Kevin Lawler and Kin-Pui Lee INTRODUCTION In 1999, the EU population consumed over 29 328m litres of beer. This consumption is heavily concentrated geographically, with 36 per cent accounted for by Germany, and a further 20 per cent by the UK (see Table 5.1). Spain and France were together responsible for another 17 per cent. Germany had the additional distinction of having the highest per capita annual consumption in 1999 (127.5 litres), although it was closely rivalled by Ireland (see Table 5.2). Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Luxembourg also had per capita annual consumption of over a hundred litres. Table 5.2 shows, however, that in most EU countries per capita consumption is either falling or static. The pattern of beer production in the EU is given in Table 5.3. This pattern diﬀers signiﬁcantly from that for consumption. Comparison of Tables 5.1 and 5.3 shows that some countries (for example Belgium and Denmark) are major net exporters while others (for example France and Italy) are signiﬁcant net importers. Total employment in breweries in the EU is around 120000 (Table 5.5). This ﬁgure ignores employment in the production of the raw materials, outlets that sell the beer and ancillary services such as transport. In this chapter we ﬁrst examine the nature of the product. We then consider some recent market trends and the cost conditions underlying beer production. Thereafter some key structure, conduct and performance issues will be considered. THE NATURE OF THE PRODUCT Beers sold throughout Europe can be...
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