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Archive for April 30th, 2008

While I don’t worry much about Ringnes/Carlsberg whimpering about the rising price of raw materials, the same problems are now hitting the whole industry in Noiray, according to business daily Dagens Næringsliv. (The article is not online.)

Jens Maudal at Haandbryggeriet says that the price of malt is up 45 % this year, while hops is  up 200%. They are raising their prices by 10-15%.

Nøgne ø is also forced to raise prices by up to 20%, but they had the foresight to order hops at last year’s prices. Kjell Einar Karlsen at Nøgne ø is worried, however, that the prices will rise as much next year.

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After many years of decline, the value of the Danish beer market is growing again. The volume continues to slid, but the demand for more expensive craft beers compensate for the hectoliters of Tuborg lager.

Denmark is know as a market for dedicated beer drinkers, but, as in other core countries in the beer belt, the consumption has been in decline for a number of years.

A change of lifestyle, changing drinking habits, even slightly more rigid legislation has probably contributed. (It’s not as if it is difficult to get a beer. My elderly relative in Odense felt they had done quite enough when they banned the sale of alcohol in petrol stations after 8 in the evening!) The days of midweek liquid lunches are probably gone forever.

But the stagnating market has turned, thanks to both expesive imports and domestic micro brews. The giant in the market, Carlsberg, can also report growing sales for its most expensive speciality beers, while the sale discount bottles fall year by year. The total volume of beer sold in 2003 was above 500 million liters, in 2007 ti was 450 million liters.

Both industry spokesmen and independent analysts point out that this is due to a strategy developed over a number of years. The wide range of new breweries has contributed to turn the public conception of beer.

To earn more money on a smaller volume is of course in the interest of many actors in the market. A few years ago, you would find crates with 30 bottles of beer retailing for about 70 kroner. Now you could easily find a single bottle at the same price, either hand brewed in Denmark or imported for Belgium or the US.

In four years, the number of breweries has grown from 20 to 97, and old and new brewers have launched 556 new beers. We are talking about a country with a population af about 5,5 million here!

I’m the first to wish all the new Danish breweries welcome, I no longer have any illusion about tasting a beer from each of them as they keep popping up! But I would be much surprised if the number of breweries does not stabilize on a somewhat lower level within a few years. But they should be able to get along with 70 or 80 of them as well!

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