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Beer Production Still Under Pre-Pandemic Levels

06 February 2023

Sales of Hungarian beer companies increased last year compared to the previous year, but still lagged behind 2019, with domestic production in 2022 close to 2021 levels. Continuing the trend of previous years, the share of premium, super-premium and non-alcoholic beers among the products continued to rise.

The combined sales of the five largest beer producers in Hungary (Borsodi, Carlsberg, Dreher, Heineken and the largest small-scale brewery in the data analysis, Pécs Brewery) in 2022 were 6.463 million hectoliters, 1.3 % higher than in 2021 but 3.4 % lower than the 6.682 million hectoliters in 2019.

"Beer producers struggled hard last year with soaring energy and raw material prices and the resulting production difficulties, but looking back, they ended the year, albeit with difficulty, without any major setbacks," the Director of the Association of Hungarian Beer Producers, Sándor Kántor said.

Last year's domestic production was 5.567 million hectoliters, practically the same as in 2021, but 5.9 % lower than the 5.915 million hectoliters produced in 2019.

The contribution of the five largest Hungarian producers to the Hungarian budget's revenues increased by 9.3 %, well above turnover, to a total of HUF 85.7 billion in 2022, due to the expansion of the premium segment, the increase in excise duty and the extension of the NETA (‘public health product tax’), the director of the Beer Association said. He added that the companies also maintained the number of people they directly employed (1,617 people in 2022) and contributed to the retention of nearly 20,000 additional jobs in Hungarian agriculture, catering and trade.

Sándor Kántor pointed out that the performance of the HORECA sector (hotels, restaurants, cafés) remained below expectations, as shown by the low turnover of refillable packs in the sector. Last year's sales of 424,000 hectoliters of cask beer, although a third higher than the previous year, were still a quarter below the 2019 sales. The 920,000 hectoliters of refillable bottled beer sold in 2022, which is typical of the catering sector, was only 70 % of the pre-pandemic year.

Sales of the mid-range category, which account for more than half (56 %) of total sales, were flat at 3.34 million hectoliters in 2022, down 8 % from 3.637 million hectoliters in 2019. The turnover of economy products in the sales of the five largest Hungarian producers continued to fall, now accounting for only 8.4 %, just over half a million hectoliters.

The combined turnover of premium and super-premium beers has been growing steadily for the sixth year in a row, reaching almost 30 % of total sales in 2022, at 1.766 million hectoliters.

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