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Business

Global brewery output falls for three years straight

Beer less popular in established markets, developing Asia quaffing more

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China's Tsingtao Brewery saw a 39% drop in profits in 2016 as demand for beer leveled off in many established markets.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The world's breweries produced steadily less in aggregate in 2014, 2015, and 2016 because of beer's reduced popularity in the world's three largest markets: China, the U.S., and Brazil.

In 2016, the world produced a total of 190.9 million kiloliters of beer, an 0.6% decline year on year according to a survey by Kirin Holdings of 177 countries and regions.

The top three markets consume 40% of the total. Beer production in China, the U.S. and Brazil declined by 3.7%, 0.7%, and 13.3% respectively in 2016 year on year, but rose by 11.2% in Vietnam and 8.1% in Mexico.

While dwarfing all other beer markets for 15 years, Kirin said China's production slipped back to 41.4 million kiloliters in 2016 because it is a "maturing alcoholic beverage market" -- and it also suffered some bad summer weather.

Top brewers China Resources Beer and Tsingtao Brewery both felt the pinch in 2016. Tsingtao's net profits slumped 39% to 1.04 billion yuan ($160 million), while China Resources Beer, which brews the popular Snow lager brand, slipped 6% to 629 million yuan.

Asia's beer markets

As craft beers continue to make inroads and add sophistication to the market globally, Asia accounted for one-third of global brewery output in 2016. The Philippines saw growth of 5.8% year on year, and produced 1.5 million kiloliters -- spurred by "powerful economic growth" according to Kirin. In the same period, India increased 4.2% to 2.1 million kiloliters, and Thailand was up by 2% to 2.2 million kiloliters.

Asia's ascendancy in the past decade has been steady. Vietnam has seen beer production rise 224.6% to 4 million kiloliters, moving it up the global rankings from 24th to 9th position. More developed markets like China, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand have increased less dramatically by about 20-25% in the same period.

(Nikkei)

Nikkei staff writer Mariko Tai in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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