The groupe Brasserie Nationale, comprising the Bofferding brewery and Munhowen distribution and sales, held a press conference on Wednesday to report on its activities in 2017 which they described as "a good year".

World Beer Market

After an encouraging second half of 2016, the upturn of the world beer market was confirmed in 2017 but in a nuanced way. The turnaround was mainly due to the favourable macroeconomic climate; the beer market is struggling with demographic trends and the appearance of alternative products (wines, ciders, energy drinks). Only "premium" beers, high value "special" beers and cheap private label beers can count on reasonable growth. Similarly, strong beers and low-alcohol beers and even non-alcoholic malted beverages are increasing in the market.
The production of beer in China representing more than 25% of the world market, already decreased by 2.3% in 2016 compared to 2015; this downward trend should be confirmed in 2017. Despite good performances in some countries such as Vietnam and India, the volume of sales in Asia seriously risks a continued decline.
A promising European market
In France, brewers confirmed that "In mid-March 2017, or about 20% of annual volumes, the market continues its momentum of the last three years with volume growth of + 8% and value of +11 % in hyper- and super-markets".
On the other hand, the German market, after three years in equilibrium, is down by 2.5% (93.5 million hl) For 2017. In contrast to previous years, exports have not been able to offset declines in domestic consumption. In 2017, preliminary figures show an export sales reduction of 4.1%.
The Brewers of Europe (an association of brewers from 29 European countries - the 28 of the EU and Turkey) announced in November 2017 that for the first time since 2008, sales exceeded the volume of 400 Mio. hl. Similarly, some 86 million hl were exported outside Europe, making it one of the top 10 exports of the European food industry.
The phenomenon of micro-breweries / craft breweries has not weakened in the past year. Since 2010, the number of micro-breweries has tripled. There are more than 8,500 and there is the creation of 20 micro-breweries per week. Having identified this phenomenon and responding to this trend, large groups have bought micro-breweries at phenomenal prices.
Despite this diversity of products, out-of-home consumption (Horeca) witnessed a significant drop of 3.5% last year.
In 2017, according to the official figures published by the Luxembourg Customs, 290,000 hl of beers were brewed in the Grand Duchy, almost identical to that of 2016. This stable result is mainly due to the progress exports.
The National Brewery Market
The market of the Brasserie Nationale extends over the region of the Grand Est, the North of France, Belgium (with the exception of Flanders) and throughout the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
As in other countries, the phenomenon of micro-breweries is also present here, with 30 amateur brewers. These brewers, professional brewers as well as associations supporting the brewing industry, have joined the Confederation of Breweries of Luxembourg. It brings together almost all producers. The phenomenon of micro-breweries has revived interest in beer products. Without counting imported beers, the consumer can taste more than 100 kinds of beers brewed in Luxembourg.
Unfortunately, the consumption of locally produced beers is struggling to grow, despite this expanded beer supply and population growth. This phenomenon can be explained by the increased competition from the many beers imported to local products. Very often, non-Luxembourg residents stay, at least at the beginning of their stay in Luxembourg, loyal to beers from their country of origin. As the market here is exceptionally open, more than 50% of the beers sold in Luxembourg are imported.
National Brewery / Munhowen
In 2017, the group announces good results. Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) exceeds €10.2 million, up compared to 2016.
The National Brewery
Despite a regression on the local market, the Brasserie Nationale has stabilised its sales by seizing new opportunities in the East and in Belgium. Sales of its beers remain stable at 150,000 hl and Ebitda for the 2017 financial year remains in line with forecasts of €4.0 million. The brewing of Battin beers has steadily progressed and is at the end of 2017, at over 41,400 hl., Battin offers a full range of seven beers ranging from Edel Pils to Triple through Gambrinus and the newly launched Battin Brune on the market.
In order to continue to increase savings and reduce energy, a photovoltaic installation has been installed at the brewery. Annual production is 28,600 KWh. In the same way, the regulation of the absorption drier, the insulation of the condensation tanks, as well as the isolations of pipes, make it possible to save some 150 MWh / year - an economy that equals the energy consumption of 17 single-family homes. These savings combined with other rationalisation effects favorably affect the cost price.
In order to adapt to the demands of its customers and to optimise the quality of draft beers with low flow customers, 20 l drums have been added to the barrel range. In addition, a new pipe cleaning method was implemented by the technical service of the brewery. This method allows the brewery to offer its customers and their consumers the best quality. The quality of our products also depends on the know-how of their employees; thus the great importance to the training of young brewers.
The brewery has taken over its historic name from Brasserie Nationale. Although it is known in Luxembourg as Brasserie Bofferding, Battin has taken a significant position in the range of its beers.
Aware that it is recognized as one of the most modern breweries in the region, and is proud of its family tradition going back more than 250 years, it decided to promote visits to its facilities. These visits share know-how and attract visitors eager for gaining knowledge. The brewery plans to welcome more than 20,000 visitors a year from 2020.
To date, the brewery employs 27 people.
Munhowen, a subsidiary of the Brasserie Nationale in charge of the marketing and administration of the brewery, has announced very satisfactory results.
The volume of sales of liquid products (excluding Brasserie Nationale products) exceeded 251,400 hl. up 29,340 hl. Total revenues increased by 8.70% to €74.4 million and Ebitda jumped more than 9% to €6.2 million.
The beer market in the Horeca sector follows the general European trend and continues to suffer, decreasing by 2%, offset by an increase in non-beer products.
Important investments
To seize the new opportunities available to the market, Brasserie Nationale has not hesitated to invest; this year, total investments again exceeded €4 million.
The Eastern market brought new opportunities. The extension towards Alsace has produced positive results. Turnover is up 6.9% as the products are identified as regional beer.
Results achieved in the Belgian sector are up 5.7% despite fierce competition. Again, the Battin brand manages to reach more and more consumers. It becomes the "special" of Pils beers.
In 2017, Brasserie Nationale added more than 58 new Horeca outlets, bringing the total to more than 3,000. They are the keystone of its visibility in the market, which is supported by some 60 distributors. The "Gëlle Flûte" programme distinguishes the best retailers.
Brasserie Nationale also participated in many events during 2017; in particular, it supported a number of sports events in the Grand Duchy, as well as major sports organisations, the Belgian Rugby Federation and FC Metz, to name but a few.
Also, an advertising campaign was launched to promote the Battin brand, now identified as the favourite brand of Luxembourg consumers.
As of 31 December 2017, Munhowen employed 233 people.
The group's managing director, Frédéric de Radiguès, stated "The consumer is more and more appreciative of locally brewed beers taking into account the purity of the ingredients. Our brewery has a long tradition in this field ... The innovation of our products is perfectly adapted to the demand of our consumers. I am very confident that our efforts to diversify our products both at the Brasserie Nationale and Munhowen are a real opportunity to face future challenges .... ".