International Beer Day: 11 facts about the global brewing industry

By Tom Wadlow
Friday 4 August marks the ninth official International Beer Day, having soared in popularity since its foundation in 2008. Now celebrated in more than...

Friday 4 August marks the ninth official International Beer Day, having soared in popularity since its foundation in 2008.

Now celebrated in more than 200 cities worldwide in pubs, bars, breweries, and backyards, it is a sign of how the industry has diversified and grown in the past decade. More consumers than ever before are taking to beer, helped by the rise of the craft brewing industry.

In an interview with Business Review Europe, Spanish brewer Mahou San Miguel’s International Managing Director, Erik d’Auchamp, said that collaboration between brewers is stronger than ever, and leading to a more vibrant marketplace for consumers.

“The good thing about the brewing world is that there are a lot of alliances between a number of different brewers, which is ultimately raising the bar,” he told the publication. “There has to be a fit personally and on a business level, and we certainly have that with Carlsberg. Our brands complement each other and we treat each other’s brands as if they are our own.”


So what do we know about the history and current status of the brewing industry? Here are some soundbites:

  1. Popular in Neolithic Europe, beer production dates back as far as 2050 BC. By the 7th century AD, it was being produced and marketed by several monasteries in Europe.
  2. Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids while consuming around four litres of beer a day
  3. Ancient Babylonians drowned brewers in their own faulty batches.
  4. The Czech Republic is the beer drinking capital of the world, with each citizen on average drinking 40 gallons a year.
  5. The global beer market is dominated by key players such as AB Inbev, Heineken Holding, Kirin Holdings, and Asahi Group Holdings. AB InBev topped the ranking with sales amounting to about US$45.5bn in 2016.
  6. China is by far the world’s largest producer of beer, making more than double that of the US (471mn hectolitres vs. 223.5mn in 2015).
  7. The global beer market is expected to be worth US$688.4bn by 2020, growing 6% a year.  
  8. Of this total value, Asia Pacific alone is set to account for US$202.4bn, nearly a third of all sales.
  9. Micro-breweries are set to grow by more than 9% during the 2015-2020 period.
  10. There is also a growing demand for stronger beer, which is expected to grow by 6.5% a year.
  11. Around half of all beer consumption will derive from canned products by 2020.

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