New record beer consumption in Spain thanks to tourists

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beer consumption

In 2023, inflation caused a 3.53% drop in beer consumption among Spaniards, especially within the hospitality sector. Despite this decline, tourists ensured that the beer sector ended the year with an overall increase of 2.84%. This resulted in a new record of 43.04 million hectolitres.

A notable factor in this decrease is the closure of 8,901 hospitality establishments. This equates to a 3.2% drop compared to 2022 and an 11% decrease compared to 2019. Despite a 6.84% increase in beer consumption within the hospitality sector, the level remains significantly lower than before the pandemic when 70% of beer in Spain was consumed outside the home.

Tourism as the saviour of the hospitality industry

The increase in foreign tourists was crucial for growth in the hospitality sector. While beer consumption among Spaniards in bars fell by 4.39%, consumption among tourists rose by 22.52% compared to 2022, according to data from the report by Cerveceros de España and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food.

Success of non-alcoholic beer

A bright spot in the national consumption figures is the growth of non-alcoholic beer, which now accounts for 14% of per capita consumption. Spaniards, in particular, have contributed to this increase, with sales of 3 million hectolitres, a 3.5% rise compared to 2022.

Sales and production

Despite the decline in consumption, total beer sales fell by only 0.7%, to 38.67 million hectolitres, of which 52.5% were in the hospitality sector and the rest through the food channel. This channel saw a 3.1% drop in traded volume compared to 2022.

Generational change

Jacobo Olalla, director-general of Cerveceros de España, emphasises that young people between 18 and 30 years old are increasingly drinking beer in moderation. Data shows that 53.6% of them have reduced their alcohol consumption, and 13.3% report lower beer consumption in the hospitality sector.

Craft breweries under pressure

Craft breweries had a tough time, with a 5% decrease in the number of production locations in 2022, which is a 38% drop compared to 2019, caused by the crisis in raw materials and rising production costs.

Production and economic impact

Total beer production in Spain increased by 0.78% compared to 2022 and 4.91% compared to 2019, with a total of 41.3 million hectolitres. This makes Spain the second-largest beer producer in the EU, after Germany, and the eighth worldwide. The beer sector generates 540,000 jobs in Spain and contributes more than €6.5 billion to state revenues, accounting for 2.6% of total tax income. Additionally, beer represents more than €5.2 billion in total tourist spending and 1.3% of the country’s GDP.

Beer in Spain still relatively cheap

Spain ranks ninth in Europe with 54 litres per person among the largest beer drinkers. This is partly due to the price of beer. Beer in Spain is cheaper than in other holiday destinations such as France, Italy, and Greece. The average beer price for a half-litre in a restaurant across 35 European countries is €3.87. The most expensive country is Norway, with €8.50 per half-litre of beer, and the cheapest is Ukraine, with €1.53 per half-litre. In Spain, a half-litre of beer in a restaurant costs an average of €2.80.

Cheapest beer in Europe in Valencia

Another report concluded that Valencia, along with Porto, is the city with the cheapest beer prices in the European Union. This study analysed 70 cities, 8,000 bars and pubs, and more than 40,000 online reviews to find the best and most affordable beers. Valencia not only offers cheap beer but also has a rich beer culture with traditional beers such as Turia, produced since 1935. The city also celebrates its own version of Oktoberfest in September and the Porró Fest, a local variant of the famous German beer festival.

Also read: The best supermarket beer in Spain costs much less than 1 euro

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