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Beer Production & Consumption Statistics

Beer is the most common alcoholic beverage consumed throughout the world. Statistics shows an increase in global production of beer in the last decade.

Beer is an alcoholic beverage that is mostly taken on social occasions, weddings, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, office happy hours, thanksgiving events, graduation ceremonies, religious events and many others.

There is also a high population of people who take beer at home after meals.

Excess use of alcohol, however, is harmful for one’s health. It can lead to impaired judgment as well as addiction.

In this article, we will focus on beer production and consumption statistics in five major areas, US, EU, Canada, Asia and Australia.

Beer Statistics US

  • In 1983, there were 49 breweries in the US; in 2017, there were 5,648
  • Number of permitted breweries in the US is an all-time high at 10,115
  • Expansion of beer industry has been slower between 2010 and 2018
  • Distributor numbers dropped from 4,595 in 1980 to 3,000 in 2018 but have recently risen to over 20,000
  • Increase in number of retailers outlets selling beer from 531,705 in 2008 to 643,268 by the end 2018
  • According to Gallup Poll beer is most preferred beverage compared to wines and spirits
  • Beer consumption grew from 41% to 42% between 2010 and 2018 while wine and spirits consumption grew from 32% and 21% to 34% and 28%, respectively
  • Beer sales decreased in 2018 compared to 2017 despite rising number of legal drinkers over the age 21
  • Most of beer consumed in the US is locally produced (82%) while 18% is imported

The beer industry has changed significantly over the last three decades in the United States. There were around 49 breweries in the US in the year 1983 which has significantly risen to about 5648 breweries in the year 2017.

TTB data shows there are now approximately 10,115 permitted breweries in the US, which is an all-time high in the history of beer breweries in the United States. Statistics show there are some states that have more breweries than the entire state had 20 years ago.

However, between 2010 and 2018, the beer brewery expansion industry has been sluggish and slow compared to the past, although new breweries are still finding market opportunities and growth in the beer market.

Like beer brewing, beer distribution has had significant changes over the years as well. According to TTB, there were 4,595 beer distributors in the year 1980. This number dropped to 3,000 beer distributors in the year 2018.

However, the number has risen significantly to more than 20,000 licensed beer distributors registered today. Increase in the number of beer distributors in the US has boosted the economy by providing new job opportunities, taxes and wages.

Increase number in breweries and distributors has led to an increase in the number of retail outlets that sell beer. In the year 2008, there were 531,705 retailers’ outlets in the US. This has risen to 643,268 by the end of 2018, a survey done by Nielsen.

In the US, beer is the most preferred beverage of choice compared to wines and spirits according Gallup Poll. A survey conducted by Gallup shows beer has maintained a market stability in consumer preferences over the past ten years.

According to the survey, in the year 2010, 41% of people consumed beer, 32% and 21% consumed wine and spirits. This has grown in the last eight years with 42%, 34% and 28% consuming beer, wines and spirit consecutively.

Beer sales went down in 2018 compared to 2017 in the US. Most of the beer is locally produced, 82% while 18% is imported. The number of people over the age of 21 and considered legal drinkers has steadily increased over the last decade. Although the sales went low in the year 2018, there was an increase in the number of beer breweries, distributors and retailers.

Beer Statistics in EU

  • Gradual growth in the beer industry in the European Union over the last 4 years
  • 22% of beer being exported out of the EU to other countries
  • 358,000 and 407, 961 hectolitres of beer consumed in 2011 and 2018 respectively
  • The number of microbreweries has doubled in the last 5 years
  • 9,500 active breweries in EU not counting 3 countries (Turkey, Switzerland & Norway)
  • 6% of the EU beer market has lower or non-alcohol content
  • 131,070 people employed directly in the beer industry since 2012
  • Increase in excise duty revenues collected from beer industry with millions of euros

The beer industry has marked a gradual growth in the European Union. There were some years that recorded a decline in the beer production and consumption in the European Union, but over the last four years, there has been a significant growth and stability in the beer industry.

One of the factors that has led to a boost in the beer industry in the EU counties, is the increase number of exports. 22% of the beer produced in the European countries is being exported to other countries across the globe. Europe’s reputation for producing quality beer has led to an all-time in beer production and export in the year 2018, 412,221 compared to 407,961 in 1000 hectolitres.

Beer consumption in the European Union countries fluctuates over the years. In 2011 and 2016, there was a high rise in beer consumption of approximately 358,000 in 1000 hectolitres in each year. The lowest year in beer consumption in the EU was in the year 2013 with around 350,763,000 hectolitres. A decrease was noted in the year 2017 as compared to beer consumption in 2016.

The number of active breweries has also risen in the EU. There has been a boom in the number of microbreweries and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) springing up across the continent. The number of microbreweries has doubled in the last five years, with each year, from 2012 to 2017 recording over a thousand active breweries.

There are now a predictable 9,500 active breweries in the European Union not counting Turkey, Switzerland and Norway. The new breweries companies are creating a diversity in the beer industry, creating a high quality range of beer brands, flavours and styles. One of the trend that is on the rise, representing around 6% of the overall beer market in the EU, is the production of beer with lower or non-alcohol content.

Beer industry contributes to a big percentage in the general economy of the European Union. There are over 131,070 people employed directly in the beer industry. This number has risen over the years from 2012.

The industry also contributes to the economy of the countries through excise duty revenues.  The amount of revenue collected from the beer industry in most of the countries in the EU has risen significantly with millions of euros.

Beer Statistics in Canada

  • The number of brewing facilities in Canada increased from 817 in 2017 to 995 in 2018, highest growth rate ever
  • Most of the breweries are small and local, producing less than 15,000 hectolitres of beer
  • Beer consumption and sales decreased in 2018 compared to 2017, with production also decreasing by 3.4%
  • 62% of beer sold nationally was canned, 28% bottled and 10% kegged
  • Greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 61.2% since 1990; more energy efficient methods used
  • 149,000 Canadians employed; contributes billions to Canada’s GDP and labour income
  • In 2018, 85% of beer consumed was produced locally, with only 15% imported

Unlike the US and EU, Canada’s beer industry has recorded a different trend. The number of brewing facilities increased but beer consumption and sales decreased. By the end of the year 2018, the number of brewing industries increased from 817 in 2017 to a surprising number of 995.

This is a huge growth of 21.8% and it is the highest recorded in the history of beer brewing in Canada. Most of the brewing facilities sprouting up in the year 2018 are small and local, producing less than 15,000 hectolitres of beer.

On the other hand, although beer production is increasing in Canada, beer consumption and selling recorded a decrease in the year 2018 compared to 2017 and the preceding years. In 2018, beer produced locally in Canada decreased to 21.65 million hectolitres which is a 3.4% decrease.

Beer important from other countries also decreased by 3.4% in 2018 compared with beer imports recorded in the year 2017. Generally, beer consumption and sale decreased from what was sold in 2017 by 0.3% which is approximately 22.1 million hectolitres in 2018.

The packaging of the beer has evolved over time from bottled to canned beer. In 2018, 62% of the beer sold nationally was can, 28% was bottled beer and keg sold 10%. In 2018, bottled beer and keg recorded a decrease of 9.3% and 1.9% respectively while can sales increased by 4.6%.

The beer industry in Canada is getting more accustomed with promoting a better environment. For this reason, since 1990, brewing facilities in Canada have recorded a 61.2% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. The facilities have also opted for more environmental friendly ways of energy generation and use.

The beer industry has a significant effect in the economy of Canada. The industry has employed close to 149,000 Canadians. It also contributes billions of money towards Canada’s GDP and labour income.

The effect of beer industry in Canada is strongly felt because most of the beer consumed is produced locally. In 2018, most of the beer consumed in Canada was brewed locally with only 15% of it being imported.

Beer Statistics in Asia

  • Beer consumption is not popular in Asia and governments attempt to keep it low
  • Five countries make up ~85% of Asia’s population; Vietnam has highest beer consumption, Thailand decreased due to political crisis, and Malaysia & Indonesia low due to highest population being Muslim
  • Beer production varies by country (local in some, international in others)
  • Government campaigns against beer, laws to discourage production/sale/consumption
  • Source of tax revenue for the five countries
  • Beer consumption mostly during social gatherings & served by food service industry (including coffee shops)
  • Beer advertising and promotion strong in Asia, leading to increase of consumption

The beer industry in Asia is different compared to the more developed nations. Beer consumption is not a common thing in Asia and there are attempts by most governments to keep beer consumption low.

For Instance, countries such as Indonesia prohibited sale of alcohol in small retail channels in 2015, in the same year, the Thai Government tried to enforce a law that prohibits sell of alcohol around places situated near schools, and countries such as Vietnam, beer consumption is highly disliked encouraging the government to enforce high taxes.

However, beer market in Asia has opportunities for growth. This is because most people in Asia are young and the highest population is middle class.

Five countries cover around 85% population in Asia. Therefore, we will focus on beer statistics in these five countries, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Beer consumption and growth is highest in Vietnam compared to other countries.

On the contrast, Thailand, due to political crisis, records a decrease in beer consumption and growth.  Both Malaysia and Indonesia have a very low beer consumption because the highest population is Muslims. However, the annual growth rate in these two countries continues to increase. Finally, beer consumption and growth in the Philippines is stagnant.

Beer production varies in the five countries. In Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand, most of their beer produced locally, but in Indonesia and Malaysia, the beer market, production and distribution is controlled by international players.

Since beer consumption in Asia is not popular, beer is supplied to the end consumers through a supply chain. Raw materials are distributed to microbreweries or local manufactures. The microbreweries sell directly to retailers, while local manufacturers, distribute to wholesalers who then sell the beer to retailers. Imported beer is sold in Asia depending on the laws and regulations that govern beer importation and distribution in each country.

Alcoholic beverages is highly discouraged in Asia. The governments of the different countries invests a lot in campaigns to discourage beer consumption. In addition, it enforces harsh laws to discourage the production sale and consumption of beer.

On the contrary, the beer industry has been a great source of tax revenue for each of the five countries and it is expected to continue increasing since the year 2016.

Beer consumption in Asia is mostly during social gatherings with friends and family. In Vietnam and Malaysia, beer is mostly served in by a majority of food service industries, including coffee shops. Beer advertising and promotion in Asia is very strong, leading to an increase in beer consumption.

Beer Statistics in Australia

  • The beer industry in Australia continues to grow year by year, with 79.4% of sales controlled by 3 major local brewers.
  • Australian beer consumption has gradually decreased over the last 40 years and most consume alcohol responsibly.
  • 39.2% of the drinking population drink beer, 38.3% drink wine, 18.1% spirits, and 3.4% cider.
  • A high tax duty is imposed on beer by the Australian government, making it the fourth highest taxed in the world; this accounts for almost half the price of a full strength box of beer.
  • Barley is the most common crop grown in Australia which is then exported internationally for beer brewing; it contributes highly to the agriculture sector of Australia.
  • The beer industry is an active economic driver in Australia that supports over 141,195 jobs; it also contributes to economic growth due to taxation and interlinked sectors such as agriculture and tourism.
  • With current campaigns, more people are becoming responsible drinkers and underage drinking is reducing year by year. Beer industries are also committed to protecting the environment in production and brewing.

The beer industry in Australia continues to grow year by year. The number of local small brewers are increasing gradually by year. However, beer production in Australia is mostly controlled by 3 major local brewers, Coopers Brewery, Carlton & United Breweries and Lion Beer Australia that account to about 79.4% of sales.

The rest of the percentage is made by local brewers, 3.4%, home brewers 2.1% and 16.2% of the beer is imported.

Beer consumption in Australia has recorded a decrease over the last 40 years. Most people are opting for responsible beer consumption habits. In the year 2016 and 2017, beer consumption per capita has recorded the lowest at any time in history of beer consumption in Australia.

Australians are now drinking less alcohol compared to the past. Unlike 40 years ago where three quarters of alcohol drinkers consumed beer, today 39.2% of the beer consumer population take beer, 38.3% wine, 18.1% spirits and 3.4% cider. There is also a huge market demand for non-alcoholic beverages produced by the beer industry.

Generally, Australia has the best record of responsible alcohol consumption in the world. Most people are now responsible alcohol drinkers and the population of underage drinkers has significantly gone down.

The Australian government imposes a very high tax duty on beer. Australians pay the fourth highest tax on beer in the world. Tax accounts for almost half the price of a full strength cartoon of beer. In addition, the tax exercise rate for beer is habitually increased in Australia after every half an year.

The beer industry contributes highly to the agriculture sector in Australia. Most of its beer is produced locally from crops such as yeasts, barley and hops. Barley is the most common crop grown in Australia after wheat.

The country is known worldwide for producing high quality malting barley and hop that is exported internationally for beer brewing.

The beer industry is an active economic driver in Australia. Most of the beer is produced locally which supports other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, materials and packaging, the transport industry, administration and marketing and sales.

The Australian beer industry supports over 141,195 jobs, both direct and indirect full-time jobs.

Beer industry in Australia continues to grow increasing the GDP, with the brewing companies vowing to ensure they protect the environment in the course of production.

The beer industry is a promising market that has potential opportunities for expansion and growth worldwide. The industry contributes a lot to the economic growth of a nation through tax revenues, jobs and promoting interlinked industries, such as agriculture, tourism and transport.

With the current campaigns and proper advertising, most people are becoming responsible drinkers and the percentage of underage drinkers is reducing year by year. The beer industries are also committed in protecting the environment by finding safe methods of producing and brewing beer.


Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, homebrewer and beer taster. I’m also the editor of Beer100. I love travelling the world and trying out new handcraft beer and different beer styles. I’m not an expert in brewing beer, but I know a few things about beer, which I share on this blog. If you need help or have a question, please comment below.

Questions and Answers

Berhanu Ademassu Taye October 19, 2020 Reply

I just want to have some data on African beer production and consumption trends.

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