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Craft Beer in Germany. New Entries in a Challenging Beer Market


Triggered by technical change in the nineteenth and twentieth century, national and global beer markets have experienced a process of concentration (Poelmans and Swinnen 2011). This process saw a shift in several countries recently, associated with an increased interest in small-scale production and craft beer.


  • Craft Beer
  • Beer Market
  • Craft Breweries
  • Microbreweries
  • Tied House System

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Fig. 7.1

Note Missing production data from 1993 to 1998 were generated by interpolation. Consumption is defined as: Consumption = Production + Imports − Exports.

Fig. 7.2
Fig. 7.3
Fig. 7.4
Fig. 7.5
Fig. 7.6
Fig. 7.7
Fig. 7.8
Fig. 7.9


  1. 1.

    This pattern of the data allows us to run panel data econometric techniques such as pooled OLS, fixed effects, and random effects estimation techniques to causally identify the effect of market concentration on growth of breweries. However, this chapter only reports results of the analysis.

  2. 2.

    A peak in 1990 is likely to be affected by data reporting problems due to the German reunification.

  3. 3.

    The exact name is: “Fachbereich 14, Reihe 9.2.2 Brauwirtschaft”.

  4. 4.

    One liter beer weights approximately 989 g, depending on the content of alcohol.

  5. 5.

    Income, retirement payments, and part of private savings were exchanged from East to West German currency at a rate of 1:1, other deposits and debts were exchanged at rate 2:1.

  6. 6.

    Consumption fell from 91.5 billion hl in 2005 to 80.3 billion hl in 2014 while exports increased from 13.9 to 15.4 billion hl. (We refer to 2014 here because final quantities for 2015 are not available yet.)

  7. 7.

    In absolute numbers, this is a decrease from 52 to 46 breweries.

  8. 8.

    We chose this time span to avoid complications due to the German reunification.

  9. 9.

    This finding persists if Bavaria is excluded from the sample.

  10. 10.

    Due to the u-shaped form of the function, the predicted change would be positive again if there were more than 98 breweries per one million inhabitants. This does not have practical relevance, though, as the value lies far above the values observed for the time span in question. Overall, due to a low number of observations at very low concentration levels, the slight reduction in the negative effect at the right end of the distribution should be interpreted with caution.

  11. 11.

    For Germany, we use the term “craft beer” as it reaches the most queries compared to other terms, including misspelled terms such as “craftbeer,” “craft bier,” and “craftbier.” German terms with the same meaning, for example “handwerklich gebrautes Bier,” are virtually absent in the queries.


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We are particularly thankful for valuable support of our research assistant Wiebke Nieberg, and Saskia Wagner. Financial support of the DFG is gratefully acknowledged.

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Depenbusch, L., Ehrich, M., Pfizenmaier, U. (2018). Craft Beer in Germany. New Entries in a Challenging Beer Market. In: Garavaglia, C., Swinnen, J. (eds) Economic Perspectives on Craft Beer. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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