In 2022, European Union countries produced almost 34.3 billion (bn) litres of beer containing alcohol and 1.6 bn litres of beer which contained less than 0.5 per cent alcohol or had no alcohol content at all, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on August 3.

Compared with 2021, the production of beer with alcohol in the EU increased by seven per cent, returning to levels closer to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, when production was at 34.7 bn litres.

When it comes to beer without alcohol, there was no change compared with 2021.

The EU’s total beer (with and without alcohol) production in 2022 was equivalent to almost 80 litres per inhabitant.

Among the EU countries with data available, in 2022 Germany continued to be the top producer with 7.6 bn litres (more than 22 per cent of the total EU production). This means that about one in every four beers containing alcohol produced in the EU originated in Germany.

Germany was followed by Spain, with 3.9 bn litres produced (more than 11 per cent of total EU production), Poland with 3.7 bn litres (11 per cent) the Netherlands with 2.6 bn litres (almost eight per cent) and France and Italy, both with 2.0 billion litres (each six per cent).

As in previous years, trade data show that the Netherlands continued to lead as the top exporter of beer containing alcohol in 2022. The Netherlands exported a total (intra- and extra-EU) of 2.6 bn litres of beer containing alcohol in 2022, accounting for 27 per cent of the total EU beer exports. Compared with 2021, this country saw an increase of 0.7 bn litres in beer exports.

The Netherlands was followed by Belgium (1.6 bn litres; 17 per cent), Germany (1.5 bn litres; 16 per cent), Czechia (0.6 bn litres; six per cent) and Ireland (0.4 bn litres; five per cent).

For imports, there was also no change compared with 2021, as France continued to be the largest importer of beer containing alcohol in 2022, with 0.9 bn litres, representing 17 per cent of EU total (intra- and extra-EU) imports. The other big importers were Italy with more than 0.7 bn litres (14 per cent), Germany with less than 0.7 bn (12 per cent), the Netherlands with 0.6 bn litres (11 per cent) and Spain with 0.5 bn litres (10 per cent).

When it comes to main destinations for beer exports to non-EU countries, the United Kingdom (860 million litres; 21 per cent of total extra-EU beer exports) and the United States (716 million litres; 18 per cent) were the main partners, followed by China (349 million litres; nine per cent), Russia (271 million litres; seven per cent), and Canada (155 million litres; four per cent).

Imports of beers containing alcohol from countries outside the EU are marginal compared to imports within the EU. When importing from non-EU countries, EU countries favoured British beer (290 million litres; 57 per cent of all extra-EU imports of beer in 2022 and Mexican beer (99 million litres; 19 per cent respectively). Serbia (40 million litres; eight per cent), Ukraine (15 million; three per cent) and China (11 million; two per cent) followed on the top import partners list but with much smaller values.