The coronavirus crisis caused a historic drop in beer consumption, sales and production in Spain during 2020. The closure of bars and restaurants during the months of confinement and the different restrictions on hotels and tourism have hit the beer sector hard. Specific, consumption decreased by 12%, up to 36.34 million hectoliters, according to the socioeconomic report of the sector in 2020. That is, 5 million hectoliters less than in 2019, thus cutting a streak of seven consecutive years of growth in this regard.
“It has been an atypical year,” summarized Jacobo Olalla, general manager of Cerveceros de España, an organization that represents 140 production centers. Undoubtedly, the most relevant data was the transfer that occurred in consumption in bars and restaurants to that in homes. To the point that for the first time the consumption of beers in households (56%) exceeded that carried out in the hospitality industry (44%). To put it in context, before the crisis, hotel establishments represented 70% of beer consumption in Spain.
The increase in beer consumption in homes did not compensate for the losses caused by the closure of the hotel business. Thus, 30% of opportunities to buy beer were lost in the hospitality or other channel, while its value decreased by 22%.
In the case of sales, these also fell by 12%. Specifically, 4.5 million hectoliters were lost, reaching 33.3 million. The turnover obtained through supermarkets and stores accounted for almost two-thirds of the total -20.2 million-, while that made through the hospitality industry was 12.8 million hectoliters. The drop in sales in the hospitality channel is historical, 37% less. «Small establishments 40% depend on beer. For the sector as a whole, it represents 25% of the turnover “, has indicated the general director of Hospitality of Spain, Emilio Gallego.
By quarter, sales have been very marked according to the health situation, although in the four periods of 2020 there were decreases. Thus, as the pandemic in Spain began in the second half of March, the first three months of the year registered a slight drop of 1.82%, to 7.49 million hectoliters. The second quarter, where beer sales generally sound considerably due to spring temperatures, suffered the biggest drop, with a drop of 24.78%, since they were the months of greatest restrictions.
The situation improved during the third quarter, where only 700,000 hectoliters of sales were lost. In the last quarter of the year, with the second wave of the coronavirus, sales fell again by 13.25%.
All these data also influenced production, which fell 12% in the sector as a whole, to 34.7 million hectoliters. It had a greater incidence in small producers, where the drop was 40%. In fact, 12% of these small producers, whose dependence on the hotel industry is greater, ended up ceasing its activity.
In this 2021, the situation in the first five months of the year has not improved much, as confirmed by Jacobo Olalla, where sales have fallen by 11% compared to 2019. Although he assures that they are «optimistic because 85% of the establishments stable are now open »does not expect to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022.