COVID-19 Measures 'Disproportionately Impacted' Beer Sales, Study Finds

By Dayeeta Das
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COVID-19 Measures 'Disproportionately Impacted' Beer Sales, Study Finds

Lobby group The Brewers of Europe has published a report outlining the impact of COVID-19 on the drinks industry during 2020.

The report claims that measures taken by governments in 2020 disproportionately impacted bars and restaurants, cutting 42% of beer hospitality sales volumes in Europe and decimating the contribution made by the beer value chain to the wider economy.

Lockdown Measures

Brewers Of Europe believe the lockdown restrictions imposed across Europe had a widespread impact on the brewing industry, with manufacturers both large and small impacted.

Amongst the fallout from restrictions were 860,000 job losses prompted by closures of bars, restaurants, and other sites, a 25% decline in beer’s overall value-added to the European economy, and a 23% decline in government tax revenues from beer, principally due to €7 billion in lost VAT receipts usually collected through beer hospitality.

The group added that a further €4 billion in government revenues were lost because of the income and social security contributions usually paid by those who lost their jobs.


Brewers of Europe were also quick to combat claims that they had profited overall because of growth in the off-trade, which grew by 8% in 2020.

The group said that beer sold in the on-trade dropped 42% from 126 million hectolitres in 2019 to 73 million hectolitres in 2020, and the difference was not replaced with the growth in off-trade sales, which only accounted for 20 million hectolitres.

Future Outlook

Brewers of Europe also outlined its expectations for the future of the industry, believing that in the short term, the European economy may start to recover in summer 2021, if reduced COVID-19 cases and progress in vaccinations allow for a gradual lifting of restrictions.

However, the situation remains very delicate, it noted, as in many European countries external borders are still closed to tourists, with the group believing that any recovery will be uneven, gradual, and staggered.

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Conor Farrelly. For more Drinks news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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