A new report also reveals that the number of breweries in Europe continues to skyrocket.
When Americans think of European beers, plenty of things immediately come to mind. Germany, of course, is known for its influence on American lagers and its annual Oktoberfest celebration (which Americans love to try to replicate to varying degrees of success). The United Kingdom has had a major influence on American craft brewing thanks to the now ubiquitous India pale ale. And speaking of ubiquitous, think of how common Irish pubs and Guinness are on this side of the pond.
But what countries in Europe actually produce the most beer? The answer might be slightly different than you think. As reported by Food Ingredients First, The Brewers of Europe trade association recently released its 2017 data report, and seven nations got the nod as the continents top beer producers.
Germany, unsurprisingly, led the list by producing 9.3 billion liters of beer last year, accounting for a whopping 23 percent of Europe's beer production. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, tied for second with Poland, both of which produced 4 billion liters. Spain came in a surprising fourth with 3.8 billion liters, though keep in mind, Spain is home to the massive Mahou San Miguel brewing company. And despite its size, The Netherlands came in fifth — though the tiny county is also home to Heineken. Rounding out the list were France and Belgium, which each accounted for about 5 percent of Europe's beer with 2.1 billion liters produced and 2.0 billion liters produced respectively.
Overall, Europe produced 39.6 billion liters of beer last year, of which 8.7 billion liters were exported abroad. According to the report, European beers are now sold in 123 countries around the world, but the U.S. is by far the largest consumer of these exports, with 1.1 billion liters coming to the U.S., or about 31 percent of all European exports. By comparison, China was second with only 520 million liters.
Meanwhile, here's one final stat that will sound familiar to craft beer lovers: Much like in the U.S., the overall number of breweries in Europe continues to skyrocket. The report suggests that, in 2017, the number of breweries in the E.U. increased by about 1,000, reaching a new total of around 9,500. And if you look back over the past decade, that number has increased by 6,000 breweries. So no, it's not just your trendy neighborhood that's gotten a new brewery, it's — like — practically every trendy neighborhood around the globe.