Monday, 13 December 2021

Dutch beer consumption 1938 - 1954

I did warn you. Loads more numbers related to the Dutch brewing industry.

I can't help myself. When I come across such lovely plump. ripe numbers, I can't help but harvest them. It's a sickness.

Consumption per capita, which increased greatly during the war, fell back to below the pre-war level once the nastiness was over.

You may be asking yourselves: how is this possible when beer production was higher than in 1939? It’s because Holland was exporting considerable quantities of beer. By the 1950s, around 30% of total output. This offset Dutch drinkers falling out of love with beer.

Exports were far greater, both in absolute terms and in as a percentage of output after the war. Holland quickly transformed itself into one of the world’s major beer exporters. By 1950, it had gained the no. 1 spot.  A position it still held in the early 2000s.  

Dutch per capita beer consumption (litres)
year total population 18-65 year olds consumption
1938 8,684,082 5,119,701 25.30
1939 8,781,273 5,200,407 27.36
1940 8,878,611 5,278,522 33.42
1941 8,965,484 5,349,754 43.21
1942 9,041,986 5,410,625 39.11
1943 9,102,410 5,446,574 42.61
1944 9,174,432 5,476,661 34.20
1945 9,262,298 5,523,879 21.24
1946 9,423,480 5,595,678 31.98
1947 9,629,275 5,668,764 28.27
1948 9,800,155 5,739,485 22.85
1949 9,955,594 5,812,519 17.36
1950 10,115,527 5,886,761 18.17
1951 10,264,511 5,953,960 18.26
1952 10,581,987 5,995,624 18.91
1953 10,455,651 6,050,000 21.41
1954 10,550,737 6,100,000 23.50
De Nederlandse Brouwindustrie in Cijfers, by Dr. H. Hoelen, Centraal Brouwerij Kantoor, 1955, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, page 51.


Anonymous said...

Do you have any sense how liquor availability affected any of this? I wonder whether distilling was diverted for military or war industry purposes, for example, and how quickly liquor came back on the market to compete with beer.

Rob Sterowski said...

Where were the exports going to, do you know?

Michael Foster said...

These numbers seem incredibly low--the Netherlands now consumes 79.3 liters per capita according to Wikipedia (2019 data), whereas these numbers would put them at around the level of China or Thailand.

StuartP said...

Well, it looks like the Dutch had a greatly increased thirst for beer between 1939 and 1944.

Ron Pattinson said...

Michael Foster,

See today's post putting those numbers into context.

It's only in the 1960s and 1970s that Holland became a major beer-drinking country.

Ron Pattinson said...

Rob Sterowski,

disappointingly, the numbers aren't broken down by country. While imports are.

Having seen Heineken records from the period, I'd say a high percentage to the USA and quite a lot to the UK. Hang on. I have the UK imports by country. 9,560 barrels in 1954, so around 16,000 hl.