German Beer Sales Rise After Rough COVID Years

But the long-term trend remains downward.

Beer bottles are filled at the Veltins beer brewery in Meschede, Germany, Aug. 24, 2022.
Beer bottles are filled at the Veltins beer brewery in Meschede, Germany, Aug. 24, 2022.
AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File

BERLIN (AP) — German beer sales rose in 2022 after COVID-19 restrictions weighed on brewers in the previous two years, but the long-term trend remains downward and the World Cup soccer tournament in Qatar didn't get the taps flowing, according to official figures released Wednesday.

The Federal Statistical Office said that German-based breweries and distributors sold about 8.8 billion liters (2.3 billion gallons) of beer last year, a 2.7% increase compared with 2021.

Beer sales inside Germany — more than four-fifths of the total — were up 4% to 7.2 billion liters (1.9 billion gallons). That was still 5% lower than in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

Exports were down overall. While German brewers shipped around 805 million liters (213 million gallons) of beer to other nations in the European Union, a 7.8% increase, exports to other countries dropped 12.4% to about 716 million liters (189 million gallons).

Big events such as the World Cup have given beer sales a bounce when held in summer in previous years, but last year's tournament — which, unusually, was held as winter started in Europe — largely failed to do so, the statistics office said.

While last year pointed to something of a recovery after lockdowns that shut restaurants and bars for periods in 2020 and 2021, German brewers have been struggling with a longer-term downward trend fueled by health concerns and other factors. In the past decade alone, beer sales have fallen 7.4%, according to the statistics office.

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