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Local ale Hot weather and microbreweries boost Swiss beer sales

The brewer Christophe Haeni tastes a beer at the microbrewery 'Garage'

The brewer Christophe Haeni tastes a beer at the brewery "Garage", which is part of the restaurant and bar "Barbiere", pictured in Bern, Switzerland

(Keystone)

The Swiss beer market recovered last year thanks to the hot weather, as well as the continued boom in microbreweries and thirst for local craft beers. 

The Swiss beer market grew by 1.8% to 469 million litres (124 million gallons) between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018. This follows a steady downward trend in beer drinking in recent years. 

Sales of local beers rose by 3.9% and now represent almost 77% of the market. At the same time, sales of imported beers fell by 4.6% to 110 million litres, the Swiss Breweries Association (SBA) said on Tuesday.external link

Part of the increase in domestic beer sales was down to the high spring and summer temperatures, which the SBA said created more opportunities for consumption during outdoor activities and socialising. April, May and July were particularly good months for business. 

Meanwhile, the boom in small local breweries continues. At the end of October there were 995 registered, compared to 833 a year earlier; this represents one of the highest densities in the world.

"The brewery boom, far from running out of steam, is accelerating," the SBA said.

Around 99% of all beer produced in Switzerland comes from only 51 professional breweries, which each sell over 100,000 litres a year. 

The SBA warned that despite the boom in local breweries, in the future the sector may face a shortage of trained specialists. Only ten apprentices complete specialist professional training courses as brewers every year.

At 55 litres of beer per resident, Switzerland nonetheless remains a small beer nation. The biggest beer drinkers, according to a survey by the Japanese beer firm Kirin, are the Czechs (143.3 litres per resident), followed by Namibia (108 litres), Austria (106 litres), Germany (104 litres) and Poland (101 litres).

Keystone SDA/sb

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