A study conducted by Ernst & Young has confirmed that Europe is the most important region in the world for beer production.
 
The study, entitled 'The contribution made by beer to the European economy', was published yesterday (11 May) by trade body The Brewers of Europe.

The Brussels-based group claimed it was the first report to comprehensively quantify the economic contribution of the brewing sector in Europe.
 
According to the report, there are more than 3,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe's brewing sector, which helped to foster Europe's regional development and the competitiveness of its agriculture. Europe is the world's largest beer producer followed by China and then the US. Of the seven largest brewers in the world, four are European.
 
The report also estimated that the total employment effect of the brewing sector in the EU amounts to 2.6m. Direct employment from brewing in the EU is put at 164,000, but indirect employment is significant. According to the study, for each job offered in the brewing sector, one job is generated in retail, two in supply sectors and almost 12 in the hospitality sector, as well as 147,000 jobs in agriculture.
 
The brewing industry generates total tax revenues of around EUR39bn (US$50.4bn), more than the annual government expenditure of Finland or Poland, the report claimed.
 
The total contribution of the brewing sector to the European economy in terms of value added is EUR57.5bn, the report said, equivalent to the GDP of the Polish or Austrian economy in the last quarter of 2004.