German beer consumption tumbles . . . again

German beer sales continued their downward spiral in 2009, falling 2.8%. The drop was the biggest since 1998.

The only break in the ongoing decline came in 2006, when Germany hosted the World Cup and sales rose marginally. Overall, beer sales have declined 30% in the past 20 years although consumption of alcohol, reduced to pure ethanol, has remained constant.

Krombacher Brauerei, which brews Germany’s best-selling lager, expects beer consumption to decline in its home market this year, blaming an aging population that drinks less.

German brewers export 14% of the beer they produce, mostly to nearby European countries.