The price of beer rose the most in Hungary within the EU in January 2023. The cost of beer went up almost twice as much as in Lithuania, which had the second-highest price increase.
According to the latest primary research by the National Statistics Office, 63 percent of Hungarians who drink alcohol at least once a week, chose beer. However, Czechs consume around 129 liters of beer per person per year, while in Hungary it is only 68 liters. Still, Hungary is in the top 10 in the EU regarding beer consumption. Due to COVID-19, the amount of beer sold domestically decreased. Back in 2019, before the outbreak of the epidemic, the five largest Hungarian breweries sold 6.216 million hectoliters of beer, by 2020 this number had poorly fallen to 5.662 million hectoliters. In 2022, however, it approached the pre-epidemic level with 6.006 million hectoliters.
In 2023, from one day to the next, the prices of various beer products produced by the largest domestic producers rose considerably in stores, writes pénzcentrum.hu. Prices increased by 2.3 percent in one month, for instance, from December 2022 to December 2023. An image in which a shop informs its customers on a piece of printed paper that Hungarian breweries have increased the price of their products by HUF 70-100 (EUR 0,19-0,26) from January 2023 has also gone viral on the Internet.
“Over the past few years, the beer consumption habits of households and, as a result, the corresponding beer market offer have undergone a gradual, but overall, significant transformation over the years. As a result of the changing consumer preferences and supply, the use of concepts applied previously to distinguish between beers has become obsolete, for example. The difference between quality and so-called “plain” light beer, previously treated as a separate market segment, has vanished, and quality beer can no longer be interpreted as an independent category.” – explained the Association of Hungarian Brewers.
In January 2023, the price index changes show an increase of 8-13 percent. The only exceptions to this are boxed or draft beer sold in restaurants, as their price index only increased by 2 percentage points between December 2022 and January 2023. All in all, the price of beer available in stores has risen by 30-40 percent over the years.