Germans are buying less beer due to health concerns

Average annual consumption at Oktoberfest is 6.9 million litres of beer. Credit: AP

German beer sales were down 4.5% in 2023 compared to the previous year, resuming a long-term trend of the nation famous for Oktoberfest drinking less.

German-based breweries and distributors sold about 8.4 billion litres of beer last year, the Federal Statistical Office said, while Germans, who make up more than 80% of the sales of German beer, bought 4.2% less beer than in 2022.

That figure doesn't include non-alcoholic beer and beer imported from outside the European Union.

German beer sales bucked the trend in 2022 with a 2.7% uptick in sales after demand rose following the end of Covid-19 restrictions, but in 2023 sales were back on the decline.

German brewers have been struggling with a long-term downward trend fuelled by health concerns and other factors.

The statistics office said last year's sales were 11.3% lower than in 2013 and 25.3% lower than in 1993.

Europe has the highest proportion of alcohol drinkers in the world, according to the World Health Organization, with seven of the 10 countries with the highest per-capita levels of alcohol consumptions in the region.

But like many European countries, Germany has seen alcohol consumptions drop and non-alcoholic beverages boom as people become more wary of the health effects of alcohol.

The amount of low- and no-alcohol drinks sold in the EU increased in volume from 0.59 billion litres to 1.38 billion litres between 2013 and 2019, according to 2022 research carried out at Maastricht University in The Netherlands.

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