Breweries are selling more draft beer again | Free press

When the hospitality industry had to close, draft beer sold slowly. Meanwhile, production is rising again – the beer gardens are also full thanks to the summer weather. But there are other concerns.

Düsseldorf.

For breweries in Germany, draft beer sales are rising again in the deep gutter. Full beer gardens and restaurant terraces, as well as frequently visited folklore and shooting festivals increase beer production.

“People are in a hurry to go to any party, people want to get out,” said Veltins brewery chief Michael Huber. “And most of all, people stay at parties much longer, which means consumption at the party is higher than we expected.” You can see this “amazing desire to catch up”. Almost every shooting festival records higher sales than it did before the crown pandemic.

“Shortage of Staff, Lack of Staff, Lack of Staff”

“People like to go to the beer garden again, to the festivals that are taking place,” said Benedikt Meier, spokesman for the Munich Private Brewery Association. In some places, even more would be possible. “In many places, there is a problem of a lack of staff in the gastronomy. It starts in the kitchen and extends to the service. ” The head of the Altbier brewery in Bolten, Michael Hollmann, on the Lower Rhine, also experienced this: “Lack of staff, no staff, no staff – in the gastronomy, but also in the breweries.” Many workers would have looked for a different job during the Corona crisis, and many also had better working hours than in the catering trade.

“Of course, draft beer sales are back. In 2021, there were restrictions until May. But there is still a shortage of quantities compared to the previous ones, “said publisher of the trade magazine Inside, Niklas Other. Due to the blockade extended several times at the beginning of last year, draft beer that was not for sale has become an increasing problem for brewers. To save him from the gully, bakers baked beer bread. After a break of several months, many brewers did not refill their kegs with beer until May 2021.

Veltins estimates that the German beer market grew by only about 3 to 4 percent in the first half of 2022 compared to the weak period of the previous year. Despite the large number of visitors, the current June may therefore be around 10 percent lower than the exceptionally good month of the previous year. Bottled beer is no longer as big as it was in the first year of the pandemic, when many pubs and restaurants had to close. “Trade has suffered a bit as gastronomy has developed,” said Huber. “Bottled beer is not doing so well, and retailers are also complaining that sales are not so good,” Hollmann emphasized. Bottled beer sales have already dropped in 2021.

“Deep concern for blackout”

Many beer producers are increasingly concerned about gas supplies – including their important suppliers such as glass producers. “The industry is deeply concerned about the power outage,” said Managing Director of the German Brewers Association Holger Eichele. According to the association, around two-thirds of German breweries are dependent on gas.

“The brewing industry has a sword of Damocles: it’s a gas embargo,” said manager Veltins Huber. If that happened, “many breweries would have serious problems.” In addition, gas supply is also a major concern for important brewery suppliers. “We need around 50 to 60 million new bottles a year. If something breaks, deliveries will be completely interrupted, ”said Huber, referring to the glassmakers.

The lack of glue or the lack of labels can also stop production. Therefore, Veltins bought in advance goods for 30 million euros that would otherwise have been ordered at short notice and rented the warehouses for these quantities. The brewery in the Hochsauerland district is prepared for an eventual change from gas to oil and has a storage capacity for five weeks of oil demand. Consumers may also be affected by rising energy and raw material costs. Experts assumed in spring that beer prices would rise in trade – announced long ago, and not as a reaction to newer events.

“Many cancellations of shooting festivals”

The effects of the pandemic can also be felt across the industry. “Lots of people still avoid meetings and there is a shortage of staff,” added industry expert Other. A Ruhr wholesaler has calculated himself that his food customers are, on average, 10 percent less open-minded than before. In addition, a lot of new corona infections are emerging now: “We feel the danger is still great. We are currently receiving many cancellations from shooting festivals because 50 percent of the people involved had a crown at two festivals, which of course makes you anxious.”

The private brewery Oettinger announced two weeks ago that it would close production and logistics at its Gotha location in Thuringia at the end of 2022. The Swabian family business justified this move by falling sales in Germany. Oettinger also turns off unused reusable systems elsewhere. (dpa)

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