Beer consumption in Czechia hits record low

People are drinking much less beer in Czechia than before, a country that is known for its highest beer consumption per capita in the world. Some of the reasons include tighter budgets due to economic uncertainty as well as the rising cost of draught beer. Will this trend continue in the years to come?

Beer consumption in Czechia is still the highest in the world despite its significant drop in recent years, reported. The average number of beers drunk per capita in 2023, including infants, was 256 beers per head, about 128 litres, exceeding the lowest average consumption figures ​​during the COVID-19 restrictions and the lowest record number in 1963. But why?

Illustrative photo: René Volfík,

“Prices have been increasing everywhere so I’m not surprised the price of beer is high as well. For example, one of my friends likes beer a lot and for him it’s quite a big difference whether he will pay 30 or 60 crowns. I think for big lovers of beer it’s quite a significant point.”

“I think, yes, because the salary doesn’t really increase so it can affect it. … We don’t go out on the weekend, it’s not as affordable as it used to be. I would stay with my daily portion of beers, but not go out so often.”

In 2005, beer consumption reached a record high when Czechs consumed 163.5 litres, or 327 beers per head. Consumption per person was 153 litres in 2009 holding at 140 litres for nearly a decade before falling to 129 litres in 2021.

After the pandemic, many continued to avoid beer consumption in restaurants. The Czech Statistics Office estimates that beer consumption in 2021 was the lowest since 1989. Back then, it was 151 litres per person and even jumped above 160 litres momentarily in the 90s.

Tomáš Slunečko | Photo: Český svaz pivovarů a sladoven

I spoke to Tomáš Slunečko, executive director of Český svaz pivovarů a sladoven or Czech Brewery and Malt Association (ČSPS), on what the data is telling us and whether this trend is elsewhere in Europe as well:

“Apart from small fluctuations in post-covid 2022, interest in consumption of beer has gradually dropped. Similar trends are evident across Europe and can be expected to continue. I talk about these issues with colleagues that I meet in our international organization The Brewers of Europe, based in Brussels. The situation is mostly the same in other European countries.”

The sales of beer in pubs and restaurants dropped by 30 percent in 2023 as more people prefer to drink at home right now. So, how has reduced alcohol consumption affected the Czech economy and the social lives of those who choose to drink at pubs? Mr. Slunečko explains:

“The drop in beer consumption can have a very negative impact on the catering sector as a whole. For a long time we have pointed out that pubs and restaurants are often dependent on serving drinks for their livelihood. I think that the drain of people from pubs and the associated trend of beer consumption moving into houses and garages will lead to the subsequent closure of these smaller businesses and may have a negative impact on the social lives of people living in villages and small towns.”

We are also seeing an increasing number of people turning to non-alcoholic beer or so-called beer mixes. Year-on-year growth showed an increase of 9.3 percent. In comparison, with 2019 that is an increase of more than 33 percent. Mr. Slunečko comments on this increase:

Illustration photo | Photo: Czech Television

“This is the only consistently growing part of the sector so I think that breweries are coming up with new flavors and different variants every season to a much wider range of consumers.”

Mr. Slunečko on the ways breweries are responding to this increased demand:

“The breweries are addressing the decline in consumer interest and beer consumption primarily by expanding and diversifying their offering and striving to maintain modern trends.”

Mr. Slunečko explains that breweries will most likely continue to offer different flavors to give alternatives, even non-alcoholic ones, to those who are increasingly less willing to pay for inflated beer prices.