Germans have been drinking less of their legendary beer this year due to damp, cool weather, higher prices and a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, the Federal Statistics Office said.
German breweries said they sold 49.3 million hectolitres (1.1 billion gallons) of beer in the first half of the year, down 4.5 percent on the same period last year and continuing a negative trend.
AdvertisementThe figure marked the lowest level of sales since 1991 when the first figures for the unified country were compiled.
"In addition to the weather conditions, the current increases in beer prices and the ban on smoking in restaurants... had a strong impact on the trend in beer sales," the Statistics Office said.
The last of Germany's 16 states made lighting up in bars and restaurants largely illegal from July 2008, driving many smokers out of pubs.
Turnover for beer mixes that are generally popular in Germany such as lagers spiked with cola, fruit juice or liqueurs fell particularly sharply, by 7.4 percent to 2.1 million hectolitres.
German brewers sold the vast majority of their beer domestically with 42.2 hectolitres, versus 5.5 million hectolitres exported to other European Union countries and 1.5 million hectolitres to other markets.
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