Belgian brewers must deal with historic drop in beer exports

According to a new report by the Belgian Brewers Industry Federation, beer exports have dropped sharply in 2023. Inflation, a purchasing power crisis and a staff shortage are said to be behind the disappointing figures. 

After the pandemic outbreak in 2020, which had an enormous impact on the beer industry, 2021 and 2022 became the years of recovery for beer consumption. In 2023, however, the figures started going downhill again. That year, consumption fell 5.8 per cent to 6.5 million hectolitres of beer.

The drop is part of an overall decline in beer consumption that has been going on for over 20 years. The difference this time, however, is that falling domestic demand could no longer be offset by booming exports. Exports fell for the fourth year in a row, immediately recording the biggest fall ever: minus 7.5 per cent to 15 million hectolitres. A percentage point more than the year before. Especially exports to non-European countries took a hit.

According to the industry federation Belgian Brewers, the drop in exports is due to competitiveness being severely depressed, for example by rising wage and energy costs. This makes it difficult to remain competitive in the face of growing local supply in export countries. The changing consumption pattern, too, plays up in exports, according to the brewers.


The brewery in Chimay © BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY


Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels