February 1, 2018 / 12:17 PM / 10 months ago

World Cup hangover weighs on German beer sales

FILE PHOTO - A waiter carries mugs of beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s beer sales continued their long-term decline last year as the effects of a short-term spike driven by the country’s 2014 soccer World Cup success wore off, the federal statistics office said on Thursday.

Last year German brewers sold 93,5 million hectolitres of beer, down 2.5 percent from 2016. Domestic sales fell by 2.3 percent and export sales by 3.1 percent.

Once the world’s largest beer consumer, Germany’s consumption has dropped by 17 percent since 1993, but euphoria surrounding the national soccer team’s victory in the 2014 World Cup appeared to have checked the decline.

Sales rose 1.1 percent that year and remained stable in the following two years.

The decline in last year’s exports was a result of market saturation in China, the German Brewers Association said, holding out hope that soccer could again drive a return to growth in 2018.

“The World Cup could provide important impulses for the industry,” the association’s head Holger Eichele said, reeferring this summer’s tournament in Russia.

Eichele said that a growing number of non-alcoholic beer brands, which are not included in the official statistics, would make a positive contribution to breweries in the long term.

Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by David Goodman

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