European beer production hit an eight-year high in 2017, with nearly 39.7 billion liters brewed. As published in a report by trade organization The Brewers of Europe, the year’s statistics highlight record exports, a growing trend for low- and no-alcohol beers, and an “unprecedented boom” in microbreweries and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“In one year alone, the number of breweries active in the EU grew by nearly one thousand,” president of the organization Pavlos Photiades writes in the report’s foreword. “In the last five years, the number of microbreweries has doubled, and the European Union now counts an estimated 9,500 breweries!”
Microbreweries and SMEs now account for three-quarters of the EU’s active brewers. The U.K. has the most breweries with 2,430, while Germany has the largest output at 93 million liters.
The Czech Republic is the thirstiest nation, meanwhile, with an average consumption of 138 liters (291 pints) per person. Part of this consumption comprises no- and low-alcohol beer, a category that now accounts for 6 percent of the EU’s total output.
While the rise in production is without-a-doubt good news for European drinkers, the increase also has positive economic effects. The EU’s brewing sector generates more than 2 million jobs and contributes $57 billion to the region’s economy.