Case Study

The future of the global beer industry: What is brewing beyond the Covid-19 pandemic?

20 pages
October 2021
Reference: IMD-7-2322

The global beer industry took an unprecedented hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the world, governments implemented restrictive coronavirus containment measures such as national lockdowns, curfews and social distancing mandates. Bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs were shuttered. Concerts, festivals and sports events were cancelled or postponed. Global tourism came to a standstill. The beer industry, which was largely tied to the hospitality sector, suffered furloughs, layoffs and steep declines in sales, as countries went in and out of (partial) lockdown in staggered stages throughout 2020 and 2021. While some companies had managed to offset on-trade losses with off-trade gains, overall, e-commerce and supermarket sales weren’t enough to prevent the market from significantly contracting during the pandemic. Despite government support in certain countries, bankruptcy was a looming threat for many breweries, potentially giving way to a reconfiguring of market share around the world. The global beer industry was in distress even before the disruptive events of COVID-19, but the pandemic accentuated major vulnerabilities and accelerated key trends. What would define the beer industry during its COVID-19 recovery and beyond? How could players bounce back and thrive after the crisis? What lessons could be taken into the post-pandemic future? Elizabeth, a young associate at a top consulting firm, grapples with these questions while working for a leading client in the beer industry.

Learning Objective
  • Understand how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global beer industry
  • Analyze macro-trends shaping the global beer industry
  • Evaluate the long-term attractiveness of the global beer industry
  • Identify risks and opportunities for players in the beer industry, based on emerging trends and key lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beer, Digital, Digital Disruption, Globalization, COVID-19, Pandemic
Consumer Goods, Food and Beverage, Consumer Goods, Beer
Published Sources
© 2021
Available Languages
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Teaching note
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