Czech beer sector sees all-round upturn

Czech breweries last year produced over 20 million hectolitres of beer, which is the biggest amount in the country’s history, according to the latest figures released by the Czech Beer and Malt Association this week. The production was fuelled mainly by increasing domestic consumption as well as increasing exports. The number of breweries has also gone up last year. Compared to 2015, production of beer and non-alcoholic beer increased last year by nearly two percent. Production of non-alcoholic beer was up by 17 percent to reach a total of 555,000 hectolitres.

Photo: Khalil BaalbakiPhoto: Khalil Baalbaki After two years of stagnating beer consumption in the Czech Republic, consumer interest has also gone up, with Czechs consuming nearly 16.4 million hectolitres of beer. That figure is nearly 200,000 hectolitres higher than in the previous year.

“After a long time, we have succeeded in expanding production not only due to export but also thanks to increased domestic consumption, the head of Czech Beer and Malt Association František Šámal told the daily Hospodářské noviny.

Average annual beer consumption in the Czech Republic remains the same, with an average of 143 litres per person, but Czechs tend to consume more beer at home. At the moment, 39 percent of beer is purchased in pubs while 61 percent is consumed at home.

For the first time over the last decade, classic lager consumption went up in 2016 by 0.7 percent. The preference for stronger beers has also been increasing. Last year, 11 to 12 degree beers accounted for 46.7 percent of consumption, while seven to 10 degree beers stood for 47.9 percent of the overall consumption.

On an international scale, Czechs continue to be the world’s number one beer drinkers, followed by Austria and Germany.

Exports of beer in 2016 amounted to 4.4 million hectolitres, which is an increase by 4.5 percent on the previous year. Slovakia, Germany, Poland and Russia were the biggest export markets.