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E-Malt.com News article: Europe: Europe remains world’s top beer producer
Brewery news

Despite a less favourable political and economic environment, Europe has defended its leading position as the world’s largest beer producer, according to an Ernst & Young report presented by The Brewers of Europe in Brussels on September 8th.

With a yearly production of 427 million hectolitres (hl), Europe remained ahead of China (393 million hl) and the US (234 million hl), the report stated, which was conducted in all 27 EU countries plus Norway, Switzerland, Croatia and Turkey.

Germany remained Europe’s largest beer producer (103 million hectolitres), followed by the UK (49.5 million hl), Poland (36.9 million hl) and Spain (33.4 million hl). Germany also has by far the most Breweries (1,330), the report pointed out.

“What’s even more interesting is the fact that the number of breweries across Europe has grown almost 25% in the last three years, up from around 3,000 in 2006 to 3,733 today,” The Brewers of Europe Secretary General Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem said at the presentation of the report, further adding, “National governments, the European economy, and European citizens benefit hugely from the production and sale of beer in terms of jobs, revenue and indeed enjoyment.”

Directly and indirectly 2.5 million jobs in Europe can be attributed to the beer producing and selling sector, which brings Europe’s economy in an additional €59 billion in terms of value added and national governments roughly €57 billion in beer tax revenues. “These are very impressive numbers, especially in the light of the current economic crisis,” de Looz-Corswarem said. “Governments would be wise to value those facts when discussing about levelling additional burdens such as tax increases on the shoulders of Europe’s brewers,” he added.

According to the report, since the last similar report was conducted by Ernst & Young in 2006, the general business conditions for Europe’s brewers have overall deteriorated. Agricultural raw materials and the overall associated costs of production are up (nearly 24%) and taxes (up nearly 30% in the Netherlands) have gone up dramatically in some countries, while the general economic downturn has put further strains on the sector. Rodolphe de Looz added, “even since the beginning of 2009, 16 European countries have raised excises taxes on beer.”

“Times are difficult right now but for the brewing business to grow we need the right business framework, the right mindset from the political decision makers who make our laws, innovation within the sector, whilst at the same time, our own continued and sustained acknowledgement that our business model relies on our reputation for conducting our business professionally and responsibly.”

Summing up, The Brewers of Europe Secretary General stated, “This report proves that Europe’s beer sector is a key component of Europe’s economy and one which needs to be given the freedom to remain competitive, to grow jobs, to grow Europe’s economy, to grow exports, to grow the reputation of the sector both in Europe and globally and to grow the number of consumers who drink beer in moderation.”

11 September, 2009

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