Beer consumption in Cyprus has fallen to its lowest ebb since 2002 when records began, as the island’s breweries were also struck by coronavirus which kept tourists away.
According to data released by the Cyprus Statistical Service (CyStat), in 2020 local breweries delivered 40.29 million litres to the local market, down from 40.3 million litres or 23.1% less compared to the previous year.
In total beer deliveries (including imported beers) dropped by 9.3 million litres or 23.9% to 59.5 million litres in 2020.
The impact on exports was much less, as they dropped by 2.6%, with exports amounting to 1.47 million litres compared to 1.51 million last year.
However, last year’s exports were not the lowest recorded, as in 2010 exports dropped to 0.47 million litres.
Local breweries attribute the drop to plunging tourist arrivals in 2020, due to lockdown and travel restrictions across the globe to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Hospitality in Cyprus has also been shut down during two lockdowns and house visits banned over Christmas and last Easter.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, KEO Commercial Manager George Siandris said that the industry has taken a blow due to the drop in tourist arrivals in Cyprus.
Cyprus tourism has hit rock bottom with annual arrivals of holidaymakers in the first 11 months to November sinking 84% due to the pandemic.
Tourist arrivals for November alone were down 94.7% as travel restrictions and lockdowns across Europe played havoc with holiday plans.
“The industry underperformed in 2020 as a direct result of lockdowns imposed across the globe, with Cyprus seeing just a fraction of the almost four million tourists arriving last year,” said Siandris.
“Cyprus’ beer industry is mature enough and possess the know-how and experience to turn things around in 2021.
“However, we do acknowledge that it will be a struggle as we have a long way to go before sales reach pre-pandemic levels”.
Also commenting on the drop in beer sales to the Financial Mirror, George Ierodiakonou, General Manager at Photiades Breweries (Carlsberg), said that 2020 results could have been even worse if not for increases in sales at supermarkets.
“A strong indication that Cypriots continue to enjoy a cold one at home, rather than a restaurant or pub while being on lockdown,” said Ierodiakonou.
He added the management is constantly evaluating developments and are in contact with clients to find ways to keep the industry going without affecting their operations and staff.
“Under these circumstances, flexibility and a dynamic and collective effort are required by all stakeholders from the government, the industry, and social partners, if we are to deal effectively with this unprecedented crisis,” said Ierodiakonou.
“We will continue to invest in our people, in the continuous upgrade of our brewery and the enrichment of our products and we look to the future with optimism”.
Cyprus breweries saw their best year on record in 2018, when beer sales in Cyprus reached 41 million litres.
Source: Financial Mirror