Beer (Photo: Timothy Dykes on Unsplash)
06 August 2020

Covid-19 pandemic sends German beer sales tumbling

Germany | In the first half of 2020, beer sales fell 6.6 percent (or 3 million hl) to around 43 million hl compared with the same period 2019, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported on 30 July 2020.

The figure doesn’t include non-alcoholic beers and malt drinks, as well as beer imported from countries outside the European Union (EU). 82.3 percent of total beer sales were destined for domestic consumption and were taxed. Exports to EU countries were down 18 percent in the first half.

Closed bars and restaurants, cancelled festivals and other major events are to be blamed for the decline, especially in April (-17.3 percent in volume sales) and May (-13.0 percent). Since the restrictions were loosened again in May, beer sales have seen a slow recovery. In June, only 1.9 percent less beer was sold compared with the same month in 2019.

Economy tumbles too

Germany’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 10.1 percent in the second quarter, following declines in household spending, business investment and exports. “This was the sharpest decline since the quarterly GDP calculations for Germany began in 1970,” the statistics office said.

Some 6.7 million people were enrolled in a state-funded furlough scheme in May, up from 6.1 million in April. However, the jobless rate for July held steady at 6.4 percent, unchanged from June, which has been widely interpreted to mean that the initial effects of the pandemic were easing.

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