Despite having a large number of breweries and some very fine beers, Latvia remains a half-pint producer when compared to the behemoths of European brewing.
Last year EU Member States produced 33.1 billion liters of beer containing alcohol and almost 1.7 billion liters of beer which contained less than 0.5% alcohol or had no alcohol content at all.
Compared with 2020, there was a boost in the EU’s production of beer with and without alcohol. Production of non-alcoholic beer increased the most, almost by 20%, while beer containing alcohol increased by almost 3%. In 2021, the EU’s total beer production was equivalent to almost 78 liters per inhabitant. For Latvia the equivalent figure is around 38 liters per inhabitant.
Among the EU Member States with data available, in 2021 just like in 2020, Germany was the top producer with 7.5 billion litres (23% 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 Poland and Spain, both with 3.7 billion litres produced, or 11% of total EU production and the Netherlands with 2.5 billion litres or 7% of the total EU production.
The production of these four countries amounts to 52% of the total EU beer production.
The Netherlands continued to lead as the top exporter of beer containing alcohol in 2021, just like in 2020. The Netherlands exported a total (intra- and extra-EU) of 1.9 bn litres of beer containing alcohol in 2021, accounting for 21% of the total EU beer exports.
The Netherlands was followed by Belgium (1.7 bn litres; 19%) and Germany (1.6 bn litres; 17%), followed by France and Czechia (both 0.5 bn litres; 6%).
When it comes to main destinations for beer exports to non-EU countries, the United Kingdom (902 million litres; 22% of total extra-EU beer exports) and the United States (765 million litres; 19%) were the main partners, followed by Russia (391 million litres; 9%), China (340 million litres; 8%) and South Korea (168 million litres; 4%).
As for imports, France continued to be the largest importer of beer containing alcohol in 2021, with 0.8 bn litres, representing 16% of EU total (intra- and extra-EU) imports. Italy and Germany imported almost 0.7 bn litres (13%), followed by the Netherlands (0.6 bn litres; 12%) and Spain (0.5 bn litres; 10%).
Imports of beers containing alcohol from countries outside the EU are marginal compared to imports within the EU. When importing from non-EU countries, Member States favoured British beer (248 million litres; 47% of all extra-EU imports of beer in 2021 and Mexican beer (122 million litres; 23% respectively). Serbia (46 million litres; 9%), Belarus (26 million litres; 5%) and Ukraine (17 million litres; 3%) followed on the top import partners list but with much smaller values.