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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
28 May, 2020

Brewing news World: Beer and sparkling wine sales could take four years to return to normal - research

Strong off-trade sales and a fast-growing e-commerce market have not been enough to keep drinks producers ticking over during lockdown, according to new figures, The Drinks Business reported on May 27.

As a whole, drinks producers worldwide will suffer “double-digit” declines in sales this year, according to research from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

Mark Meek, chief executive of IWSR, said that bar and restaurant closures will have a long-lasting effect on the alcohol industry worse than “anything we’ve experienced before.”

During a webinar on Tuesday (26 May) outlining the firm’s new study, Meek said the global pandemic is the worst crisis the sector has faced in living memory. Beer and sparkling wine sales will take four years to return to normal, while some categories may never recover.

“Even the downturn following the 2008 financial crisis was less severe than what we are seeing now.

“In many ways, 2019 was perhaps the last ‘normal’ year for the drinks industry.”

Brewers may be among the first producers to see some level of normality in their sales, IWSR analysts believe.

Globally, beer sales grew 0.3% in volume and +2.2% in value in 2019, which was led by increases in non-alcoholic beer (+15.2% in volume, vs. 2018).

Companies like AB InBev, Molson Coors and Carlsberg have already suffered hefty revenue declines thanks to global lockdowns, but Meek said there are some reasons to be optimistic for the future.

If brewers focus their attention on low ABV beer, they could return to growth faster. Last week, another market researcher (Nielsen) reported that off-trade and online sales of low alcohol beer had risen 44% compared to the same period last year.

“The outlook for continued growth of no- alcohol beer remains positive,” IWSR said, predicting the category to grow 8.1% CAGR by 2024.

In total, beer is expected to reach 2019 volumes by 2024, “rebounding better than wine and spirits.”


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