The world of beer is changing, growing and evolving – it's far from a static place, as the recent spate of mergers, acquisitions, new product offerings and festivals can attest. There are quite a few interesting trends here, and one of the most interesting is one in Germany.
No matter what type of beer you enjoy, chances are good that when you think of beer, Germany is in there somewhere. After all, even the word we use for our beloved beverage stems from a German word, descending through Old and then Middle English (both of which are rooted in German). However, it seems that the nation might just be losing its taste for the sudsy brew, despite all the history it has in the country.
As evidence of this, beer production in Germany sank by 1.7% from 2009 to 2010. Consumption of beer in Germany dropped even more – falling by almost 3% overall. While those percentages might seem small to you and me, it's a huge hit to the German beer industry. What's this a sign of for the German population? Is Germany no longer synonymous with beer?
Well, first off it's a sign that the population is aging, something to which most developed nations are subjected. In fact, that's one of the driving forces behind Kirin's move to distribute their products in China; Japan's population is aging and consuming less alcohol in general. The same trend can be seen in Germany, despite rumors and headlines about binge drinking and other problems.
It's also a sign of changing buying trends in Germany. Apparently, more German consumers are willing to drink a cup of coffee or toast with a cup of tea than raise a frosty mug of beer to their lips these days. In part, this is due to a change in lifestyles – fewer people have an after-work drink with colleagues and friends.
Now, contrast that trend with the American one – we're drinking more beer. Well, we're drinking more craft beers at any rate. While major brewers have posted losses, there are more and more microbreweries and nano breweries posting record sales. Just look at the number of beer fests springing up all over the nation and you'll see that America's love affair with beer is still in full swing. It can only be hoped that Germany's population will rediscover their love of beer and get back into the swing of things as well.