Brewers union: 20% of beer market in Bulgaria lost because of closure of catering establishments

Twenty per cent of the beer market in Bulgaria has been lost because of the closure of catering establishments – among measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 – and added to this is a decline in sales in shops, according to the Union of Brewers in Bulgaria.

The union has seven member companies: Bolyarka, Britos, Zagorka, Kamenitsa, Carlsberg Bulgaria, Lomsko Pivo and Dorovski Invest. Together, these companies account for more than 98 per cent of beer production in Bulgaria.

The Union of Brewers said in a statement that with the Covid-19 crisis, analysts are forecasting economic and social challenges for the beer industry, while employers firmly believe that maintaining employment in the sector is a top priority.

It said that 35 and 40 per cent of those whose income depends on Bulgaria’s beer industry work in the HoReCa – hotels, restaurants, cafes – business. These are closed as part of the emergency measures against Covid-19.

The union cited National Social Security Institute (NSSI) data as showing that in 2019, a total of 2150 people were employed in the production of beer and malt, and 9000 in the related suppliers sector.

Together with the employees in the HoReCa sector and the retail network, about 34 700 jobs were generated by the production and sale of beer in Bulgaria.

Annually, the union’s member companies invested about eight million leva in the training and qualification of human resources.

It cited NSSI statistics as showing that in the past 15 years, employees in the brewing industry had the best income compared with other sectors in Bulgaria’s food industry.

The union said that according to the most recent survey by Europe Economics, the value added of the brewing industry in Bulgaria was estimated at 225 million euro, and the state’s tax earnings from the production and sale of beer was about 168 million euro.

Should the industry decline back to the levels of 2014/15, which had been among the lowest of the past 20 years, the revenue for the budget would be cut by at least 10 to 15 per cent, while jobs in the supplier sector would fall by about 25 per cent, the Union of Brewers said.

It added that in spite of the expected strong stagnation in the beer industry, brewers are unanimous in their firm support for measures taken by EU governments to curb the spread of Covid-19 and preserve people’s health and life.

“The Brewers of Europe supports the extraordinary measures being taken to restrict the spread of the virus, such as shutting down bars, restaurants and festivals, to prevent social gatherings,” the European organisation said in a letter in late March to the leaders of the EU, the European Central Bank and finance ministers.

“We urge national and European policymakers to keep the impact on the hospitality sector front-of-mind when considering and proposing measures to soften the negative economic and personal effects during this time,” the Brewers of Europe said in an open letter.

(Photo: Pavlo Araujo/

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