Beer Imports By Country (Top 139 Countries)
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink worldwide. It has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. Beer is the most-drank alcoholic drink on the planet. It is the most popular drink in the world, after water and tea. How big is the industry of producing beer? In 2021, the value of the world beer market was $680.9 billion.
The global beer market makes more money every year except for the pandemic’s start. In 2021, a sign of the market’s recovery was that sales topped USD 651 million, 11% more than the previous year.
Facts about Beer Imports by Country
- Before wine and vodka, beer was the most popular alcoholic beverage consumed worldwide.
- Thirteen thousand years ago, the first beer was brewed, making it a significant part of human history.
- In 2021, worldwide sales of imported beer totaled $17.2 billion. Compared to $15.7 billion in 2020, beer imports increased annually by 9.7 percent.
- From a continental perspective, North American nations imported the most beer in 2021, with total purchases of $7.04 billion, or 41.1% of the global total.
- Craft beer is a growing segment of the beer import market, as consumers demonstrate a growing interest in distinctive and high-quality beers from around the globe.
- Non-alcoholic and low-alcohol ales are gaining popularity among consumers who seek healthier and lower-alcohol alternatives.
- Many rules and trade agreements affect the beer import market. These can affect the availability, price, and quality of imported beers.
- The rise of e-commerce and online sales has made it easier for drinkers to access a diverse selection of beers from around the globe, including those that may not be available locally.
- Both flavor preferences and cultural and social factors influence the beer import market. For instance, some consumers may favor beers that align with their values or lifestyles.
What are the top importers of beer?
The following are the top 14 beer importers in the world.
1. United States
The United States is ranked as the top beer importer in the world. In 2021, the United States imported more beer than any other country. This is a 24.4% increase over the $5.3 billion the U.S. spent on beer imports overall in 2017 and a 10.9% increase from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, the most popular alcoholic drink in the world cost $1,430 per cubic meter when it was brought into the United States. In 2021, Mexico was the largest beer supplier to the United States. About 60% of all beer imports came from Mexico. Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium were also big sources of beer for the United States.
People know that Americans love beer. A Gallup poll found that 42% of people who drink alcohol say that beer is their favorite drink, while only 34% say that wine is their favorite. In 2021, Corona Extra, Heineken, Modelo Especial, Guinness, and Stella Artois were the best-imported beers in the United States.
Trade disputes between the U.S. and some of its most important trading partners have also affected beer imports. For example, tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada and Europe have made the cost of imported beer packaging materials go up, while tariffs on American products from China, the European Union, and other countries have made it harder for U.S. brewers to sell their products in foreign markets. But the U.S. beer industry has also been changing to meet the changing tastes and trends of consumers and the market. Craft beer is still a growing part of the market, with many small breweries making unique, high-quality beers that appeal to a wide range of customers. Also, the rise of online ordering and delivery services has made it easier for people to get a wide range of beers worldwide, even if they aren’t available where they live.
The second largest beer importer in the world is France. In 2021, France imported $1,031 billion worth of lager. Beer was the 138th most imported product in France. Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain all export beer to France.
The Netherlands ($12.7 million) was the fastest-growing alcohol import market for France between 2020 and 2021. The United Kingdom and Germany are the other two.
However, competition from wine has moved the beer to the bottom of the podium among the most popular beverages in France. Nonetheless, it is the nation’s national drink. In France, beer has recently experienced a renaissance. Since 2010, the number of breweries in France has increased.
The largest French brewery is BGI/Groupe Castel. This group is profiting from the increase in French beer consumption. In 2017, the beer industry produced more than 3 billion euros for the first time since 2008. Despite consuming less malt than its European rivals, France is the leader in malt exports, the primary ingredient in beer. As one of the world’s leading barley producers, France is one of the largest exporters of beer malt.
In 2017, 39% of French citizens reported regularly consuming craft beer. This rate increases to 46% for residents of the Grand-Est region. Consequently, will France become a nation renowned for its beer? Not currently, as France still consumes 26.5 million hectoliters of wine annually despite an increase in beer consumption.
In 2021, France was the seventh-largest exporter of beer in the globe, with $389 million in exports. The same year, beer was the 259th most exported product from France. France’s leading beer export markets are Spain, China, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands.
China is the world’s third-largest importer of beer. China’s beer production and consumption are both at all-time highs. However, the alcohol market in China has stagnated in recent years. Despite representing a negligible portion of China’s imports, American beer enjoys a strong reputation in China. As a nascent and niche product, craft beer has experienced rapid growth in China in recent years, and sales are expected to rise rapidly.
China surpassed the United States in 2002 to claim the top spot in the world for beer production. In 2020, China produced approximately 34,1 billion liters of beer. Having produced 21.1 billion liters that year, the United States ranked second. China’s five most popular domestic beer brands are Tsingtao, Harbin, Budweiser, Snow, and Yanjing.
In terms of beer consumption, China also leads the pack. Because no single country produces most of the world’s beer, the import market remains relatively inaccessible. However, consumers are eager to sample new craft beer brands at home, at beer festivals, and at bars.
China’s beer sales remained consistent at 45 billion liters from 2016 to 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s aggregate beer sales decreased by seven percent in 2020 to 42,7 billion liters. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted beer consumption. Still, e-commerce and live-streaming sales growth compensated for losses elsewhere and proved extremely effective marketing strategies in this industry.
From 2016 to 2018, beer imports into China grew at double-digit rates, but since 2019 they have declined. In 2020, China’s beer imports totaled $695 million, a 15.2% decrease from the previous year. Germany and Belgium are the top two countries from which beer is imported, followed by Mexico, France, and the Netherlands. China’s imports are approximately 10% higher so far in 2021 than they were in 2020.
China imported $11.26 million worth of American beer between January and October of 2021, up 5.6% from the same period in 2020. According to industry sources, craft beer will grow exponentially by 2021, indicating a shift in consumer preference toward novel flavors and varieties.
U.S. beer has obtained positive consumer reviews despite having a negligible share of China’s imported beer market. This is because certain American brands are already widely recognized in China. Because Chinese consumers value brand names and are willing to pay more for reputable brands, it is essential to establish a firm brand image. Therefore, new exporters must implement a branding strategy to create a positive reputation among Chinese consumers.
4. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is the fourth largest beer importer in the world. In addition to 63 million kilograms imported from other regions, it imported 1.01 billion kilograms of beer from E.U. members in 2002. Consequently, most beers imported into the United Kingdom arrive from E.U. member states.
There are numerous approaches to assessing the effectiveness of the industry. One can consider the 3,4 billion British pounds in beer sales in the United Kingdom. More than 24,000 barrels of beer were sold, resulting in the above net income. However, due to lockdowns and a sharp decline in demand, beer production in the United Kingdom decreased significantly in 2020 before increasing again in 2021.
Regarding trade, the quantity of beer imported into the United Kingdom in 2020 totaled 483 million GBP, a slight decrease from 2020. Brexit and the pandemic harmed U.K. beer exports, totaling just 401 million GBP in 2020, the lowest level in over a decade. In 2021, exports increased marginally. In 2021, Europe was the leading trading partner for beer exports.
After a sharp decline in consumption in 2020, the total quantity of beer cleared for consumption in 2021 was 46 million hectoliters, including imported beer and U.K.-produced beer. Each individual consumed 73 liters of alcohol on average per year. India brown ale and pale ale were the most popular beers in the United Kingdom. Sharp’s Doom Bar and Carling were the most popular cask ales and lagers. Due to rising inflation, consumers anticipate altering their eating and drinking behaviors. If discretionary spending decreases, most consumers expect scaling back on socializing and drinking rather than choosing cheaper brands.
Italy is the fifth largest importer of beer worldwide. There, wine, which has consistently performed beer in terms of revenue, has competed with beer as Italy’s primary alcoholic beverage. Italy has been on a growth path that has allowed it to produce approximately 17,6 million hectoliters of beer despite not being one of the world’s leading beer producers. However, Italy is one of the European nations with the largest breweries.
Over the past seven years, the amount of beer imported into Italy has remained relatively stable. However, the amount of beer exported has steadily increased, indicating that the total beer produced in the country has grown. Most exports were exported to the United Kingdom, while the majority of imports originated in Belgium and Luxembourg. The increase in beer production led to a rise in sales, which, after years of consistent growth, were only marginally delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Italy was among the top beer-consuming nations in Europe, but its large population was primarily responsible for this. Consequently, beer consumption has increased, and the proportion of country residents who consume beer has increased to approximately 50 percent.
The Netherlands is the world’s sixth-largest importer. In addition, the Netherlands was the greatest trading partner for beer imports. Between 2021 and 2027, the Dutch beer market is projected to increase by $534 million, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 1.2%.
The product and distribution channels are utilized to segment the Dutch beer market. There are four distinct product categories: dark beer, lager, alcohol-free beer, and stout. Approximately 8.5 million hectoliters of lager or pilsener composed the majority of beers sold in the Netherlands in 2021. In addition, more than 1,300,000 hectoliters of specialty and artisanal beers were sold.
Germany is the seventh largest importer country in the world. Germany is, without a doubt, the biggest market for beer in Europe. Germans care more about the brand than the price when they buy beer, and 7.2 million people are interested in learning more about beer right now.
Pilsner beer is the most popular beer, making up about 63% of the market. Most retail packaging is in the form of a bottle that can be returned. 18% of the volume of the German beer market comes from gastronomy. Food stores are the main places where beer is sold in the retail market.
In the last ten years, the market share of imported beers has grown, but domestic breweries still make up most of the market. The number of small breweries that make beer in Germany has mostly stayed the same in recent years.
Russia is the eighth-largest beer importer in the world. Russia now drinks a lot less alcohol than it did in the 1990s. Because of changes in how people consume, the market for alcoholic drinks has changed, with a direct focus on beer and low-alcohol products. Almost 7% of all retail sales in Russia comprised alcoholic beverages.
The country has one of the world’s largest markets for wine and beer. In 2021, more than 82 million hectoliters of beer were made, the sixth-highest amount. Also, Russia was the ninth largest importer of wine, bringing in more than a billion euros worth of wine in 2021.
Beer is the most-drank alcoholic drink in Russia. Since 2017, people have been drinking more beer than they did before. The average Russian over 15 drinks three liters of beer every year. But this was much less than in 2008 when it reached its highest point of almost 4.7 liters. So, out of all the alcoholic drinks on the market, beer was the one that was made the most. The most money was made from sales of vodka and beer in the retail sector.
Cognac was the most expensive alcoholic drink, while beer was the least expensive. Between 2023 and 2025, Russia’s income from alcoholic drinks is expected to rise slowly, but it will still be less than the almost $35 billion it made in 2021.
Canada ranked as the ninth largest beer importer in the world. Similar to the market in the U.S., the beer market in Canada faces obstacles. As consumers switch to other alcoholic beverages and imbibe less alcohol overall, sales have decreased. The beer market in Canada differs by region, as does the rate of change in consumption.
Canada is primarily a beer-drinking nation. Even though sales have gone down in general over the past few years, beer remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in Canada. As the number of breweries increases annually, the brewing industry expects that Canadians will remain beer enthusiasts.
Craft beers imported from abroad and non-alcoholic beers are becoming increasingly popular among Canadian consumers. Through online sales and direct-to-consumer channels, many small breweries from around the globe have been able to access the Canadian market.
Spain is the tenth largest beer importer in the globe. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the Spanish beer market has grown a lot. Since 2013, there have been more breweries than ever before, but because of the pandemic, the amount of beer made has dropped significantly in 2020.
Some of the most well-known breweries in the world are in Spain. This beer brand is the most popular one in Spain, making it one of the market leaders there as well. New products like toasted, craft, Radler, with alcohol, without alcohol, fruity, gluten-free, blonde, barley, wheat, and others that fit with new trends have helped Spanish beer become popular worldwide.
Regarding beer, Spaniards like alcoholic beer more than other kinds. But the number of people who drink beer without alcohol has been growing and will reach its peak in 2020. Because of this, Spanish households drank more non-alcoholic beer in 2021 than they did the year before, but not much less than before the pandemic.
Chile is the eleventh largest importer of beer on the globe. Moreover, Chile’s beer market is the one that has developed the most since 2020 (66.8%). In 2021, the valuation of beer sales on the Chilean market increased for the eighth consecutive year by 4.4%. Between 2012 and 2021, total consumption increased at an average annual rate of +5.4%.
In general, however, the beer import market in Chile has expanded over the past few years, propelled by the rising popularity of craft beers and the rising demand for high-quality imported beers. The United States, Mexico, Germany, and Belgium are among Chile’s leading larger import countries.
Consumers in Chile have also demonstrated a growing interest in non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beers, as well as novel and distinctive beer flavors and styles. As a result, the Chilean government has implemented several regulatory measures to regulate the beer import market and guarantee the safety and purity of imported beers. For instance, beer importers are required by the Chilean Ministry of Health to obtain sanitary registration, which entails meeting numerous safety and quality standards.
Moreover, Chile’s free trade agreements with other nations have facilitated the import and export of products, including beer. For instance, the Chile-United States Free Trade Agreement has eliminated tariffs on numerous products, including beer, thereby facilitating the import of U.S. beverages into Chile.
Australia was the twelfth largest importer of beer on the globe. Large beer brands and breweries have long dominated the Australian beverage market. Nevertheless, the craft beer market segment is now expanding consistently. While imported beer and well-known brands such as VB, Carlton, and Tooheys remain among the most popular beverages in Australia, the population is becoming more accustomed to consuming locally owned and brewed beer. Over the past decade, the exponential development of independent and craft breweries in Australia has not gone unnoticed.
Australia’s craft beer market is estimated to be worth more than 150 million Australian dollars and grows between five and ten percent annually. However, the market share of well-known and popular brands appears to be in jeopardy due to Australian consumers’ willingness to sample new and exciting craft beer products. Moreover, craft ciders, strong seltzers, and even alcohol-free beers are becoming formidable competitors as the craft beer industry grows, which could further destabilize the commercial beer market.
Ireland is the thirteenth largest importer of beer in the globe. There has been a notable increase in independent craft breweries in Ireland as more consumers seek out unique and locally-produced beer options. As this trend continues, more breweries and beer varieties are anticipated to enter the market in 2021 and beyond. However, 2021 will be another challenging year for the Irish brewing industry. During the first half of 2021, the hospitality industry remained closed, significantly impacting sales and output.
Compared to 2020, total beer sales decreased by 1.2%, while consumption per capita decreased by 2.3%. This followed a significant drop in sales in 2020 when the pandemic first manifested. The countries of origin for beer imports to Ireland will likely remain the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, given that these countries are significant beer producers and have established trade ties with Ireland.
As more consumers seek out unique and diverse beer varieties, craft beer imports to Ireland are projected to increase. Before the pandemic, this trend was evident, and it is likely to persist in the future.
14. South Korea
South Korea is the fourteenth greatest beer importer in the world. Alcohol consumption significantly impacts the social and professional lives of many South Koreans. Therefore, it is not remarkable that South Korea is currently one of the world’s leading markets for alcohol consumption. The wine market is expanding, but beer and traditional strong liquor Soju are the most popular alcoholic beverages.
Currently, domestic brands dominate the beverage market in South Korea. Cass had the highest market share among the leading beer brands based on retail sales value. The dominant domestic brewery, Oriental Brewery, owns Cass.
Due to the change in taste and preference, craft beer consumption and beer imports increased. Before the 2019 boycott of Japanese products, Japan was the leading producer of imported beer.
This may be because many Japanese breweries specialize in lager-style beer and the prevalence of these flavors in South Korea. However, China and other European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and Poland are major importers. Even though American and Chinese breweries are frequently affiliated with other multinational corporations, many South Koreans believe European beer to be of superior quality and flavor.
Here is a list of the largest beer importers in the world:
|Rank||Country||Trade Value in 1000 USD|
|18||United Arab Emirates||126,272.69|
|21||Hong Kong (SAR)||114,954.21|
|32||Bosnia and Herzegovina||70,657.05|
|97||Trinidad and Tobago||5,384.74|
|107||St. Vincent and the Grenadines||3,159.04|
|113||Sao Tome and Principe||2,253.52|
Craft beers are alcoholic beverages produced by craft breweries or microbreweries in lesser quantities than “historical breweries.” Since ale yeasts turn sugar into alcohol at a temperature higher and tend to rise to the top, these artisan beers commonly undergo top fermentation. Additionally, this type of beer has a shorter processing period. Although craft beer has been available in the USA and the U.K. since the 1970s, more must be sold to satisfy everyone’s demand.
Long-established breweries, such as Heineken and Stella Artois, generate billions of dollars worldwide. Nonetheless, China, a relative newcomer to the beer market, is increasingly interfering with the globalization of hops-based beverages. As a result, Chinese distilleries are among the world’s leading volume producers.