Home' Brewers Guardian Digital Magazine : September 2013 Contents in sales in a nine-month launch campaign. A new apple and
herbs variety followed from Veltins this spring. Heavily promot-
ed as a healthy Lifestyle product, Veltins Fassbrause is already
established as market number two, well ahead of similar ‘me
too’ brands from Krombacher and Holsten.
Total Fassbrause sales passed 200,000 hectolitres in 2012,
and the industry expects the speciality beer’s full potential will
only become clear from this summer as leading brands expand
distribution. Industry non-alcoholic output will exceed four mil-
lion hectolitres this year.
Fassbrause complements the Saarland brewer’s strong range
of biermix brands. Veltins V+ range remains market leader in
this category, although sales fell by almost fifteen per cent in
“As market leader, the slump in biermix sales has the biggest
impact on us,” acknowledges Veltins boss Michael Huber. Total
output rose 3.6 per cent to a record 2.79 million hl; turnover
was also up over three per cent at 289 million euros. Even core
pilsner brand Veltins lifted sales 2 per cent to 2.24 million hl.
Veltins is the only German brewer to buck the market with
consistent sales growth since 2009. That record will end in
2013, following price increases forced through in January. “We
don’t regret putting up prices, the loss of sales was factored into
our decision,” insists Huber. “Accepting lower volumes is an
investment in our brands and the future.”
Veltins is also one of many German brewers looking beyond
a dwindling domestic market for future growth. Exports rose
almost 10 per cent to 166,000 hl in 2012 as Veltins focused
on European markets such as Spain, Italy and the UK (following
a distribution deal with Fullers).
Worldwide, German beer has a reputation second to none,
yet few breweries have the global brand strength and funding to
follow Beck’s in decoupling from the German market. Many mit-
telstand (small to medium-sized family firms) traditionally focus
on their core regional market – even at the expense of potential
And growing exports is hard work when no German brewer
features in the global top 10 and the sector’s five biggest firms
now have only 2.2 per cent of world output. Exports rose to
15.3 million hl last year, but most observers fear Germany has
arrived too late to compete in future markets such as Asia.
Wheat beer continues to out-perform other traditional beer
segments. The Bavarian speciality now has a 10 per cent mar-
ket share. Leading wheat beer producers such as Paulaner and
AB InBev brand Franziskaner raised prices in the spring without
hitting sales. Prices per crate range from 13-15 euros – while one
or another premium pilsner brand is always on offer at 10 euros.
That said, Oettinger, Krombacher and Bitburger all plan to
raise pilsner prices this autumn, following a similar successful
move by Beck’s last spring. Price - hikes for leading brands left
AB InBev unable to repeat the five per cent growth achieved
in 2011, its best performance in Germany for many years.
The group is still well-placed to acquire further German
brands, but consolidation remains on hold as successful mit-
telstand breweries either value their independence or overvalue
While development of export markets is occurring unevenly for Germany’s
brewers, could success come from exporting the experience of German
beer drinking as much as the beers themselves?
Paulaner, the Munich brewer that today is part of Brau Holding
International, is busying itself rolling out its Braühaus concept around the
world. This year it has opened in Moscow and New York, upping its res-
taurant-microbrewery concept to 22 outlets around the world, with the Big
Apple outlet marking its first in the United States.
The offer is unabashedly Bavarian in style, with big beer gardens and
beers brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot from microbreweries
imported from Germany. “Nothing goes better with a hearty meal than a
freshly tapped Paulaner beer,” says Rafael Czapla, the brewmaster in charge
of the Moscow Braühaus.
While entering new countries with the concept, to-date, Paulaner gas-
tropubs would seem to have a distinctly Asian appeal, with 15 outlets in
China and many of these partnered with Kempinski Hotels. There are also
Braühaus in Jakarta, Indonesia, Singapore. A Braühaus located in Cape
Town, South Africa, closed in 2012 over a dispute about its property lease.
It is unknown as to whether it will reopen.
Beyond the gastropubs, Paulaner proudly claims to be the world’s best-
selling wheat beer. It is available in 74 countries worldwide. And it is in
growth - in Latin America, for example, sales have tripled since 2009, with
Brazil and Mexico leading the way.
A taste of bavaria abroad
High costs, low yields and falling demand have in any case
long taken the shine off Germany for global players. Huge
investments required to improve energy efficiency in face of
soaring energy costs are the latest industry headache.
Even the much-needed resolve to outface retailers and
consumers over beer prices comes with a sting in the tail.
The Federal Cartel Agency has reportedly uncovered evidence
of price-fixing agreements (involving 24 beers) among 11 as-
yet unnamed German breweries. Those involved could face
substantial fines when the agency publishes its findings later
Simon Jones is a London-based freelance journalist who
specialises in German business issues.
Beck’s: a successful price rise last year looks to set to copied by other
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