SaveOnBrew Offers Expert Opinion on the Decline of German Brewing

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The decline of the German beer industry is a topic of great interest to bloggers at SaveOnBrew.com, the nation’s only beer price-search engine. The organization says their retail beer price searchers routinely look for names like Spaten, Warsteiner and Paulaner, but the strength of these brands is now in question.

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Essentially, Germany is faced with a choice. They can modernize or they can be left in the dust of this craft brew revolution.

Is the German brewing industry in decline? Despite being known for producing top-quality beer for more than 100 years, it seems the nation known for beers like Spaten, Warsteiner, Bitburger, Paulaner and Franziskaner is, in fact, slipping from prominence. The SaveOnBrew Beer Blog cites a few key statistics from Wharton School researchers:

  • More than 41 large breweries and 182 medium-sized breweries have closed over the past decade.
  • Berlin’s brewing community shrank from 700 breweries in the early 19th century to a dozen today.
  • The brewery workforce lost 11,000 jobs from 2008 to 2010 alone.
  • There has been a 30 percent decline in the amount of beer drank per capita since 1970.
  • Germany has fallen from the #2 producer of beer to #5 since 1990.
  • 5 of the 6 German beer producers are owned by global majors.
  • No German beer brands fall in the “Top 20” in any country.    

“German beers are some of the most-searched brands on our site,” reports Mark Davidson, the founder of a retail beer price database. “It’s not just the beer purity law that makes German beer so good, but we think it’s a love for the culture too – the German beer girls, the Oktoberfest celebrations, the pretzels and mustard, the oompa music, the fact that you can go to Germany and enjoy a beer at 9 a.m. without looking like a deplorable drunk.”

It’s a shame to think all that could be changing, Davidson adds. According to SaveOnBrew, there are many possible explanations for the decline of beer in Germany. It could be that the Germany purity law has become archaic and bothersome to breweries that could otherwise experiment with different ingredients and beer flavors to proliferate as American craft brewers have in recent years. Or it could be that younger crowds view beer as “an old person drink” and favor “alco-pops” (booze-infused colas) now. It could also be that the German beer industry is very insular – focused on producing beer exclusively for Germans, rather than exportation.

“Essentially, Germany is faced with a choice. They can modernize or they can be left in the dust of this craft brew revolution,” says Davidson. “Another option would be to stick to their guns, but begin aggressively marketing themselves outside of the country as ‘premium beer’ as brands like Dos Equis and Heineken have done.”

More information on this topic, as well as a comprehensive listing of retail beer prices in America, can be found at http://www.saveonbrew.com/blog-article/brauereisterben-the-death-of-german-brewing.

About SaveOnBrew.Com: Founded in 2010 to help thirsty beer drinkers across the United States find the lowest advertised prices for one of the world’s most popular beverages.

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Jennifer Davidson
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