More beer than ever before

Surpassing Europe in beer production, if not per capita consumption

Nguyen Huy Kham/Reuters

The stereotype of the lager-swilling German in a Munich bierhalle or the Guinness-guzzling Irish pub patron may soon be usurped by Asia’s great thirst for beer: the continent now brews more than Europe.

According to the research arm of Japan’s Kirin brewery, Asia has surpassed Europe as the world’s leading beer producer for the first time in history—or since records for world beer production began in 1974. Last year, when Europe’s beer output shrank by 5.1 per cent, Asia saw a 5.5 per cent surge in production. This upswing was fuelled by Vietnam, which had a 24 per cent rise in manufacturing, and whose beer—Hanoi, Saigon—is enjoyed the world over. India followed with a 12 per cent production increase, while China’s beer output grew by seven per cent last year.

While impressive, though, Asia’s brewing boon should not be equated with a rise in per capita consumption. Analysts at Credit Suisse determined that an average of 80 litres per year is consumed in developed countries, compared to 32 in China, and one in India.

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