Norwegian craft beer production

<< 2013-02-17 11:14 >>

Knut Albert celebrating the craft beer revolution

Following my analysis of the Norwegian craft beer market some people were wondering what the graph of total craft brewery output would look like. Well, that's not an easy thing to come by, given that there's almost 60 breweries in Norway now. However, I was able to get figures for the main craft breweries, and a couple of smaller breweries.

The diagram below is the total beer production in liters for Nøgne Ø, Haandbryggeriet, Ægir and Kinn. It also includes Amundsen in Oslo, and Lillehammer Bryggeri. Many thanks to the breweries for sending me these figures.

The numbers pretty much speak for themselves.

Craft beer production

So, basically, we start out with 30,000 liters in 2003, and wind up with 1.7 million liters in 2012. So production has increased by a factor of 60 over the last decade. That's the equivalent of roughly 57% growth every year. This in a market where overall beer sales fall by a few percent every year. What's interesting is that none of the six breweries have reported a single case of falling sales. All of them (except Lillehammer Bryggeri) have had increasing sales every year.

So, clearly, talk of a craft beer explosion is entirely justified.

What we should remember, of course, is that craft beer is still only a minor part of the beer market in Norway. The president of the Brewery Association wrote in private email that the craft brewers made up 1.6% of overall Norwegian beer production. The Brewery Association gives the total as 231 million liters in 2012. That puts total craft beer production at 3.7 million liters, which I guess must then include the craft-like products of Hansa and Aass, as well as borderline brewers like Lervig and Berentsen.

By comparison, craft beer made up 5.7% of the total beer market in the US in 2011 (and had 13% growth). In Denmark, craft beer is 4.5% of the market. Both of these countries started their craft brewing revolutions well before Norway, and have gotten much further, which means there is little reason to believe that Norwegian craft beer sales are going to fall. In fact, Denmark had 1.8% craft beer sales already in 2005, and craft beer is still growing there, despite the number of breweries having leveled off in the last couple of years.

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Dave Pawson - 2013-02-17 05:24:19

I.e. Norway likes 'real' beer (ale), compared to ... whatever you want to call the mass market products.

I would guess UK sales of 'real ale' are similar. It has taste Lars, that is what differentiates it from plastic ale.

Lars Marius - 2013-02-17 05:34:37

@Dave: Yes, real ale seems to be doing very well in the UK, and US-style craft beer, too. Both types are fine by me, and, as you say, it's having taste that distinguishes it from old-fashioned macro beer.

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