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Hungary beer consumption continues steady decline

Beer consumption in Hungary has fallen steadily for about two years and looks set to drop to an annual 68-67 liters per capita by the end of 2009 from 71 liters a year earlier, Hungarian Brewers Association chairman Imre Sivó said.

Market research data shows beer consumption fell 7% between 2007 and 2008, Sivó said. “Optimistic” estimates for 2009 put the decline at 5%, he added.

The decline is most obvious among premium and Hungarian brands, while consumption of cheap, low-quality beer remains stable.

Mr Sivo blamed the drop in consumption on higher prices, which brewers had to raise because of higher taxes.

The tax content of a bottle of beer is about HUF 60 in Hungary, more than twice the HUF 25-30 European average.

Hungary's brewing industry has been loss-making since the second half of 2007. It racked up losses of HUF 1.5 billion in 2008 and HUF 3 billion in 2009.

Hungary's beer industry is worth a net annual HUF 140 billion, of which HUF 55 billion goes to the state. (MTI – Econews)