Germany: Beer sales sink to new low

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Sales of German beer have dropped below 100m hectolitres for the first time in at least a decade as domestic demand fell for the fourth consecutive year in 2010.
German beer sales dropped by 1.7% in volume to 98.3m hectolitres for the 12 months to the end of December, the country’s Federal Statistics Office (FSO) said yesterday (27 January). It is the first time that volumes have slipped below 100m hectolitres in the published FSO records, which go back to 2000.
Domestic consumption of German beer has declined ever year for the last decade, except for in 2006, when Germany hosted the FIFA World Cup. Germany’s involvement in the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 failed to have the same effect as German beer volumes fell by 3% on their home market for the year.
Exports provided some cheer to German brewers in 2010. FSO figures show that untaxed beer sales, which include exports and homebrew for personal consumption, increased by 6% for the year. Brewers saw a near-18% increase in exports to non-European Union members states.