In 1998, total worldwide beer production was 1.1 billion barrels. By 2012, 14 years later, that had increased 50% to 1.66 billion barrels. That's according to The Motley Fool —a privately-held financial-services company— in a recent column about the global beer business.
For example, what is the number 1 selling beer brand in the world? What's #2? From China, it's Snow and Tsingtao, respectively. American, er, Belgian, Budweiser is only third.
Here, as of 2012, are the rest of the world's top 10 beer brands (as compiled by Finances Online):
Which country spends the most per capita on beer? It's Australia. The U.S., while in the top 10, is 'only' 7th. Again, from 2012, via Finances Online.
Why Australia? Because folk there are drink a lot of beer (if not the most per capita) and pay a lot for it, the eighth highest cost per beer in the world, which is due, in part, to high excise taxes on alcohol. (Iran pays the most, but, then again, not much beer is consumed there.)
Which nation is tops in terms of total beer consumption per year?
That would be China, drinking, nationally, 370,687,902 barrels of beer per year (44,201,000 kiloliters). The United States was #2, way down at 202,833,000.
Here, from research published by the Kirin Brewery, in 2012, are the top 25.
Which nation's citizens drink the most beer per person per year?
That would be the Czech Republic, at 39 gallons of beer per capita per year (and has 'finished' first for twenty years), followed by Austria, Germany, Estonia, and Poland. The United States? It's a lowly rank of 17. We drink 20 gallons of beer per person per year. (China, although tops in total beer consumption, doesn't even crack the top 35 of consumption per capita, whereas no. 1 Czech Republic is also 21st in total national consumption).
Again, via Kirin, from 2012:
As has been reported often, the 'craft' beer business in the U.S. is booming. And, it was the per capita spending figure of the U.S. that particularly intrigued Sean Williams, the author of the Motley Fool piece. He observed that the largest U.S. 'craft' brewery, Boston Beer —brewer of Sam Adams beers— upped its income in the first quarter of this year by 35% to revenues of $183.8 million.
And not only is revenue rising, but Boston Beer was able to pass along an average price increase of 2% during the quarter. If beer drinkers have proven anything, it's that they're willing to pay a premium for craft beers, which are perceived to be more full-flavored.
The Brewers Association (BA) —the primary national lobbying and advocacy group of small U.S. breweries— counted 2,832 breweries here at the end of 2013, most of them small, independent, and traditional, the associations's definition of craft. At the current rate of brewery expansion, the U.S. could be home, by 2025, to 6,500 breweries. Compare that to the fewer than 100 breweries in the U.S. in 1979, the year that homebrewing was, nationally, de facto legalized.
Why was all of this interesting to The Motley Fool? Follow the money ...
Understanding which countries' citizens are more apt to spend their hard-earned money on beer could cue investors in to regions where global brewers plan to focus moving forward. It can also give us insight as to where future acquisitions are most likely to occur.
- A U.S. liquid barrel, as used in beer measurements, is not a physical thing. It's a unit of volume, equal to 31 U.S. gallons, the equivalent of 13.7 cases of 24 12-ounce beers.
- As further evidence of U.S. 'craft' beer growth (and of the professional maturation of its Brewers Association), 1,360 breweries from all fifty states and the District of Columbia will be entering beers into the competition at the Great American Beer Festival in October, the premier beer competition for American beers, held annually in October, in Denver, organized by the BA. That's about 81% higher than last year, when 750 breweries tried to register for the fest, but serious web glitches prevented many others that had wanted to enter from doing so. Apparently all was well-repaired this year. Read more, at Denver Westword. Tickets to the GABF go on public sale 30 July, and are expected to sell out within minutes.