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Lagers and Bitters on the rise

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

For the first time since the economic crisis began, global sales of beer increased, by a notable 2.3%. The improvement in consumer confidence, the absence of a tax hike, and the 65 million foreigners that visited Spain in 2014 helped reinforce the improvements that began in 2013, according to the Socio-Economic Report on Beer, presented on May 14th at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

Beer consumption also benefited from greater consumer confidence, as evidenced by the increase by more than 3% compared with the previous year. Beer production also expanded, with companies producing more than 33.6 million hectoliters, 2.8% more than in 2013. In view of this data, Spain ranks fourth in terms of production in the European Union and tenth worldwide.

These good industry figures are attributable to several factors. The first is the improvement in economic confidence, as reflected in the Consumer Confidence Indicator, for which the June 2014 reading was in line with that of 2011. The second is the excellent performance by the tourism industry, which played a crucial role in strengthening the recovery.

Strong alliance with the hospitality sector

The hospitality and beer industries are natural allies and, after a few difficult years, synergies were reinforced in 2014. According to data from the Hospitality and Catering Federation (FEHR), bar and restaurant revenues increased by 3.3% last year, an improvement to which beer contributed. Sales of beer in bars and restaurants rose by 3.6% with respect to 2013.

Contribution to national wealth

Beer represents 1.4% of GDP, and is the alcoholic beverage with the greatest contribution to the Spanish economy, due to the taxes paid and jobs created. The beer industry creates 257,000 jobs, of which 87.3% are in the hospitality sector and 20,900 in supplier sectors, mainly agriculture.

As regards taxes, the Spanish government collects around 3.4 billion euros. Of the total, 75% come from consumption in bars and restaurants due to contributions to Social Security and Personal Income Tax attributable to the jobs created by the sector. According to Jacobo Olalla, General Director of the Brewers of Spain, "Maintaining the level of confidence in the recovery as well as the industry's taxation system will be essential to continue creating jobs and contributing more than 7 billion euros to Spain in added value".

Recognition beyond Spain's borders

The commitment to internationalization and product quality have played a key role in the Spanish beer sector's process of establishing a name for itself around the world. The upward trend continued for the fifth consecutive year in 2014, and exports increased by 28%.

The 1.7 million hectoliters sold outside Spain last year is almost triple the volume sold internationally five years ago. Moreover, the arrival of tourists from other traditional beer-drinking countries helps raise the profile of Spanish beer. According to a study by the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation (FIAB), beer is among the nine products foreign visitors remember most after visiting Spain.

Commitment to the environment

The beer industry was a pioneer in reducing the impact of its packaging on the environment, and in 2014 it recovered 80% through recycling and reuse. The sector also maximized its use of natural resources and reduced energy use per hectoliter of beer produced by 8%, savings equivalent to consumption by more than 7,500 households. It's also worth noting that 2.3% of energy came from renewable sources in 2012, compared with 48% in 2014.

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01/08/2017