German beer industry: our glass is half empty
Germany's beer industry sees its glass half empty this year, with terrible sales during the first half of the year creating what have been described as 'landslide losses'.
The country drank nearly 20 million cases of beer fewer this first half than last, a drop of five percent.
This is the worst collapse in beer sales seen in the country for more than 20 years, Die Welt newspaper reported on Friday.
"The year could hardly have been worse," Michael Huber, from Veltins brewery told the paper. He spoke of landslide losses.
The 1,330 breweries in Germany are suffering from the knock-on effects of the wet weather of the past few months, said Hans-Georg Eils, president of the German Breweries' Association. "The weather is our best salesman," he said.
Although Germans are swarming for beer gardens and other outside eating and drinking opportunities now the weather is nice, the period before July was dead for the industry.
"We cannot reverse the losses we've had until now," said Huber. He said most of the potential for the summer were already washed out. "A fundamental recovery is unrealistic," he said.
Veltins was particularly badly hit, with sales down by 6.6 percent in the first half of the year. This was due to higher price and an increase in the amount of mixed-beer drinks in their range - such drinks are more weather dependent than straight beer.
Experts estimate that first-half losses at fellow German brewer Beck's could be down by around eight percent, as it is also heavily dependent on mixed-beer drinks.
Die Welt suggested the only German beer company to register growth this year so far was Warsteiner - up by 1.7 percent on the same period last year - this possibly only because it had slashed prices.