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Beverage Sector Trends: Germany and Benelux

Contact Author Steven Hanft, CONUSBAT
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This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine. The full content is not currently available online.

The beverage markets of Germany and the Benelux nations have seen extensive harmonizing regulatory efforts by the EU Commission in recent years, which has, in many ways, made for easier access for both internal and external markets. Furthermore, the introduction of the euro currency has added a positive dimension towards doing business in these EU nations. A good example of how the euro has made life easier for consumers can be observed in the area known as the Dreiländerpunkt, where Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany share a border. Here, several languages are spoken, including a German-speaking part of Belgium on the border with Germany. Yet the euro allows these diverse consumers to purchase, for instance, a Heineken at a Belgian pub or supermarket. Even with the current debate about certain EU nations not meeting crucial economic conditions, EU consumers don’t have to think about going to a bank to exchange currencies.

Germany and the Benelux Nations: Political, Economic and Demographic Facts
In total, Europe has a population of close to 830 million people; of that, about 490 million live in the EU.

Germany’s population is 82 million (92% German, ~3% Turkish, 5% other), with a GDP per capita of $34,100, making it Europe’s largest economy. Although English is the language of international business, one should not forget that in all of Europe, German is the most widely spoken language. When comparing the number of people living in Germany or the Netherlands (see below) to the United States, it is clear that these European states have a far greater population density. However, Germany’s birth rate, unlike that of the United States, remains stagnant; statistics show that German women on average are bearing approximately 1.37 children (sources: Eurostat 2004/BBC News, March 2006). Since 1989, the reunified Germany has been a jump-off point into Eastern European nations such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia. When it comes to beverages, Germany is the second largest producer of hops in the world, fueling its reputation for high-quality beers. Wine production occurs mostly in the Mosel and Rhine valleys.

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