In heaven there is no beer, but fewer Germans are drinking it here, according to an article by Knowledge@Wharton.
More than 41 large and 182 medium-sized German breweries have closed since 2000 and Berlin, which boasted 700 breweries in the early 19th century, now has only about 12, the story in the online magazine published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School notes.
Is anyone paying Achtung to this? Consultants Ernest & Young are. Their report found that: “27,570 people were employed in German breweries in 2010, with another 414,000 hospitality jobs and 17,400 retail sector jobs attributed to the sale of beer. This represents a decline of 11,000 jobs, compared to 2008. A further decline in this industry can have significant consequences for the German economy.”
What’s slowing the bending of Germanic elbows? The article notes changes in demographics, stronger penalties for drunken driving and an emphasis on healthy living. Moreover, German biermeisters have been swept away by foreign players, as in Munich, where five out of six producers are owned by global corporations.
For example, Lowenbrau, founded in Munich around 1348, has been owned since 2004 by Anheuser-Busch InBev, (BUD) a Belgian-Brazilian conglomerate.
What complicates matters is that German beer is not exported in large quantities. No German beer is in the Top 20 worldwide, the article says.
Is an Oktoberfest for teetotalers in Munich’s future?
Perhaps not. But according to Knowledge@Wharton, experts would toast any effort by the German government to develop a long-term marketing and branding campaign before the industry loses its suds.
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