Saturday, 9 January 2016

Number of breweries in Europe 1956 - 2014

Given the popularity of my post about the expanding number of breweries in Europe, I thought I'd expand the table by moving backwards in time.

Only four countries had fewer breweries in 2014 than in 1956: Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Luxemburg. For Denmark it's a tiny difference - just five breweries - and Luxemburg is an odd case, being so small. Which leaves just Belgium and Germany, both of which have about a third of the breweries they did 60 years ago. I have to admit, it makes the situation in Germany look much worse than the 2009 to 2014 figures.

I can see four scenarios:

1. Countries that have returned to around the number of breweries they had in 1956. Sweden and the Czech Republic demonstrate this.

2. Countries with far more breweries than in 1956, but still fewer than the historic high point. Examples are the UK, The Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, Slovakia, France and Norway.

3. Countries with far more breweries than in 1956 and more than ever previously. Examples are France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. Note that all of these (including Switzerland) are traditionally wine-drinking countries.

4. Countries with fewer breweries than in 1956.  Examples are Belgium, Germany and Luxemburg.

Number of breweries in Europe 1956 - 2014
Country 1956 1976 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2004 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Austria 98 - 59 55 60 74 106 145 172 172 170 173 194 198
Belgium 563 - 143 - 126 115 113 119 127 135 123 150 160 168
Czechoslovakia 330 96 95 - - n/a n/a -
Czech Republic 80 - - - 86 75 94 133 151 191 213 308 338
Slovakia 16 16 16 - 15 12 19 15 19 25 30 38 44
Denmark 155 24 - - - - - 34 N/A N/A 150 150 150 150
France 390 55 - - - - - - 322 387 442 503 580 663
Germany 3,218 n/a 1,516 - 1,329 1,243 1,279 1,274 1,331 1,333 1,347 1,340 1,349 1,352
Greece 3 - - - - - - - 11 11 17 18 20 20
Ireland 14 7 7 9 7 9 17 18 26 26 26 26 30 50
Italy 32 - - - - - - 168 256 308 350 421 509 599
Lithuania - - - 49 41 73 73 73 75
Luxemburg 11 - - - - 5 5 - 6 7 7 7 7 7
Netherlands 48 20 19 25 30 44 - 65 N/A N/A 125 165 N/A 263
Norway 25 17 - - - - - - 22 30 33 40 54 77
Portugal 4 - - - - - - - 7 7 9 10 18 35
Roumania 19 - - - - - - - 21 18 17 17 18 22
Spain 40 - - - - - - - 47 65 88 132 221 332
Sweden 130 25 - - - - - 28 30 45 65 75 100 151
Switzerland 58 - - - - - - - 280 328 360 375 409 483
United Kingdom 404 142 191 305 279 481 500 519 745 828 948 1,300 1,490 1,700
Sources: 
Ceský svaz pivovarù a sladoven
Die Deutsche Brauwirtschaft in Zahlen, 1994
Unser Bier, Conrad Seidl, 1991, 1995, 1996
Het Brouwersblad June 2004. p.6
Zythos (thanks Casimir!)
Brauwelt nr. 6-7 February 2001
Deutscher Brauer-Bund, Bonn
Tim Webb's calculation
Almanach für das deutsche Brauwesen 1957, pages 54 and 55
Brewers Association
BBPA Statistical Handbook 2003, p. 92
my calculation
2009 - 2014: The Brewers of Europe Beer Statistics 2015 edition, page 21.

I'm still far from convinced that Germany is taking full part in Europe's brewing renaissance.

6 comments:

Rod said...

Personally I dread the day that Germany embraces the so-called craft revolution and all there is to drink in German pubs is murky over-hopped IPA and vile badly brewed versions of Imperial Stout.

David Boshko said...

Interesting how stagnant the German brewing industry seems to be.

Anonymous said...

I assume the general stability of numbers for Germany from 1980 to 2014 doesn't give a good sense of all of the churn that must have been happening due to reunification.

To at least some degree there must have been a number of undercapitalized and poorly run Eastern breweries that went out of business during the 1990s, and I think it would be interesting to see what was done to avoid sudden closures and takeovers as a part of the general effort to maintain an orderly transition to a single nation.

Ron Pattinson said...

Anonymous,

there were far more breweries in the East than in the West. In 1980:

West: 1364
East: 152

"general effort to maintain an orderly transition to a single nation"? You're having a laugh.

Anonymous said...

The Deutsche Brauer-Bund is a conservative fighter for the Reinheitsgebot. If you are going to comercially brew something like a milk stout or gruit, they may sue you.

So nearly none of the new craft brewers is member of this club, the real number of brewers is higher.

Elektrolurch said...

Anonymous, what? You think the number of breweries is only those who are in the Brauer Bund??? What makes you think that??
Besides, the Brauer Bund does not sue when you commercially brew a milk stout- the Bundesländer sue. Bavaria sued for instance camba bavaria for their Milk Stout, but somehow NRW has no problems with Goses udn Gruits being brewed in Bonn and Münster and so on... And their witbiers in thuringia and Hamburg.....
See here: http://www.camba-bavaria.de/news/artikel/neue-kontrolle-weitere-camba-biere-bald-nicht-mehr-erlaubt/
As much as I love bavarian beer, this case in particular makes me sad.