It is a part of the local heritage which is disappearing. After 350 years of existence, the Koblenz brewery closed its doors on January 31. During its heyday, up to 1,500 employees operated the red brick factory on the banks of the Rhine. Shock dismissal for the last 40 workers. Koblenz Mayor David Langner lamented “the end of tradition in our city…
It is a part of the local heritage which is disappearing. After 350 years of existence, the Koblenz brewery closed its doors on January 31. During its heyday, up to 1,500 employees operated the red brick factory on the banks of the Rhine. Shock dismissal for the last 40 workers. The mayor of Koblenz, David Langner, lamented the “end of tradition in our city”.
Next to Munich, in Frankfurt, other century-old establishments have recently closed and the president of the Brewers Federation speaks alarmingly of the “death of the breweries”. Holger Eichel points to a “crow black” year for 2023, with reduced consumption in shops and restaurants.
Wine consumption was also affected
A decline substantiated by figures published by the Federal Statistics Office: 8.4 billion liters of beer were consumed in Germany last year. That’s a decrease of 4.5%, consistent with continued decline, with the exception of 2022, the year of post-Covid catch-up and social reunification.
Since 1993, beer sales in Germany have fallen by more than a quarter. The trend is also seen for wine, whose consumption is also declining, on the order of one bottle less per adult per year. According to the German Wine Institute (DWI), per capita wine consumption fell from 19.9 to 19.2 liters annually.
Increase in production costs
Back to the beer: Sharp increases in costs, sometimes as much as 50 or 60%, cut into the accounts of small and large companies. In the district of Kreuzberg, Sudstern Brewery and its unique artisanal production do not see themselves at risk in the short term, but its boss, Helmut Kursht, lists the growth counting on his fingers: “Glass, malt, hops, yeast, energy that has a huge impact. . Plus staff costs and the landlord wanting to raise the rent. All these combined are dangerous for the future. »
A 40 centiliter pint sold to the consumer for €3.60 before the Covid crisis and the war in Ukraine is now one euro higher. “And again!” “I’m cutting my margin so as not to scare away customers!” shouted the tall, bald man. »
Alcohol-Free: “The Promising Segment”
His establishment that evening was poorly attended. Sitting on a stool at the counter, Max stopped for a lager on his way back from the restaurant with his partner. Consumption that it mediates: “Once or twice a week instead of daily. I stopped the “fierabandbierchen”, the little after-work beer that I had like my father. I realized that it didn’t really fit with family life, getting up early, being in shape,” argues the bearded forty-year-old.
The desire for a healthy diet matched by Generation Z sees beer as an out-of-fashion beverage. In particular, the president of Eichele Brewers sees non-alcoholic beer as a “growth segment” in a troubled sector. At 7% of the market today, it represents one in ten beers sold “shortly”. Professionals are also banking on this summer’s European football championships to boost consumption. In moderation if possible.