Prospects for U.S. Craft Beer and Distilled Spirits in the Netherlands and Scandinavian Countries Remain Promising

Image of a flight of craft beers on a bar

Image Credit: USDA Agricultural Services

December 8, 2021/USDA Agricultural Services 

The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark) are key markets for U.S. craft beer and distilled spirits. In 2020, the United States shipped $26 million of beer products and $66 million of distilled spirits to the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. Beer and distilled spirits represent 6 percent of total U.S. consumer-oriented exports to the region. The markets have great opportunities for U.S. craft beer and distilled spirit exports with restaurants and bars re-opening and increasing demand for high-value products.

Sweden is the top market for U.S. beer products in the region, followed by the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway (see Table 1). According to Euromonitor, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant decline in beer sales in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland due to temporary lockdowns and less dining outside the home. Norway experienced an increase of overall volume of beer sold due to strong sales at modern grocery retailers. Craft beer, as opposed to mass produced beer, is produced by small and independent craft brewers. According to the Brewers Association, craft brewers are innovative, develop new styles that have no precedent, and have unique approaches to connecting with their customers and communities. Craft beer is usually made with traditional ingredients, including malted barley, and non-traditional ingredients to add distinctiveness. The number of craft breweries and sales of craft beer in the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries have been increasing for the last five years (see Chart 1, Tables 2 and 3). Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, these European markets remain reliable destinations for U.S. craft beer products.

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