Ireland and Russia areamongst the few countries where beer sales and consumption are predicted to increase inThe European Beer Market 2000-2005, a new report published by Retail Intelligence. Thefall in beer sales across Western Europe in 1998 has been attributed to many causes. Theseinclude poor summer weather conditions in Germany and Scandinavia, more stringentdrink-driving legislation in Denmark and in the UK, the early exits of England andScotland from the World Cup.

This is part of a morelong-term trend. In 1999 beer sales in Western Europe are forecast to fall by just under1% to 296mn hectrolitres; by the year 2010 the majority of Northern European markets areexpected to have declined by 14-18%. Beer consumption in Germany, the largest singlemarket, is predicted to fall by an even greater 20% over the period with the closure of300 breweries. Germany and other traditional beer-drinking nations such as the UK andDenmark are experiencing the Western European shift towards wine consumption. Conversely,Mediterranean countries have recently experienced a shift in the opposite direction. TheGreek and Italian markets both increased by around 6% between 1997 and 1998, but theregion is not expected to make any strong advances during the next decade.

Western Europe - Progression ofNational Beer Markets 1998-2010 % change (volume)

Luxembourg 14.0 Sweden -12.0
Norway -0.8 Austria -13.2
France -1.9 Average -13.4
Portugal -5.4 Netherlands -14.0
Spain -6.4 Finland -14.1
Denmark -9.0 Belgium -16.3
Ireland -9.7 UK -16.4
Greece -10.8 Switzerland -16.8
Italy -11.2 Germany -17.4

Ireland has so far avoideda similar long-term decline. Per capita consumption is at its highest for over twentyyears and this has been attributed to a young population profile combined with theeconomic boom of the nineties. An aggressive push from the major lager producers has leftstout in a vulnerable position at the head of the market.

Eastern Europe promises tobe an area of growth. The establishment of new production facilities will remove relianceon export sales and stabilise beer prices. As the economic situation improves between nowand 2010, Retail Intelligence estimates that Russian beer sales will increase by over140%, whilst Romanian, Bulgarian and Polish growth is expected to be in the 50-60% bracketin this period.

However, Europe accountsfor only 30% of the current world market, estimated to be around 1.3bn hectrolitres. TheWestern European malaise is unlikely to prevent the global figure from reaching 1.8bnhectrolitres by 2010, based upon an annual growth rate of 2.5-3%. Eastern Europe, LatinAmerica, China, South East Asia and Africa are being touted as the emerging beer marketsof the new millennium.

The European Beer Market 2000 - 2005 is aresearch report published by Retail Intelligence in November printed format £795 orelectronic formats poa. For further information, contact our Information Hotline on +44(0) 20 7814 3814 or email: sales@cior.com