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Croatia’s latest beer trends: Less drinking, more Lager

Girl drinking beer

As the summer season approaches, especially in a year featuring a major football tournament, it is a prime time to gauge the true and honest opinions of beer drinkers about how much and what types of beer they consume.

Interestingly, as Lider.hr reported, overall beer consumption has shown a significant decline. In a 2021 survey, 79% of respondents consumed beer, but this number has dropped to 71% this year.

This research was conducted in April 2024 by Ja TRGOVAC magazine and the Hendal agency on a nationally representative sample of Croatian citizens over the age of 16.

The number of daily beer drinkers has also decreased, from 10% to 6%. The proportion of those who drink beer several times a week has remained steady at 26%, while around 20% consume beer once a week in both surveyed years.

A quarter of respondents, 25%, drink beer several times a month, which is a 2% increase from 2021. Additionally, the number of those who drink beer once a month has risen by 3%, now accounting for 12% of respondents. About 10% of beer drinkers consume beer a few times a year, consistent across both years.

Beer consumption at home, whether at one’s own house or at friends’ or relatives’, remains the most common setting, with 65% of beer drinkers indicating this preference, a 2% increase from the previous survey.

Croatians 9th in the world for beer consumption

Similarly, drinking beer outside the home (in cafes, pubs, restaurants, etc.) has risen to 22%. Meanwhile, the number of people who drink beer both at home and outside has decreased by 5%, now at 13%.

Lager Remains the Most Popular Beer

One of the particularly intriguing aspects of the survey is the comparison between consumption of beer from major producers, known as industrial beer, and craft beer.

This year’s survey shows an increase in preference for industrial beer, with 76% of beer drinkers favouring it, a 4% rise from three years ago. On the other hand, craft beer is the first choice for only 9% of consumers, a 2% decrease from the previous survey. Those who drink both industrial and craft beer equally make up 15% of the respondents, down by 2% from 2021.

Lager or pilsner has increased its lead as the most popular type of beer, preferred by 73% of drinkers, up 5% from the previous survey. In a distant second place is fruit-flavoured beer (radler), preferred by 12% of consumers, consistent across both years.

International Craft Beer Fest in Zagreb on 1 July

There have also been no changes in the consumption of ale, which remains preferred by 6% of drinkers. Dark beer’s popularity has declined from 9% to 4% over the past three years, while wheat beer remains at a 4% share. Only 1% of beer drinkers prefer non-alcoholic beer.

Only One Brewery Records Revenue Drop

Regarding the performance of Croatia’s largest breweries in 2023, publicly available data indicates strong results. Zagrebačka Brewery reported an increase in revenue from €169 million to nearly €200 million, with profits rising from €26.5 million to €34.8 million. Karlovačka Brewery, also known as Heineken Croatia, saw its revenue grow from €124.5 million in 2022 to €141 million in 2023, although its profit slightly decreased from €10.4 million to €8.3 million.

Craft breweries from USA and Europe at Zagreb festival

Croatia’s best-known craft breweries also fared well. Zmajska Brewery achieved €1.6 million in revenue and €145,000 in profit in 2023, up from 2022. Nova Runda also increased its revenue to €1.1 million from €1 million the previous year, with profits almost doubling from €57,000 in 2022 to nearly €100,000 in 2023.

However, only one craft brewery, The Garden Brewery, reported a decline in revenue and profit last year. Its revenue fell from €2.3 million in 2022 to just €800,000 in 2023, with profits dropping from €1.8 million to €622,000 over the same period, Lider.hr reported.


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