News Column

Cheap Beer in Jeopardy as German Breweries Hike Prices

July 26, 2013

Across-the-board hikes in the price of beer could bring an end to 20 years of happy hour for the lovers of Germany's favourite alcoholic drink, an industry leader said Friday.

Three national beverage groups - Bitburger, Krombacher and Radeberger - have announced price rises this autumn.

While bars are likely to pass on the rises to customers, it remains unclear whether supermarket chains will follow suit.

Chains routinely sell 20 half-litre bottles of standard pilsner beer for 10 euros or less. The greater part of Germany's beer is consumed at home, not in bars.

Grocers often use beer as a "loss leader," accepting zero profit so as to entice shoppers into their stores to buy other goods.

Guenther Guder, head of the German Beverage Wholesaler Distributors Federation GFGH, told dpa, "These seems to be the broadest price hikes in the German beer market since 2008." But he noted supermarkets did not pass on the rises of five years ago.

Three-quarters of supermarket pilsner sold by the case was going out the door at cut price, and shoppers were taking home beer at the same price as they paid 20 years ago, he said. It was still unclear if the price at the supermarket checkout really would rise, he said.

Radeberger Group confirmed Friday it would hike prices for its 40 brands by varying levels on November 1. It and other chains said the rises were necessitated by the higher cost of ingredients, energy and glass bottles. Bitburger plans rises on October 1.

Krombacher said in May, "We will increase brewery-gate prices for all the different packagings by 5 to 8 per cent."

For more stories covering business, please see HispanicBusiness' Business Channel

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters