Wroclaw, Poland – With a consumption of 98 litres per year per capita, Poles are the second biggest beer drinkers in the world, topped only by their Czech neighbours. A new study further revealed that Poland is also the third biggest beer producer in Europe.
Poland is third largest beer producer in the EU
In 2018, more than 39 billion litres of beer were produced in the EU, the equivalent of roughly 76 litres of beer for every EU citizen, according to Eurostat. To be completely thorough, we should also add that EU member states last year produced over 1 billion litres of beer that either contained no alcohol at all or less than 0.5% alcohol.
The clear and uncontested winner, Germany is responsible for more than one in five beers (21%, or 8.3 billion litres) produced every year in the EU.
The U.K. comes second with a market share of around 12% (4.5 billion litres of beer) with Poland completing the podium. With an annual production of over 4 billion litres, exactly 10% of all alcoholic beers produced in the EU last year originated from Poland (which is, after all, well known for its odd and… creative types of beer).
Other top producers include Spain (9% of the EU’s total production), the Netherlands and Belgium (6% each).
Czech Republic also in top 10 biggest beer producer in Europe
Although boasting the largest beer consumption per capita in the world, the Czech Republic failed to make the top 5 EU producers: at nearly 2 billion litres produced per year, Czechia is tied with France, both countries accounting for roughly 5% of the EU’s total production. According to the latest estimates, beer consumption has started to stagnate and even drop in the Czech Republic after years of increase.
Romania (1.8 billion) and Italy (1.6 billion) are the only other European countries that produced more than 1 billion litres of beer last year.
Meanwhile, Hungary (673 million litres) and Slovakia (176 million litres) only account for a tiny fraction of total beer production in the European Union.
Poland and Czech Republic among main producers of non-alcoholic beer
After Italy’s sky-high increase of 21% year-on-year, Hungary (+11% from 2017 and 2018) and the Czech Republic (+6%) reported the largest hikes in annual beer production last year. On the contrary, Slovakia had the second biggest drop in beer production, falling by 10% (tied by Austria), only behind the U.K. (-20%).
The situation is not that different when it comes to non or barely-alcoholic beers, with Germany taking the top spot (31.5% of the EU’s total production), followed by Spain (19%), the Netherlands (11%), Poland (9%) and the Czech Republic (7.5%).
EU’s beer exports and imports
When it came to conquering foreign markets, the Netherlands was crowned as the EU’s top exporter of beer containing alcohol (1.9 billion litres), followed by Belgium and Germany (1.6 billion each).
The main exports market of EU-made beer outside of the bloc were the United States (which received 1 billion litres of beer in 2018, or 29% of total non-EU exports of beer), as well as China (over 450 million) and Russia (234 million).
With all that beer produced in-house, you could rightly assume that there wasn’t really any need to import beer from outside the EU: and while imports remained marginal, the most popular and sought-after beers from outside the EU came from Mexico (52% of the total), Serbia (12%), the U.S. (9%) and, to a lesser extent, Belarus, Ukraine, China, Russia and Thailand.
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