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At a global level, we have some regions that are clearly key players when it comes to influence over the global beer industry: more specifically in terms of beer consumption, revenues growth and production volume.

Europe is at the moment still the largest player in terms of revenue creation, though it has lost the leadership to the Asia-pacific region, more specifically to China, when it comes to consumption and production volume. Europe’s consumption volume growth, which accounted for 27% of global consumption in the last year, has stabilized over the past few years and is expected to continue so, this is, it is predicted to continue to grow at a moderate pace, due mainly to health and legal factors. ( According to ( , it predicts a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 4.3% during the years of 2018 and 2030, meaning it is projected to increase from US$145.81 billion to US$203.83 billion, during the mentioned period. Another fact worth mentioning, is the range of diversity of the 400 million hectoliters brewed in Europe, as there are over 6000 active breweries in the EU.

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When taking a closer look at the European market, Germany takes the leading position in terms of production, with a total of 8.3 billion of liters in 2016. This means that 1 in every 5 beers produced in Europe come from Germany. In the same year UK followed with 13 percent of European production, as well as other important key players such as Poland with 10 percent, Spain and the Netherlands with 9 and 7 percent respectively, and finally Belgium with 6 percent of the Europe’s total production.

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North-America has always been a historic player alongside Europe, with the American consumption of beer growing at a stable rate over the centuries, thus ensuring the continued growth of the industry. ( In 2018, the beer industry in this region is expected to generate around US$83.691 billion in revenue, with approximately 90.10 percent of the latter being solely generated by the United States of America.                                 (

In recent years, it were mainly the emerging economies, namely from the Asia-Pacific and the LAMEA regions, which have experienced higher growths regarding the brewing industry – in opposition to the more matured regions mentioned above- and are therefore becoming increasingly interesting to the big multinational brands, which are beginning to introduce customized beers adapted to the Asian consumer’s tastes. (

The beer industry in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow by 7.3 percent (CAGR) from 2015 to 2020, when it’s predicted to reach US$202.4 billion in sales ( due to the exponential increase in the beer demand in the past few years. A clear proof of this was the overthrowing of Bud Light as the world’s top selling beer, in 2008, by the Chinese Snow, which is produced  and commercialized in China by SABMiller and China Resources Enterprise. ( ) This beer accounted in 2014 for 5.4 percent of the global market in beer brands. ( )

Already the production volume of Asia-Pacific countries is catching up with traditional beer countries and regions, with especially China taking an important role in this process. It has been the largest beer producing country in the world for several years and has reached a production volume in 2016 which was estimated at 460 million hectoliters of beer. ( )

Other upcoming global players would be the LAMEA regions – which includes Latin America, Middle East and Africa – with an expected CAGR of 8 percent between 2016 and 2022, according to

( ). Countries worth mentioning in this region would be Brazil, Argentina, UAE, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Nigeria.

The growth of the beer industry among these countries has emerged as a consequence of the increase in demand, which has arisen due to several factors: the evolution of social and cultural habits regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and the growth of the urban population, which now has better living conditions and a more modern lifestyle. (( ),


1.2. By production


Concerning production, breweries can be classified according to their size (in output), after which they can be named either a microbrewery, or a macro-brewery. The former, as well as craft brewers, offer uniqueness and variety in special flavors. They usually only produce up to 1000 hectoliters, hence the name. Recently these breweries have attracted beer consumers all over the world, leading to an estimated growth in its production of 9.3 percent CAGR by 2020.  Macro-breweries on the other hand, the big multinational brewers, are fighting this growth of the craft beer segment by offering good quality to price beers, on a global scale, and, most importantly, by acquiring ownership of these smaller producers when they start gaining importance. This issue will be elaborated further on. (


1.3. By Category


Beer can be categorized into normal, premium and super premium beer.

According to the beer industry, what defines a beer as premium or super premium, besides many other characteristics, is the alcohol content: A lager is considered premium if it’s above 4.5 percent, yet an ale will be premium from 4,2 percent alcohol on. ( ). Nevertheless, alcohol percentage is not the factor consumers would primarily look at when considering whether a beer is premium or normal. Rather they’d put importance on the innovation of a beer, which explains the willingness to pay a premium above the normal price for it.( )

MUDAR When it comes to lager, a premium product has been traditionally defined by its ABV – of 4.5% and above – but Griff Maggs, brewer at Renegade Brewery, says: “We believe that in the eyes of the consumer, the word ‘premium’ implies quality, not necessarily strength.”Any premium beer should be chock-full of class ingredients and brewed with style and character. You should know at first sip that this really is a beer worthy of the tag ‘premium’.”

The bottom line is that, while 43 percent of the market was considered normal beer in 2014, the past few years have seen a notable rise in the super-premium segment, which knew large growth comparative to the other two segments, and is furthermore expected to continue growing at a CAGR of 6,4 percent by 2020. However in recent years it has suffered a lot due to the fact that consumers, specifically millennials, are particularly interested in local craft beers, rather than mainstream super-premium ones.  (


1.4. Packaging


When it comes to packaging, beer can be canned, bottled or draught. Draft beer has been considered the best option according to beer drinkers, because it guarantees the freshness of the beer as well as the quality, with bottled and canned beer having to be consumed on average within 30 days to guarantee hop quality. ( ). Nevertheless, breweries are moving toward the option of cans, since they offer a wide range of advantages compared to bottles, for instance storing and transporting, and at the same time they assure the protection of the beverage from external factors, like heat. (


1.5. Product Type


Depending on the process of brewing, beer can be classified as light or strong beer, taking a normal beer as the benchmark.

The normal beer’s alcohol content typically is around 4 and 6 percent, but depending on the type in can vary between 2,5 percent and 15 percent ABV approximately. Light beer, besides having a smaller amount of alcohol, between 2.6 and 4 percent, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, has significantly less calories than both normal and strong beer -due to the difference in the brewing process- making this type appealing to more health conscious consumers. (

Strong beer, on the other hand, is a type of beer which has high levels of alcohol, usually a minimum of 5.6 percent ABV- according to the same Canadian agency- and maximum levels reaching up to 15 percent. This segment is expected to see a continuing expansion, namely at a 6.5 percent CAGR between 2015 and 2020, and raise approximately US$460 Billion in sales by the same year. (

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