of under 20 hl beer.

A total of six breweries, Carlsberg and Heineken among them, sell more than 100,000 hl beer, according to data by the Swiss Customs Office.

More than 800 breweries produce less than 20 hl per year each (Chart: Swiss Customs Office)

To be registered as a brewery in Switzerland you merely need to sell in excess of 4 hl beer each year.

Switzerland takes pride in being the world’s leader in terms of breweries per capita. Alas, the boom in breweries has done little to boost beer consumption. In fact, in the country of 8.6 million people, it has hovered around 4.6 million hl (domestic production plus imports) for the past decade, with per capita beer consumption remaining stuck below 60 litres. This implies that competition is fierce and growth for some comes at the expense of many others.

As the on-premise represents nearly 40 percent of beer sales, brewers and publicans are relived that pubs and restaurants may reopen on 11 May 2020 on condition that all patrons sit down (no standing at the bar) and the distance between tables is 2 metres.

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