Prague, Czech Republic – Last year, beer production in the Czech Republic reached a record level of 21.6 million hectolitres, a historic high mainly driven by a sharp rise in exports.
Record year for beer exports
The Czech Republic exported a record 5.16 hectolitres of beer in 2018, according to the Czech Beer and Malt Association, which publishes every year figures about local breweries’ production and domestic consumption.
This is the first time Czech brewers break the 5 million hectolitres threshold in beer exports, and a 12% increase compared to the previous year. It’s also the first year the volume of beer in tanks and legs (2.6 million hectolitres) surpasses the amount of bottled and canned beer sold abroad (2.5 million hectolitres).
Interest for Czech beer abroad has been skyrocketing in recent years, growing by nearly 50% in the past decade, according to the Czech Beer and Malt Association. Accounting for 80% of total Czech beer exports, the EU remains by far the main market for local Czech breweries (including neighbouring Slovakia, Germany and Poland). Exports to other EU countries, like Sweden, have also been increasing rapidly.
Interest is growing as well outside of the EU, including in Russia which increased by more than 50% its imports of Czech beer in 2018.
Domestic beer consumption stagnating in the Czech Republic
Czechs are widely known for being the biggest beer drinkers per capita in the world, surpassing by tens of litres per year per person other nations. And although recent studies have shown a slow decline or stagnation of domestic beer consumption, Czechs are still world number 1, by a large margin.
According to the Czech Beer and Malt Association, breweries sold 16.5 million hectolitres of beer in the Czech Republic, a 3% annual increase. This amount to approximately 141 litres of beer per capita, roughly the same level as in previous years.