The Brewers of Europe, a non-profit body representing more than 12,000 breweries, has said that Europe must continue to support the beer sector as the continent battles another wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
The call comes as the body released its 2021 European Beer Trends Statistics Report, which revealed data on the overall decline in beer sales in the first year of the pandemic.
The statistics showed that combined beer sales in 31 European markets fell in 2020 from 385.5 to 354.5 million hectolitres.
It is equivalent to a drop of over 3 billion litres, representing more than an 8% collapse in beer sales.
The brewing sector is still affected by low consumer confidence across certain groups and local restrictions across Europe due to the pandemic.
The Brewers of Europe believes that the right targeted framework support can help brewers bounce back and lead Europe’s recovery through job creation, increased value, and government tax generation.
'Solid Ground To Recover'
The Brewers of Europe Secretary General Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, said, “As we look to the future, we need to ensure that brewers have solid ground to recover. The beer industry is part of a complex chain involving many businesses. Concrete, long-term support will help them recover or maintain their operations.
“Governments need to step in with measures to cope with the negative economic impact of the pandemic. With targeted support, beer hospitality can lift the economy, bring in much-needed government revenues and boost jobs all along the brewing, production, and hospitality value chain. Bars and pubs can once again become pillars of the local community - and with it, the economy.”
2021 European Beer Trends Statistics Report
The 2021 report covers the 27 European Union member states, along with Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
The report highlights how the production and consumption of beer came to a halt as the pandemic hit, with the hospitality sector taking the brunt of the damage.
In 2020, there was an average 40% drop in beer hospitality sales – a loss marginally recouped by retail sales.
The report also noted that the ‘entrepreneurial boom’ witnessed in the sector also came to a halt in 2020.
Between 2014 and 2019, over 1,000 new breweries opened annually across Europe.
At the end of 2020, there were some 12,473 active breweries across Europe, with just 225 new breweries opening during the previous 12 months.