A Global View

Compared with many regions of the world, North American brewers can be quite pleased with their results. According to Euromonitor International, beer sales in North America reached $86.4 billion in 2004, and will increase to $89.3 billion this year. That makes it the third-largest region of the world, which consumed a total of more than 150.5 billion liters of beer last year.
Like the United States, the most developed countries in the world have seen an explosion of alternative beverage offerings during the past decade, forcing brewers to compete for their share. In addition, brewer consolidation, increasing health consciousness, price discounting and market saturation — all issues with which U.S. brewers are familiar — have impacted global markets. But where U.S. consumers had a wide variety of beer styles and brands from which to choose, helping keep them in the beer category, many countries had more limited offerings and saw their sales plummet.
Global Beer Sales

Volume (liters) Sales (U.S. $ millions)
Region 2004 2004
Western Europe 30,289.70 134,247.00
Eastern Europe 19,543.40 26,931.10
North America 26,153.60 86,392.10
Latin America 21,876.80 32,988.10
Asia Pacific 43,656.00 98,553.30
Australasia 2,074.70 11,643.80
Africa and Middle East 6,961.00 21,861.10
World 150,555.10 412,616.50
Source: Euromonitor International, Chicago — Global Alcoholic Drinks IMIS, 2005. euromonitor.com
Sales in the mature beer markets of Western and Eastern Europe (measured in U.S. dollars) are back on an upward swing after a significant dip between 1998 and 2004. Western Europe is the most developed beer market in the world, with nearly $36 billion more than the runner-up, the Asia Pacific region. Beer sales in Western Europe last year were more than $134 billion, down from $140 billion in 1998, but up from $124 billion in 2003. This year, Western Europe is expected to gain more ground for a total of $135.4 billion.
Eastern Europe suffered a similar fate, plunging from $34 billion in 1998 to $26 billion in 2003. But last year the eastern countries pulled in almost a billion dollars more, and this year they are expected to reach $28 billion. And the Asia Pacific region took a painful plunge from $132 billion in 1998 to $98.5 billion and is not expected to gain this year.
Euromonitor says many international brewers are emphasizing import products, expanding beer varieties and developing specialty brands.
The least developed beer markets include Australasia, which has slowly but steadily grown throughout the past several years; Latin America, which Euromonitor predicts will make a $5 billion increase during the next several years; and Africa and the Middle East.