Today Friday 2 August is International Beer Day. This is a celebration founded in Santa Cruz (California) in 2007 which in the last decade grew from a small localized event in the western part of the United States to a worldwide celebration.
International Beer Day is celebrated on the first Friday of August. Among its declared purposes, the first is to make friends gather and enjoy a beer together. Participants are encouraged to give one another the 'gift of beer' by buying each other drinks.
On the occasion of this celebration, the Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat, has made public the data related to the production, export and import of beer in the EU.
Those figures show that in 2018, over 39 billion liters of beer containing alcohol were produced in the European Union (EU). The EU’s beer production was equivalent to around 76 liters per inhabitant. In addition, in 2018 the EU produced over 1 billion liters of beer which contained less than 0.5% alcohol or had no alcohol content at all.
Germany, UK and Poland, the top producers
Two-thirds of the beer containing alcohol produced in the EU came from six Member States. Germany was the top producer in 2018 with a production of 8.3 billion liters (or 21% of the EU total production). In other words, about one in every five beers containing alcohol produced in the EU originated from Germany.
Germany was followed by the United Kingdom (4.5 billion liters produced, or 12%), Poland (4 billion liters, or 10%), Spain (3.6 billion liters, or 9%), the Netherlands (2.4 billion liters, or 6%) and Belgium (2.4 billion liters, or 6%).
Compared with 2017, Italy recorded the largest increase in the production of beer containing alcohol (21%), followed by Hungary (11%) and Czechia (6%). In contrast, the production of beer in the United Kingdom fell by 20%, in both Austria and Slovakia by 10%, and in the Netherlands by 9%.
Image source: Eurostat.
The Netherlands, top exporter
The Netherlands exported 1.9 billion liters of beer containing alcohol in 2018. This made it the largest beer exporter of all EU Member States, ahead of Belgium and Germany (both 1.6 billion liters), followed by France (0.6 billion liters) and the United Kingdom (0.5 billion liters).
The United States was by far the main destination for beer exports to non-EU countries (1 billion liters of beer containing alcohol exported there in 2018, or 29% of total extra-EU exports of beer).
The United States was followed by China (453 million liters, 13%), Russia (234 million liters, 7%), Canada (217 million liters, 6%), Korea (198 million liters, 6%), Switzerland (101 million liters, 3%), Australia (99 million liters, 3%) and Taiwan (91 million liters, 3%).
Image source: Eurostat
Mexican beer dominates imports
The internal market for beers containing alcohol that are not produced in the EU is marginal.
However, when importing from non-EU countries, Member States favoured Mexican beer (250 million liters, or 52% of all extra-EU imports of beer in 2018), ahead of Serbian beer (57 million litres, 12%), US beer (43 million liters, 9%), Belarusian beer (23 million liters, 5%), Ukrainian beer (19 million liters, 4%), Chinese beer (17 million liters, 4%), Russian beer (14 million liters, 3%) and Thai beer (10 million liters, 2%).