Beer sales in Germany witnessed a 2.7% year-on-year decline in the first half of 2021, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).
Breweries and beer warehouses based in Germany sold around 4.2 billion litres of beer in this period, excluding alcohol-free beers, malt drinks, and those imported from countries outside the European Union (EU).
Data also showed that 80.4% of the total beer sales were intended for domestic consumption and were taxed.
Domestic sales fell by 4.9% to 3.3 billion litres compared to the first half of 2020.
The remaining 19.6% or 816.6 million litres were sold tax-free as exports and as so-called house drinks, data showed. Of this, around 379.7 million litres (+ 3.5%) were exported to EU countries, 431.5 million litres (+ 11.9%) to non-EU countries and 5.5 million litres (-5.2%) were distributed free of charge as a house drink to brewery employees.
Beer mixes, which include beer mixed with lemonade, cola, fruit juices and other non-alcoholic additives, saw an 8.4% year-on-year growth in sales in the first half. At 238.9 million litres, the category comprised 5.7% of total beer sales.
The closure of restaurants, bars and hotels since the second lockdown in the beginning of November 2020 contributed to a sharp decline in beer sales compared to the same period last year, especially in January (-27.0%) and February (-19.1%).
In the spring of 2021, beer sales recovered after COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed for the catering trade based on regional incidence value.
In March, 12.4% more beer was sold than in the same month of the previous year and 11.2% more in June.
Overall, beer sales in Germany have been witnessing a continuous decline for years, Destatis added.
In a separate report, the German Brewers' Association (Deutsche Brauer-Bund - DBB) said that alcohol-free beer was the fastest-growing category in the German market in the last ten years.