The Dutch are drinking less beer and sales overall fell 5.6% last year, with ordinary light lager taking the biggest hit, figures from sector organisation Nederlandse Brouwers show.
Bad summer weather, high prices, and the rising popularity of special and low-alcohol beers are to blame, the organisation said . Light lager, or pilsner, was good for over 90% of beer sales, but has plummeted to just under 80% over the last 10 years in a shrinking beer market.
“Alcohol-free beer has been the motor of beer sales,” Fred Teeven, director of Nederlandse Brouwers said. Last year, low-alcohol special beers were among the more popular beers.
The sale of alcohol-free beer has stabilised and its prospects for this year are not good, Teeven said, unless it is exempted from the tax hike on soft drinks from eight cents to 26 cents per 100 litres.
“We are calling for 0% tax on alcohol-free beer. The breweries have made a deal with the government to promote the sale of alcohol-free beer. That is now being undermined by the tax hike,” Teeven said.
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