Beer consumption reached 100 litres per capita at the end of last year, which means Romania is among the top ten countries in the world in terms of annual beer consumption. Romanians last year drank 20.6 million hectolitres of beer, over 16% more than in 2006, due to the high temperatures registered last summer and the rising purchasing power of the population.
"Beer consumption has registered a heavy increase in recent years and reached 100 litres per capita late last year - double the volume in 1990, when the level stood at around 50 litres," stated Vifor Versescu, general manager of the Association of Independent Brewers (PSIPBR).
After having reached a consumption of 100 litres per capita, Romania joined the top ten countries in terms of beer consumption in the world, after the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria with 160, 118 and 111 litres per capita.
A year before, Romania "celebrated" the fact that it met the European average of annual beer consumption per capita, of 80 litres, after brewers' initial forecasts predicted 90 litres per capita for the end of 2007, with the 100-litre threshold forecast for as late as 2008-2009.
As a result of the high temperatures registered last year and the rising purchasing power, domestic beer producers posted sales increases by as much as 30% in the second and third quarters.
Nevertheless, the growth rate posted in 2007 stayed at approximately the same level as two years before (16%), when the beer market registered a volume of 17.7 million hectolitres.
From 20.6 million hectolitres in total, the 15 PSIPBR producers registered a volume of around 1.35 million hectolitres, down 3.8% year-on-year.
"The beer market will expand by around 10% this year against 2007, as the market rate slows down after the consumption level of 100 litres per capita is met," estimates the general manager of PSIPBR.
In line with this growth rate, the beer market could reach a volume of above 22.5 million hectolitres and a value of 1.4 billion euros at the end of 2008.
Also expected to contribute is an increase by 5% in beer prices on the mainstream segment and by up to 30% on the low-price segment as a result of higher raw material prices.
"(...) Raw material prices account for approximately 30% in the final price of a beer, and in 2008 the price of a beer in the low-price segment may reach 1.3 RON, up 30% against last year," said Versescu.