German beer prices to rise in 2020 as consumption sinks

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German beer prices to rise in 2020 as consumption sinks
The prise rise is especially expected to hit the catering industry. Photo: DPA

Beer drinkers in Germany can expect higher prices for tap and in some cases retail beer this year.


In many cases, draught beer is slated to become more expensive for the catering trade –  a change expected to trickle down to customers.

The leading German beer producer, the Radeberger Group, is raising the price of draught beer for most of its products at the beginning of March, a spokeswoman for the Radeberger Group told DPA on Wednesday.

The price increase has not yet been announced.

The Group owns more than 40 beer brands in Germany, and is also raising retail prices for a smaller portion of its bottled beers, including Schöfferhofer Weizen, Berliner Pilsner and Ur-Krostitzer.

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Low price by international standards

The private brewery Krombacher is also raising its draught beer prices in the new year, according to a company spokesperson. Krombacher is the beer brand that's most consumed in Germany, according to a ranking by the industry magazine "Inside".

Initially, the increases are only higher sales prices of the breweries to beverage wholesalers, gastronomy or retail.

But "Inside" publisher Niklas Other expects higher prices for beer drinkers in pubs and restaurants.

"But the beer price in Germany is very low by international standards," he explained. Despite declining sales, beer remains one of the most important sources of revenue for restaurateurs.

READ ALSO: Germany: Land of cheap beer and drunkards?

Falling sales of beer

Last year, sales of alcoholic beer fell by 2.5 percent to 8.52 billion litres by the end of November, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office.

Brewers see the main reason for this as being that, as in all of Europe, older and more elderly people drink less beer than younger people.

According to industry estimates, the price gap between draught beer and bottled beer will continue to widen in the new year. 

READ ALSO: Why beer means so much to the Germans

The fact that draught beer is usually significantly more expensive than bottled beer is not necessarily helpful for the catering trade, said Other. He assumes that more brewers will increase the draught beer price.

Can beer, at least for the time being, is largely exempt from the price spike: Krombacher, the largest brand of canned beer, decided against an announced price increase for canned beer, the company spokesman confirmed. 

The bulk buyer of canned beer in Germany is the discounter Aldi.

Rising costs for restauranters

"How the restaurateur deals with rising costs is solely in his hands,” the German Hotel and Restaurant Association stated.

"The fact is that draught beer is very popular in many of our establishments. The guests appreciate a freshly tapped beer."

Excluded from the Radeberger higher prices are, above all, the group's Kölsch draught beer and draught beer of the Stuttgarter Hofbräu brand, the spokeswoman said. 

The Frankfurt-based company has not yet issued a statement, however, of how much they plan to raise prices for the gastronomy industry. 

The Radeberger Gruppe justified the price hike by pointing to steady cost increases that could no longer be compensated for internally.

Among other things, it cited higher logistics, energy and packaging costs, investments in the reusable system and tariff increases. 

The Radeberger Gruppe, which belongs to the Oetker Group, last raised prices for bottled beer around two years ago.


Beer fresh from the tap - (das) frisch gezapftes Bier

Price rise - (die) Preiserhebung

International comparison - (der) internationale Vergleich

Canned beer brand - (die) Dosenbiermarke

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