Are craft beers neglected in industrial areas?

Lautering.net - Blog - German breweries in numbers

Lautering has now been online for some time and the number of breweries on it is getting pretty high. When I was writing a beer review a while back I came up with a new idea. With all the breweries I have on Lautering I could prepare some diagrams showing some basic statistics about them. As I’m from Germany the most logical step was to start with German breweries.

Lautering.net - Blog - Germany breweries in numbers
When I ran the calculations, I found out that Lautering hosted 1175 breweries from Germany (though there are more online now). You can see in the Figure 1 that most of them are from Bavaria, followed by Baden-Württemberg and then Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW).

Lautering.net - Blog - Comparison of breweries in Germany with population figureWhat you can’t see from the first figure is the relationship between the number of breweries and the amount of people living in each of the German federal states. In figure 2 you can see that in the majority of cases the amount of people correlates with the amount of breweries. The only exemption is NRW.

Lautering.net - Blog - Breweries of Nordrhein-Westfalen in numbers
If we take the background of NRW in consideration it might become clearer that there aren’t so many breweries, especially microbreweries, around. NRW was the German centre of coal mining and iron working. Most of the people living in the Ruhr Area were hard working workmen and not blue-collar workers. From that point the emphasis on beer, too, was on quantity with a basic level of quality for an affordable price. This created a need for industrial produced beer. If we look at NRW a little closer we find that most of the micro / pub breweries are located in bigger cities like Düsseldorf or Cologne or in places of interest in the countryside (sightseeing). Both places are those where people of higher income would stay and drink.

During the last decades the Ruhr Area has changed dramatically. The heavy industry (not the brewing industry) is gone or nearly gone. It was the European capital of culture in 2010. From this point I hope that more and more micro / pub breweries will emerge and that there will be more variety in beers like in Bavaria.

Dominik Jais's picture