Beer: production and exports up, consumption down

15/11/2007 15:00

Dutch brewers produced 9 percent more beer in 2006 than in 2005, to reach the highest ever level of beer production. Dutch drinkers cut down their beer consumption in the same period, however, while beer exports soared.

Dutch beer production

Dutch beer production

Exports more and more important

Dutch brewers produced nearly 2.7 billion litres of beer in 2006. This is nearly 20 percent more than in 1996. Most of this beer was intended for the export market.
Two-thirds (1.8 billion litres) of beer produced in the Netherlands in 2006 was exported. This puts beer exports at one and a half times the amount exported ten years previously. After Germany, the Netherlands was Europe‚Äôs  second largest beer exporting country in 2006. Nearly half of Dutch beer exports went to the United States.

Dutch beer exports by main countries of destination

Dutch beer exports by main countries of destination

Lower consumption

Sales of Dutch beer on the domestic market came to nearly 1.3 billion litres in 2006. This is the equivalent of more than 95 litres of beer per inhabitant aged 16 years or older, or just over one glass of beer a day. Dutch brewers are doing everything in their power to turn the tide of falling beer consumption. The variety of beers on the market has increased, for example, and a few years ago home draught beer appliances were introduced with great success.

Per capita beer consumption (16 years and older)

Per capita beer consumption (16 years and older)

Beer still most popular drink

In spite of falling sales, beer is still by far the most popular alcoholic drink in the Netherlands. Consumption of other alcoholic beverages in 2006 remained at about the same level as in 2005. In 2006 Dutch people aged 16 years and older drank on average 26.7 litres of wine and 1.6 litres of spirits per person.

Dutch drinking more foreign beers

Foreign beers have become increasingly popular in the Netherlands in the last ten years. Beer imports have more than doubled since 1996, to over 400 million litres in 2006. Over half of this beer comes from Belgium, and one third from Germany.

Hans Draper