By Euromonitor

In 2001 total volume sales for the global beer market reached 136.7 billion litres, a rise of 10.1% over the review period 1997/2001, outstripping income growth in many markets.
According to the latest drinks report by Euromonitor International the primary drivers of this growth were changes in global consumption habits and volume growth of 42.7% in Eastern Europe.

Growth in the global beer market was driven by a variety of factors including most notably the development of the 'health conscious consumer'. Other factors include the widespread introduction of premium beers, higher levels of disposable income and a general lowering in prices thanks to retailing and manufacturing competition.

In less developed markets, growth tended to be fuelled by standard or economy products, whereas in more developed markets premium products are significant. This reflects the differences in disposable income and, to a strong degree, levels of consumer education.

In 2001 vodka accounted for approximately 30.3% of Russian alcohol value sales. Per capita consumption reached 14.5 litres compared with UK consumption of 0.6 litres. However, Anne Nugent, Euromonitor International drinks account manager, notes that growth in vodka sales has slowed in recent years, the development of the health conscious consumer has seen vodka sales losing to other alcoholic drinks, most noticeably beer.

"Eastern European growth was principally boosted by changing consumption habits, either through consumers being priced out of the traditional spirits market in Russia or sections of the market, particularly younger consumers influenced by Western European and North American trends, turning from vodka to beer."

Younger people seem more aware of the health risks of drinking too much vodka and prefer beer. 
Eastern Europe was one of the few regions to experience both volume and US dollar sales growth, reaching 11.5% sales growth over the review period in 2000/2001. The period saw a marked increase in product availability, mainly as a result of increased foreign investment and local brewers upgrading their production facilities and improving product quality in order to be able to compete with imported beers. As a consequence, the largest regional market, Russia, registered volume growth of some 16% in 2001.

1997/2001 Beer market sizes, total volume

1997 2001

World (mn litres) 124,256.20 136,792.90
Western Europe (m litres) 30,824.60 30,827.40
Eastern Europe (m litres) 10,271.40 14,652.50
North America (m litres) 24,613.30 25,897.00
Latin America (m litres) 20,773.30 21,770.10
Asia Pacific (m litres) 29,176.70 34,737.80
Australasia (m litres) 2,075.10 2,064.50
Africa and Middle East (m ltrs) 6,521.90 6,843.50