Beer in Germany set to go up in price

A server with two big beers at a festival in Straubing, Bavaria, in August.
A server with two big beers at a festival in Straubing, Bavaria, in August. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Armin Weigel
There's bad news for lovers of Germany's national drink. Three leading breweries have announced that the price of beer will increase next year.

The Radeberger Group, Krombacher and Veltins breweries say they plan to hike up their prices in both the hospitality and retail trade sectors next spring, DPA reported on Tuesday.

According to estimates by the industry service GetränkeNews, the price increases are likely to make a glass of Pils, Export or Weizen in the Kneipe (pub) or bar between 30 and 50 cents more expensive. The price of a crate of beer will probably rise by a euro.

Germany’s largest brewery group Radeberger justified the move by pointing to the rising cost of utilities and supplies.

“In addition to massive losses in turnover and earnings during the 18 months of the pandemic, all companies are now facing further quite massive cost increases for energy, logistics, empties as well as raw materials and supplies,” a company spokeswoman said.

READ ALSO: Can Germany’s small breweries survive the coronavirus crisis?

A Veltins spokesperson pointed out that costs in the energy sector alone had risen by over 150 per cent in the past three years.

“This can no longer be absorbed,” he said. The planned price increase therefore applies to the catering industry as well as to the retail trade.

Krombacher pointed out that the last major price adjustment was three years ago.

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Industry experts say they believe other breweries will follow the example of Radeberger and Co. “Beer will become more expensive across the board in spring 2022,” experts predicted.

In the eyes of the brewery firms, there are good reasons for price increases.

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, there has been a significant drop in prices on the market. That’s because retailers tried to encourage customers to buy more beer during the tough shutdown months.

READ ALSO: From ‘crisis beer’ to crowdfunding: How German small brewers are getting creative during the pandemic

Furthermore, people in Germany drank less beer during the crisis than at any time since reunification. In the first half of the current year, domestic sales fell by almost five percent to a low of 3.3 billion litres, the Federal Statistical Office reported in the summer.

The brewing industry lacked business above all in the catering trade and at the many large events that had to be shelved. The only bright spot was the sale of bottled beer in the retail trade – but that meant only a few large breweries profited.

However, beer lovers still have a grace period before the new prices come in: Radeberger does not want to start raising prices until February. Retail prices may even not rise until May. Krombacher and Veltins want to up their prices at the beginning of April.

And there is still the hope that some breweries, in view of the fierce competition, will not go along with the wave of price hikes in the end.


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