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The beer crisis: Covid burns 1.4 billion euros and 15 thousand jobs

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Covid canceled a decade of growth, burned 1.4 billion euros in turnover and 15 thousand jobs. 2020 was, in some ways, the zero year of beer, while 2021 is the one of partial recovery. This is what emerges from the Beer Observatory presented on the occasion of the 5th Report “The creation of shared value in the beer sector in Italy”, created by Althesys. To calculate turnover in the form of “shared value”, the study analyzed all stages of the beer supply chain (raw material procurement, production, logistics, distribution and sales), considering the direct effects (added value, tax contribution, employment, etc.) of the activities of the Italian brewing industry, indirect and induced ones.

The crisis of last year (-15% of shared value, -8% of beer production, -9.6% of employment) caused the sector to lose almost 1.4 billion euros and about 15 thousand jobs (14,634) along the entire supply chain, especially in the Ho.Re.Ca., bringing the “weight” of beer back to the levels of 4-5 years ago. The first six months of 2021 show a recovery compared to the same period of the previous year, but they are not enough to fill the collapse (-22%) of January-June 2020. And although 635 million euros were recovered between January and June , the balance compared to the first quarter of 2019 is negative for 249.2 million euros.

Consume at home. Out-of-home consumption, which represents the main channel with a shared value of 4.38 billion and where most of the losses are concentrated: 1.63 billion. In this year and a half, however, the Italians’ desire for beer has not ceased: in large-scale distribution, purchases of beer have grown from 1.36 to 1.87 billion euros.

Strategic sector. Even in difficulties, beer continues to be a strategic sector of Italy’s food. The 8.1 billion euros of shared value created by the beer industry in 2020 correspond to half a percentage point (0.49%) of GDP and 60% of the production value of the alcoholic beverages sector. For this reason, the Observatory underlines how “beer can and must be the engine of the country’s recovery because it has not brought wealth only to those who produce it: every euro of beer sold generates 5.4 along the entire supply chain. Distribution and sales made the lion’s share (6,262 million euros), while the beer supply chain made a good contribution to the state coffers: 3,768 million euros in VAT, taxes and contributions on income and work. In addition, the beer supply chain has distributed 2,381 million euros in wages, giving work to over 93 thousand families, with a value of about 30 employees for each production employee ».

The bet. “Italians are increasingly curious about the world of beer, which they consume mainly with a meal or close to the meal. Quality, differentiation and culture of beer are the key words that distinguish the beer phenomenon in Italy, and they are also those to support its recovery and make the category grow again “says Wietse Mutters, CEO of Heineken Italia who then adds:” To develop the culture of beer and promote responsible consumption, we have been collaborating for years with professionals from outside the home, precisely those who include beer in their gastronomic offer and tell Italians about the history, the ingredients, the naturalness, the richness of tastes, the pairings, the service of this extraordinary drink. We have chosen to focus on two local beers such as Ichnusa and Birra Messina, which have become national phenomena, while Birra Moretti has become a ‘global brand’, present in about 50 countries “.

Growth. In 2019 the supply chain generated almost 10 billion euros of shared value, giving work to 108 thousand families (+ 18% compared to 2018) and paying contributions to the state for 4.5 billion euros (+ 8% in 3 years). Production jumped by + 35% from 2009 to 2019, with 36.1% of consumption concentrated in the Ho.Re.Ca. and a share, even 63%, of the shared value that belonged to bars, hotels, restaurants and pizzerias, by virtue of a considerable added value.

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