Jun 25, 2024

Why is Czech Beer Cheaper in Germany Than in Its Home Country

Beer consumption in the Czech Republic has dropped in recent years, but the falling popularity of this beloved beverage isn’t the main culprit behind lower sales—it’s the rising prices.

In Germany, the scenario is quite different. Despite paying more for essentials like meat and vegetables, Germans save on beer. A half-litre can costs around CZK 25 crowns, compared to CZK 31 to CZK 38 in Czechia.

According to Tomáš Maier, a brewing expert from the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague, the higher prices are due to Plzeňský Prazdroj’s strong position in the Czech market. The brewery can afford to hike prices.

“The Czech beer market is highly concentrated, with the market leader holding over 43 percent share. Pilsner Urquell, in particular, is very profitable,” he explained.

In contrast, the German beer market is more competitive, with the leading brand holding less than 12 percent market share. Plzeňský Prazdroj doesn’t have the same influence or marketing power in Germany and can’t command such high prices.

Plzeňský Prazdroj points fingers at retailers for the high prices. “It’s about the sales and pricing strategies of individual retailers,” said Zdeněk Kovář, a spokesman for the company. “For most chains, beer is a major draw for shoppers, which might explain why German chains keep prices lower than in neighboring countries,” he added.

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Kovář also mentioned that tax differences could affect prices, though he noted that excise duty on beer only varies by two percent between Germany and Czechia.

Czech Beer Consumption Hit its Lowest Since 1963

Last year, the average Czech drank 256 beers, the lowest number since 1963.

Despite being the highest in the world, consumption has significantly dropped, and experts predict this trend will continue. The record of 163.5 liters per person in 2005, equivalent to 327 beers, seems unlikely to be matched again.

Compared to 2019, Czechs drank 1.35 million hectolitres less, reducing consumption by 270 million beers, or 27 beers per person per year.

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