Visualization in Journalism

Beer consumption around Europe:
M100 Young European Journalists Workshop
8./11. September 2014 at University of Applied
Sciences Potsdam

Beer consumption around Europe:

Who drinks more and pays less?

By Nikola Simic, Iulian Birzoi, Petr Obrovsky and Kirill Artemenko
Under the supervision of Lionel Michel

The story is based on data from 17 home countries of the participants of M100 Young European Journalists workshop. Unfortunately, we were not able to collect the data in case of Armenia and Georgia. Prices in Euros have been taken from a website where they are set by the visitors themselves – everybody can report a price of a pint of beer in any of the 206 listed countries (a pint is conceived here as half a litre of beer).

Graph 1 Annual consumption of beer per capita for all 17 countries

The data concerning beer per-capita consumption are derived mainly from the irin Beer University Report about global beer consumption in 2012. Kirin Beer University is a virtual university, established in 2001, providing information and data about beer consumption. It is operated by Kirin Brewery Company headquartered in Japan. The report is based on findings obtained from questionnaires sent to brewer’s associations around the world and the latest industry statistics. Kirin has been tracking global beer consumption since 1975. As the report does not include data for all the selected countries, it has been supplemented by other sources (see below). Finally, average net earnings in respective countries have been found on websites of official institutions responsible for gathering and publishing statistics, mainly Eurostat (see below for details).

And what are the results? When it comes to beer consumption, the Czech Republic is the leading country with its 297 pints per capita annually (it is ranked first not only among M100 participants, but also worldwide). The beer culture is very strong in Germany, Poland or Ireland too. On the other hand, the French and Italians are not big beer-drinkers - their annual per-capita consumption oscillates around 60 pints per year.

1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 0.5 60 80 100 120 140 180 160 200 220 240 260 Belarus Belgium Croatia Czech Republic France Germany Ireland Italy Poland Portugal Romania Russia Serbia Slovakia Spain Netherlands Ukraine 5.0 280 300

Graph 2 Annual consumption per capita

Concerning money, the data give a completely different order. Ireland pays the most since its beer consumption is relatively high — the same goes for prices. An average Irish spends on beer 861 euros yearly. Belarus and Ukraine are on the opposite side of the ranking spending less than 100 euros a year. The most interesting findings emerge when we relate the total amounts spent on beer with average net earnings in respective countries. Compared to per capita consumption, it’s clear that some nations simply drink less and pay more for it. For example, people in Russia spend 2.7 % of their annual budget on beer as the Czechs do - but their consumption is only half.

77.77: Belarus, 77.77216.08: Belgium, 216.08316.11: Croatia, 316.11243.7: Czech Republic, 243.7321.6: France, 321.6547.48: Germany, 547.48861.11: Ireland, 861.11262.74: Italy, 262.74287.62: Poland, 287.62205.64: Portugal, 205.64189.7: Romania, 189.7214.89: Russia, 214.89142.56: Serbia, 142.56132.16: Slovakia, 132.16265.39: Spain, 265.39293.72: The Netherlands, 293.7271.46: Ukraine, 71.46

Graph 3 Annual spending per capita

It is necessary to stress that this is only an illustrative example. First, the beer prices are average amounts for the whole countries (moreover, extracted from entries of internet users). They may be incorrect or change depending on location (capital city/countryside), point of purchase (supermarket/grocery/bar/restaurant), type and brand of beer etc. Second, the data regarding beer consumption and wages come from different sources (thus different methodologies) and refer to the year 2012. Nevertheless, we still hope it offers interesting insights. The analysis takes into account only European countries – what about the rest of the world? Interestingly enough, emerging markets are the territories where producers have focused their attention the most. Population growth together with economic growth and increasing per-capita income lead to an expansion of demand. The most growing regions of these days are Asia and Latin America with countries like China (which is the largest beer market in the world), India, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil or Argentina. Asia and Latin America accounted for approximately 50 % of the global beer market in 2012 (Europe’s share was 28 %, North America’s 14 %).

Sources of data concerning beer consumption

Sources of data about average net earnings

  • Eurostat
  • Croatian Bureau of Statistics
  • Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation
  • Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia
  • State Statistics Service of Ukraine
  • National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus