German beer prices to rise in 2020 as consumption sinks

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

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

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.

READ ALSO: From beer to babies: The 15 stats you need to understand Germans

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

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.


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The best podcasts for learning and perfecting your German

Once you've learned the basics of German, listening to podcasts is one of the best ways of increasing vocabulary and speeding up comprehension. Here are some of the best podcasts out there for German learners.

The best podcasts for learning and perfecting your German


Coffee Break German

Coffee Break German aims to take you through the basics of German in a casual lesson-like format. It is extremely easy to listen to. Each 20-minute episode acts as a mini-lesson, where German native Thomas teaches Mark Pendleton, the founder and CEO of Coffee Break Languages, the basics.

All phrases are broken down into individual words. After new phrases are introduced the listeners are encouraged to repeat them back to practise pronunciation.

The advantage of listening to this podcast is that the learner, Mark, begins at the same level as you. He is also a former high school French and Spanish teacher. He often asks for clarification of certain phrases, and it can feel as if he is asking the very questions you want answered.

You can also stream the podcast directly from the provider’s website, where they sell a supplementary package from the Coffee Break German Academy, which offers additional audio content, video flashcards and comprehensive lesson notes

German Pod 101

German Pod 101 aims to teach you all about the German language, from the basics in conversations and comprehension to the intricacies of German culture. German Pod 101 offers various levels for your German learning and starts with Absolute Beginner.

The hosts are made up of one German native and one American expat living in Germany, in order to provide you with true authentic language, but also explanations about the comparisons and contrasts with English. This podcast will, hopefully, get you speaking German from day one.

Their website offers more information and the option to create an account to access more learning materials.

Learn German by Podcast

This is a great podcast if you don’t have any previous knowledge of German. The hosts guide you through a series of scenarios in each episode and introduce you to new vocabulary based on the role-plays. Within just a few episodes, you will learn how to talk about your family, order something in a restaurant and discuss evening plans. Each phrase is uttered clearly and repeated several times, along with translations.


Learn German by Podcast provides the podcasts for free but any accompanying lesson guides must be purchased from their website. These guides include episode transcripts and some grammar tips. 


Easy German

This podcast takes the form of a casual conversation between hosts Manuel and Cari, who chat in a fairly free-form manner about aspects of their daily lives. Sometimes they invite guests onto the podcast, and they often talk about issues particularly interesting to expats, such as: “How do Germans see themselves?”. Targeted at young adults, the podcasters bring out a new episode very three or four days.

News in Slow German

This is a fantastic podcast to improve your German listening skills. What’s more, it helps you stay informed about the news in several different levels of fluency.

The speakers are extremely clear and aim to make the podcast enjoyable to listen to. For the first part of each episode the hosts talk about a current big news story, then the second part usually features a socially relevant topic. 

A new episode comes out once a week and subscriptions are available which unlock new learning tools.

SBS German

This podcast is somewhat interesting as it is run by an Australian broadcaster for the German-speaking community down under. Perhaps because ethnic Germans in Australia have become somewhat rusty in their mother tongue, the language is relatively simple but still has a completely natural feel.

There is a lot of news here, with regular pieces on German current affairs but also quite a bit of content looking at what ties Germany and Australia together. This lies somewhere between intermediate and advanced.

A woman puts on headphones in Gadebusch, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo: dpa | Jens Büttner


Auf Deutsche gesagt

This is another great podcast for people who have a high level of German. The host, Robin Meinert, talks in a completely natural way but still manages to keep it clear and comprehensible.

This podcast also explores a whole range of topics that are interesting to internationals in Germany, such as a recent episode on whether the band Rammstein are xenophobic. In other words, the podcast doesn’t just help you learn the language, it also gives you really good insights into what Germans think about a wide range of topics.


Bayern 2 present their podcast Sozusagen! for all those who are interested in the German language. This isn’t specifically directed at language learners and is likely to be just as interesting to Germans and foreigners because it talks about changes in the language like the debate over gender-sensitive nouns. Each episode explores a different linguistic question, from a discussion on German dialects to an analysis of political linguistics in Germany.