Czechs drinking more non-alcoholic beers

Research by KPMG confirms that Czech drinking habits are shifting

Czechs are drinking less beer, with exceptions in some categories. The Czech Republic has been the world's leader in beer consumption for as long as the independent country has existed.

But the Czech world leadership in beer consumption is slowing down. While in 2004 the average daily consumption was over 400 half-liters per year, last year that figure was less than 300 half liters. Exceptions to this trend are non-alcoholic beers and flavored beers (radlers), both of which are increasingly preferred by the younger generation.

At least half of Czechs men and women are on occasion open “pito,” the slang name for a non-alcoholic beer. These conclusions come from the sixth year of the KPMG survey on domestic shopping habits.

Men are more likely to consume non-alcoholic beer. They usually drink it at home, while a quarter of Czech men order it at events. Another 15 percent buys it for others.

Some pundits have tried to link the drop in overall beer consumption to the ban on smoking in pubs. The trend, however, seems unrelated. Instead, an overall change in lifestyle habits seems to be the key factor.

“The lifestyle of Czech men and women is changing. We are active, we are more interested in our health. During sports or on a difficult day, many of us prefer non-alcoholic beverages to a classic beer,” Karel Růžička, the KPMG Czech Republic partner responsible for food and beverage service, said in a press release.

The popularity of non-traditional beers, however, has been decreasing as age increases. In the 55 to 64 year old age bracket, only 28 percent of respondents drink it. Flavored non-alcoholic beer is consumed especially by women and young people. Some 90 percent of those who drank it came from the youngest age group.

The most popular flavor is fruit mix, followed by a single kind of fruit, and in third place was a mix of fruit and other flavors. The desire for more flavor increases as respondents get younger. On the other hand, people aged 55 to 64 do not have any preferences for flavors.

The vast majority of respondents who buy non-alcoholic beers and radlers do so in hypermarkets, supermarkets and discount stores, and about a quarter in retail outlets. Specialized brick-and-mortar shops, retailers, or e-shops are marginal in sales, with just the younger generations and urban dwellers going there.

This KPMG survey confirms findings in the spring that tastes were shifting. Lidové noviny (LN) reported in April that preferences were for quality over quantity. For the first time in 2017, ležák beers, between 11 degrees and 12'99 degrees, accounted for the majority of beer consumed. A few years ago, in the Czech Republic, beers between seven degrees and 10.99 degrees accounted for the majority of all beers consumed.

Japanese brewer Kirin has long tracked the overall volume of beer consumption. In the most recent ranking, based on 2016 figures, the Czech Republic held its crown for the most beer consumed per capita, at 143.3 liters per person, winning for the 24th consecutive year. The statistics are not broken down by degree or alcohol content.

Namibia, previously fifth, came in second, followed by Austria, Germany, Poland, Ireland and Romania. The Seychelles, previously second, dropped to eighth. Estonia and Lithuania rounded out the top 10.

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