Why The Czech Republic Consumes The Most Beer Per Capita In The World

For the 29th year in a row, the Czech Republic has earned the title of most beer consumption per capita in the world. In 2021, the most recent year with data available, Czechs drank an average of 184 liters each, which is about enough to fill a small bathtub. Those numbers are nearly double the second runner-up, Austria, who drank an average of 98 liters each.

To anyone familiar with the country's drinking habits, it's no surprise that the Czech Republic — where, for years, beer has been cheaper than water — has earned this boozy badge of honor. It wasn't that long ago that you could buy a half-liter of beer for about a dollar. As inflation continues to rise globally, that's starting to change, but it's still some of the cheapest beer in the world. And it's mostly local, with only one percent of the beer consumed having been imported.

If you'd like to whip out your economics degree, one major reason beer is so cheap is that there is an enormous supply of the stuff. In 2022, the Czech Republic produced roughly 20.6 million hectolitres of beer and exported 5.4 million (that's more than China). That leaves 15.2 million hectoliters leftover, an astounding amount of beer for one country to handle. Aided by an already low cost of living, it's no wonder Czechs can drink so much without breaking the bank.

A changing landscape

The romantic notion of a country where beer is cheaper than water may soon be a thing of the past. As a product that needs to be brewed, often pasteurized, and transported, rising prices can be attributed mainly to rising food and energy costs. Electricity and gas are becoming more expensive in the region due to the Russian-Ukranian conflict and OPEC's decision to cut the market off from its current supply. As fuel becomes more expensive, so does food and beverages, which affects beer makers' prices. Then you have the rising costs of owning and running a brick-and-mortar pub or restaurant, which are being passed onto the consumer.

Will these price increases be strong enough to topple the Czech Republic's 29-year reign as the world's greatest consumer of frothy? Only time will tell, but seeing how they've doubled the next contender's consumption, they've got a long way to go before they fall.