German Beer Woes Continue

Sales down 15% since mid-1990s

German beer sales, which rebounded briefly in 2004, resumed their slide in 2005.

Beer sales fell about 0.5% in 2005 to 10.5 billion liters, the Federal Statistics Office said. The government said consumers have turned to low alcohol alternatives – one of the reasons sales of beer mixed with things such as lemonade and cola jumped 15% to 300 million liters, or some 3% of the total.

Sales climbed marginally in 2004 with the help of exports, ending a five-year skid.

Beer sales have contracted more 15% in the last dozen years.

Germany remains the third highest per capita consumer of beer in world, behind Ireland and the Czech Republic.


  1. einhorn says

    Hi people,

    anybody looking for true news (lots of gossip) about the beverage industry in Germany should check into

    This is THE industry gossip page, but is only in German. It is a bi-monthly and costs around 250 EUROS per year. EVERYONE in the industry reads this and is also a great source of job findings. Once again, all is in German.

    Any Q’s, you can contact me.


  2. Sulfur says

    Indeed, per capita consumption has been going down as well from 125.3 liters per year in 2000 to 115.8 liters in 2004.

    Trends predict a further decline. A worst case scenario recently discussed in a marketing seminar was the assumption of per capita consumption eventually sinking below 100 liters per year combined with a shrinking population.

  3. crassbrauer says


    Dare I mention the immigration issue? Immigrants to Germany come from countries where beer consumption per capita is quite a bit lower. As you mentioned, the Germans’ apparent lack of desire to hear the pit-pat of little beer drinkers’ feet is very likely the primary contributing factor to this unfortunate trend. German brewing traditions survived the calamitous 20th century more or less intact, so maybe there’s still hope…

  4. JPK says

    Isolated in small nrewpubs, and tiny micros the future of German Brews lie in the USA. Whether it is a tiny brewery run by a Bavarian expat in Wisconsin, or a rank ametuer with no more than sweat equity and a found memory of Helles or Marzen, the unforgiving quality which German Lagers/Ales demand will be kept alive 8000 miles to the West.

    It is a very sad reality, but the long traditions of brewing will be kept alive in places like Nashua New Hampshire, Ft Wayne Indiana, and Coucnil Bluffs Iowa. The plunging birth rates, Islamic immigration, and the the total break with tradition ( todays young Germans would rather drink sports drinks and spirits than the beers of thier fathers and grandfathers), have resulted in a German population that will be pilsner, Helles, and Wiessbier free.

    Long live the tiny Craftbrewer and Home brewer.

  5. einhorn says

    I, too, understand what you are saying. We are still talking about 100 mio. HL per year here, and a per capita of 110 liters. As stated above, the trend is towards mixed drinks (beer + soft drinks), and (alsmost) every one of Germany’s 1,200 breweries thinks that they must have they’re version, which eats up the marketing EURO’s. BUT, we are still talking about 3% of the entire beer market! Even if max out is 7-8%, the devote pils/helles/weizen/koelsch/alt drinker will still carry the market.

    But I do like the approach of “saving the tradion”, be it German, Belgish, Czech or English beer. That’s surely why many of your collegues do what they do. Thank God they have chosen that path.