Belgium remains the largest exporter of beer
Although the brewing sector was heavily affected by the health crisis in 2020, Belgium still maintained its leadership in beer exports.
According to figures from a report published by the industry's European organisation, The Brewers of Europe, beer consumption in the wider Europe (EU + UK, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey) has fallen by more than 8% due to the global pandemic.
In Belgium, compulsory closures and other time restrictions led to an average 40% drop in beer consumption in the hotel and catering industry. As a result, the percentage of sales in this sector fell from 42% in 2019 to 27% last year. This fall was only partially offset by sales in supermarkets and other stores.
In a market that is generally depressed in terms of consumer incentives, beer production has obviously also fallen, from 416,000 to 387,000 hectolitres in wider Europe.
But despite this complicated situation, Belgium has not done too badly in terms of its export volume. It retains its first place as an exporting country. Better still, with the sale of 17,869 hectolitres of beer abroad, it has created a gap of 2,830 hl (2,450 hl in 2019) over its direct competitor, Germany (followed by the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom).
According to connoisseurs around the world, thanks to their quality and diversity Belgian beers will not be dethroned any time soon.