Alcohol-free and craft beers push brewery sales to pre-Covid levels
An increasing proportion of beer sold by Dutch brewers is alcohol-free. Craft beers with low alcohol content are also gaining popularity, the branch organization for beer brewers in the Netherlands noted. Brewers sold almost as much beer last year as in 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus pandemic led to severe restrictions in the hospitality industry.
Netherlands residents drank a total of more than 12.2 million hectoliters of beer in 2022, according to Nederlandse Brouwers. That is half a percent less than in 2019, but sales in the catering industry have been above pre-Covid levels for some time now. The share of no alcoholic beer last year was 6.7 percent, compared to 5.7 percent in 2019.
Beer brewers sold over four times as much low-alcohol craft beer, with an alcohol percentage between 0.5 and 3.5 percent, last year as in 2021. That means that about one in ten craft beers sold had a low alcohol content.
Despite the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, chairman Fred Teeven of Nederlandse Brouwers warns against too much optimism. Because of the war in Ukraine, energy and raw materials like grain have become considerably more expensive for brewers.
“I speak to many brewers. Brewers, especially those whose main sales channel is the hospitality industry, have had a hard time during the Covid pandemic. The Covid-19 crisis has subsequently given way to the energy, raw materials, and labor market crises. With significant cost increases as a result,” Teeven explained. The former secretary of state also complained about a new system for calculating excise duties that is on the way and, according to him, will lead to higher levies and beer prices.
Reporting by ANP