Getting back to bars, pubs, cafés and festivals with friends, family and the local community will be a symbol of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and will also help to reignite the whole European economy and rebuild society, according to The Brewers of Europe, the trade body representing the interests of Europe’s 11,000 breweries.

Following today’s publication of a new report on Covid’s impact on the beer trade, The Brewers of Europe says a full recovery can ensure the return of over 800,000 jobs lost in beer hospitality in 2020 when sales in bars, pubs and restaurants collapsed by over 40% due to restrictions and closures.

With continued targeted support, governments can also expect to receive around €11 billion in extra tax revenues if beer hospitality can just return to pre-pandemic levels of activity. The beer value chain bouncing back to pre-Covid levels would also bring €13 billion in value added back into the European economy.

Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, Secretary General of The Brewers of Europe said, “As we look ahead to the recovery, we need to get the reopening right. We need clarity and certainty. A thriving hospitality sector is a key to the wider recovery, including as an important symbol of consumer confidence. With targeted support, beer hospitality can lift the economy, bring in much needed government revenues and boost jobs all along the brewing, production and hospitality value chain. Bars and pubs can once again become pillars of the local community – and with it, the economy.”

On the other hand, with much of Europe still in lockdown or under tight restrictions again, particularly in the hospitality sector, this kickstart is still tantalisingly just out of reach. The long wait is having a devastating effect on social lives, livelihoods, culture, the economy and government finances.

With a safe, secure and sustainable future absolutely vital, hospitality venues, event organisers, breweries and the whole supply chain need help to bridge the gap, not just towards first and partial re-openings, but towards full recovery. The Brewers of Europe and our partners have consistently called for support from governments, such as prolonged temporary unemployment benefits, flexible liquidity grants, reduced VAT rates in hospitality and targeted excise relief for hard-hit sectors. These same governments stand to benefit significantly from a revitalised social economy if they get behind beer hospitality.

Europe Economics’ Beer Covid Impact Report shows how much the beer hospitality trade has suffered and the impact on the jobs, value and tax revenues generated by beer. In 2020, beer sold on-trade dropped 42% compared to 2019, from 126 million hectolitres to 73 million hectolitres.

With a small increase in retail beer sales only picking up part of the slack, there was a net fall of 34 million hectolitres, or 9%, in the total volume of beer sold in Europe in 2020, wiping over €3 billion off the value of beer production in a single year. Jobs generated in the beer value chain fell by an estimated one third in 2020, from 2.6 million people to 1.8 million, with the vast majority of these losses being in beer hospitality, but jobs also being lost in supply and distribution.

Mr Bergeron added, “We are becoming more sustainable in our practices and more aligned with our local environment. We are getting more creative in our brewing methods and our range of beers. And we are leading the way in responsible drinking, including through the low alcohol choices on offer. As Europe plans its recovery, we are ready to play our role in driving the economy, continuing our push for greener practices, and rebuilding the local communities.”

Many hospitality establishments will unfortunately never reopen, even after the lockdown ends. However, many in the sector have weathered the crisis, made the necessary investments to ensure Covid-safe environments, and will be ready to again serve beer to our consumers when they return to the bar.

New report:


Simon Spillane, Communications and Public Affairs Director,

About The Brewers of Europe

Based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe brings together national brewers’ associations from 29 European countries and provides a voice to support the united interests of Europe’s 11,000 breweries. The Brewers of Europe promotes the positive role played by beer and the brewing sector in Europe and advocates the creation of the right conditions to allow brewers to continue to freely, cost-effectively and responsibly brew and market beer across Europe. Follow us on Twitter and visit our website.