Belgian beer consumption decreased by 1.8% last year compared to 2014. A Belgian drunk an average 71 litres of beer products a year in 2015, compared to 72 litres in 2014, according to figures revealed on Thursday by the Federation of Belgian Brewers. “It was a fairly usual year for Belgium and this overall decreasing trend was seen everywhere in Europe and North America.” So analyses Jean-Louis Van de Perre, the President of the Federation.
By beer category, pils beer “remains under pressure,” in the words of Mr Van de Perre, with a decrease of 1.8%. Although specialist beers are still seeing some success, Trappist and so-called Abbey Beers are, even so, witnessing a decline in consumption (-1,3%). the consumption of connoisseur beers (being regional, strong lager beer, pale ale, Scotch Ale and stout) is increasing particularly well (+4,2%).
“It is not a case of the Belgian liking his beer any less. He simply drinks both differently and responsibly, a point which is most heart-warming,” the President further comments.
As in recent years, in this last year the hotel and catering trade has seen a more significant decrease (-3%) than retail (-0,8%).
Faced with slowing consumption on home turf, brewers have looked abroad for several years, and 2015 was a banner year for this, with increased exports of 8.1% in a year. More than 62% of Belgian production is thus now exported.
The year 2016 did not get off to the best start in Belgium with a decrease in consumption of 6% in the first four months. Brewers are most definitely hoping that both a glorious summer and a fantastic performance by the Red Devils at the European Championships will allow the sector to recover across the rest of the year.