A New Brewing Age
Since 2010, the number of breweries in the EU has increased by a massive 73%, the majority of these being micro-breweries. While the amount of beer consumed actually decreased during this period, the variety of types and styles of beer available to consumers has increased. Many larger breweries have followed this shift in the market by modifying their output to produce a wider variety of styles.
The EU is now the second largest beer producing region in the world after Asia, with a hugely varied and rich history of beer production. Today it is home not only to the three largest global brewing companies, but also to hundreds of small and medium sized breweries.
This history and spread means the EU, and the breweries within it, are vital in cultivating new sophisticated beer consumption patterns both at home and abroad. Many markets outside Europe view European beer as a luxury item, and an increasing number of European beer brands are seen as premium export goods across the world.
Changing Consumer Habits
Since 2008, European beer consumption decreased by 8,5%. This, coupled with the enormous increase in number of breweries, means that Europeans are drinking less but they are also drinking better.
The continued development of specialty and "craft" beers, a broadening of beer knowledge due to improved transportation and the ability to discover new brands online means we now have far more access to, and interest in, different beer styles than ever before. Beer is rapidly shifting towards becoming a refined taste experience, with higher value in the beer sector despite the lower volumes. It is an exciting time to be a brewer.
Larger brewers and smaller local or specialty breweries are in effect important allies. Local and specialty beers are helping to rejuvenate the industry by creating new choices and experiences. Many larger breweries are now developing their own specialty or craft beers and partnering with smaller breweries.
In turn, the scale and expertise of larger brewers is an important factor in bringing the growing variety of choice to ever more people across the world in a commercially sustainable way.
Two million jobs
But it isn't just beer and the consumers that benefit from the brewers' art. The brewing industry as a whole supports over 2 million jobs in Europe alone. According to the Brewers of Europe one job in brewing indirectly creates 1 job in packaging, 1 job in marketing, 1 job in retail, 1 job in agriculture and 11 jobs in hospitality.
Many of those jobs in the hospitality sector in particular are held by new job market entrants - providing an important stepping stone into the job market for the younger generation.