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The Beer Industry Is Not Out of the Woods Yet

Across the globe, the beer sector suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic in the early stages of 2020. In some countries – such as South Africa – alcohol consumption was restricted, while others – like Mexico – classified brewing as a non-essential activity and ceased beer production.

“In most countries, consumers faced a lockdown and the on-premise channel was closed, creating varying degrees of pain for nearly all brewers,” according to Francois Sonneville, Senior Analyst – Beverages at Rabobank .

“In North America, the overall market has held up relatively well, helped by its reliance on off-trade sales and stellar e-commerce growth. Brewers large and small have proved surprisingly nimble and adaptable – which may lead to notable changes to the on-premise moving forward,” says Sonneville. Craft brewers, who are more dependent on the on-trade, have so far avoided closures, although the winter might impact those dependent on outdoor seating.

Rabobank Beer Quarterly Q4 2020

Beer Quarterly Q4 statistics 2020


In Europe, on-trade markets have been hit hard, especially in tourist areas, and beer going stale in kegs has caused additional problems. As new Covid cases are on the rise and the risk of a second lockdown increases, chain integration might help to lower costs.

Despite a sharp recovery in China, the loss of summer sales will hang over 2020 Asian beer volumes. As China comprises 70% of total Asian beer consumption, it is critical to recovery. Thailand and Japan have shown smart recoveries in Q3 2020. For the rest of Asia, specifically, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, there are mixed fortunes.

For more information
Please contact the report’s authors:

Francois Sonneville,, +44 207 809 3811

Further information:
Rabobank press office,, +31 30 216 2758


Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has nearly 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of about 8.6 million clients worldwide through a network of close to 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of the country's leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the New Zealand food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 32 branches throughout New Zealand.


Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 04 819 2711 or 027 477 8153

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: +612 8115 2744 or +61 2 439 603 525