Have you ever stopped to wonder what countries drink the most beer in the world? You aren’t alone. Kirin Holdings Company, Limited, decided to answer that question and studied beer consumption around the globe. Based on Kirin’s most recent statistics, here’s a look at the eight countries that consume the most beer per capita.
Namibia comes in eight in the latest rankings at 83.2 liters. Previously, Namibia was number two on the list, dropping six places in a year. Surprised that this African nation is so high on the list? German colonization played a role in shaping today’s beer culture there. While no longer mandated, the German purity law of 1516, which states that beer can only have water, barley and hops, remains in force by choice. Namibia takes its beer seriously, and some craft brewers have even started experimenting with local flavors, like rooibos, the popular red bush used for tea production.
Spain jumps up three places on the most recent list with 87.3 liters. Spain’s consumption of beer can certainly be linked to the number of active breweries, which has skyrocketed in the country. In 2010, there were only 65 active brewers. That number has risen each year, and by 2017, there were already 521 active brewers in Spain.
Ireland has held strong at the number six spot for two years in a row. It may surprise you to learn that beer consumption in Ireland has decreased in recent years. In 2017, the Irish economy experienced rapid growth, but beer consumption per capita fell 1.4%, accounting for just under 45% market share for all alcohol consumption that year.
Romania comes in at number five, up two places in the recent study. Romania might not be a country you equate with beer production, but they have been brewing beer here for hundreds of years. The Timisoreana brewery was founded here in 1718.
The Polish beer market has experienced significant growth in recent years and moved up one spot with 99.4 liters per person. Brewers are also starting to experiment more with flavors and techniques, like incorporating smoked prunes from Krakow into a beer.
Germany is a powerhouse when it comes to beer production and beer consumption year-round, not just during Oktoberfest. Germans consume an average of 100.1 liters per person each year. Germany had 1,333 active brewers by 2010. That number rose slightly to 1,408 by 2016, with 738 active microbreweries. In 2017, 82 new breweries popped up around the country, representing the same number that opened within the eight years before that.
If you visit Austria in the warmer months, you’ll find the beer gardens packed with locals and tourists enjoying a local beer. If you want to try the widest selection of Austrian beers, head to Mühlviertel, which is the largest hop-growing region in Austria.
Not surprisingly, the country that consumes the most beer per capita is the Czech Republic at 183.1 liters per person — a distinction they hold for the 25th consecutive year. With a bottle of water costing more than a beer, it’s no wonder why the Czech Republic’s beer consumption is so high. The love of beer here dates back centuries. It is believed hops may have been grown in the region as early as the first century, but written documentation confirms there was active brewing by 993 A.D.