German brewers forced to throw away beer, seek state aid like pubs

Beer garden manger attends to mugs during tapping of barrel near Theresienwiese, Munich
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HAMBURG (Reuters) - German brewers have been forced to throw away unsold beer and have asked the government for financial aid as the coronavirus lockdown reduces demand, they said on Monday.

German pubs, hotels and restaurants have been closed since November in the country’s second lockdown following the first one earlier last year.

The brewers called on the German government to give beer breweries aid under the country’s programmes to help industry recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Germany's government has given financial aid to pubs and bars but not breweries.

"From week to week, ever more breweries, brewery-owned pubs and wholesalers are facing a threat to their existence through no fault of their own and are threatened by insolvency," said an open letter from about 300 breweries released by the brewers’ associations DBB and VPBD.

The letter was signed by breweries including Carlsberg Deutschland, a unit of Danish brewer Carlsberg, the Bitburger Braugruppe, Krombacher and Paulaner Brauerei.

"The lockdown and the collapse of the draught beer market this created meant breweries lost a large part of their economic foundations overnight," the letter said.

"Stock worth many millions of euros that has exceeded its sell-by date has had to be thrown away."

Sales of bottled beer in shops were “nowhere near enough” to compensate for lost sales to the hospitality sector and weak exports, the breweries said.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Ed Osmond)