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German beer blues

Apr 7, 2003 - The introduction of a 25-cent deposit on throwaway cans has dealt the struggling German brewing industry another blow. Beer sales have fallen 10% since the deposit was introduced in January.

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"I would never have thought that the average German beer drinker would be put off by an extra 25 cents a can, but they have been," said Udo Franke, a director of the country's biggest beer producer, Holsten Brauerei. "If we continue to have months like January and February, then the outlook for the future is very bleak."

"The economic slump, tax hikes and high unemployment have hit pubs and bars really hard," said Marc Scherr, spokesman for the German Hotels and Restaurants Association. The food and beverage has borne the brunt of the country's business bankruptcies with insolvencies in the sector rising by 21% compared with the national average of 4%.

In fact, the industry continues to be a victim of changing tastes as German drinkers switch their allegiance from beer to wine. While the country is still the world's third-biggest beer consumer downing 26.6 gallons per head each year, consumption has fallen 15% in a decade.


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