The impact of COVID-19 on out-of-home consumption caused beer production in Italy to drop by 8.4% in 2020, to 15.82 million hectolitres (hl), new data has shown.
Consumption fell 11.4% to 18.78 million hl, exports dropped 4.8% to 3.3 million hl, while imports fell by 15%, according to the Annual Report of the Italian Beer Association (AssoBirra).
The main importers of Italian beer were the UK (47.3%), the USA (7.3%) and Australia (7%), the data showed.
Brewers Feel The Strain
Prolonged restrictions and the closures of the HoReCa channel led to the loss of over 20,000 jobs and €1.6 billion in lost turnover in the first half of 2020.
Sales in large-scale distribution were up 4% in volume, but down by 35% in the HoReCa channel.
The negative performance reverses the positive results achieved in 2019, when several historical records were set –in effect, the challenges of the past year have cancelled out the growth achieved over the past four years.
While the larger players in the market, such as Birra Peroni and Nastro Azzuro, managed to limit their losses somewhat, thanks to their deep-rooted and widespread presence in the large-scale distribution channel, the estimated 1,000 small breweries in operation across Italy saw a 70% drop in production and turnover.
Tax Supports For Beer Industry
The Italian beer industry is asking the government for support measures, such as targeted taxation interventions.
Concretely, Assobirra is seeking a tax incentive of €0.10 per litre per beer keg to support the more than 140,000 consumption points in Italy, as well as a three-year reduction in excise duties on beer in the next Budget.
Despite all the negative indicators, beer was the most consumed beverage by Italians, even during the lockdown period.
The beer industry in Italy consists of around 900 companies and over 115,000 employees.