Cheers: more beer and alcohol-free beer drunk in the Netherlands
New figures from the Dutch brewers’ association show the consumption of alcohol-free beer rose by more than a quarter last year, while the whole country drank 2.6% more beer than in 2014.
The lower alcohol trend is particularly noticeable when people go out: Dutch restaurants, bars and hotels sold 44% more alcohol-free varieties in 2015 and 35% more lower-alcohol beer mixes such as Radler.
Still, the vast majority of beer drunk was normal lager, with the country slurping 9.86 million hectolitres of the stuff last year, 85% of the total (one hectolitre is 100 litres). By contrast, alcohol-free beer made up 2.9% of sales, beer mixes 3.2% and speciality beers 8.4%.
According to the report, published on Wednesday, the growing demand for more types of beer (with special beers up 8%) has led to a growth in Dutch breweries. In 2012, there were just 120, but now there are more than 300, with 65,000 employees in the trade. ‘The Netherlands can truly be called a land of beer,’ said the report.
The vast majority of beer drunk here is also made here, while in 2015, 14m hectolitres of Dutch beer was exported.
Cees-Jan Adema, director of Nederlandse Brouwers, told the Financieele Dagblad: ‘It is increasingly normal to order non-alcoholic beer. Consumers are drinking it more not only because they cannot drink and drive, but also because they find it tasty and refreshing.’
But, he added, for this to happen ‘the quality had to improve. Brewers have invested a lot in this, because certainly in the beginning, the quality of alcoholic beer was a tricky tale.’