Hungary has a rich tradition of beer production, with popular brands such as Pécsi Szalon, Borsodi, Dreher, and Kőbányai. The industrial brewing industry in Hungary had a slow start but began to develop in the 18th century. In this article, we will explore the history of beer production in Hungary, the rise of large breweries, and the current state of the beer industry.
Early Beer Production in Hungary
In the early days, brewing in Hungary was mainly carried out by pub owners and their families. Setting up a brewery required permission from the larger towns, and the urban structure of cities often posed fire hazards, leading to limited grants to brew. It wasn't until the 1843 Industrial Law that importing and brewing beer became more accessible, paving the way for the establishment of larger breweries.
The Emergence of Large Breweries
In 1862, Antal Dreher bought the Kőbánya Brewing Society, which became the Dreher Brewery, a significant player in the Hungarian beer industry. Around the same time, Sámuel Hirschfeld founded the predecessor to the Pécsi Szalon Brewery in Pécs, and the First Sopron Brewery and Malt Factory was established in 1895.
State Control and the Era of Independence
After the Second World War, breweries in Hungary were taken over by the state. It wasn't until the late 1980s that they regained their independence. However, the strong expansion of large foreign companies led to the internationalization of the breweries.
Current State of the Beer Industry
In 2021, the combined sales of large domestic brewers in Hungary increased by 3.1 percent compared to the previous year. Domestic production also saw a 3.5 percent increase. The Covid pandemic had negative effects on beer producers in 2020 due to restrictions. One of the biggest concerns currently faced by the industry is the rise in production costs, mainly driven by the increase in energy prices.
Growing Trade with East Asian Countries
Hungarian beers mainly find their market in EU Member States, accounting for 80.46 percent of exports. However, there has been a notable increase in trade with East Asian countries. China, in particular, saw a significant rise in Hungarian beer exports, from 0.71 percent in 2014 to 10.6 percent in 2021. South Korea also witnessed a similar trend, with Hungarian beer accounting for 8.94 percent of their total beer imports in 2021.
Questions & Answers
What are some popular beer brands in Hungary? Some popular beer brands in Hungary include Pécsi Szalon, Borsodi, Dreher, and Kőbányai.
How long has beer been produced in Hungary? Beer production in Hungary has a long history and dates back to at least the 18th century.
When did industrial beer production begin in Hungary? Industrial beer production began to develop in Hungary towards the end of the 17th century.
Who were the main brewers in the early days of beer production in Hungary? In the early days, brewing in Hungary was mainly carried out by pub owners and their families. Those who wanted to set up their own brewery had to buy the right to do so from larger towns or own a town house.
When was it possible to import and brew beer freely in Pest? It became possible to import and brew beer freely in Pest in 1843 after the payment of a sales tax.
When was the Dreher Brewery established? The Dreher Brewery was essentially established in 1862 when it was bought by Antal Dreher.
What are some other notable breweries in Hungary? Some other notable breweries in Hungary include the Pécsi Szalon Brewery, founded in Pécs in 1848, and the First Sopron Brewery and Malt Factory, founded in 1895.
What happened to the breweries during the two world wars? During the First and Second World Wars, the beer industry in Hungary was transformed. Breweries were taken over by the state in 1949, and it was not until the late 1980s that they were able to operate independently again.
How has the beer industry in Hungary performed recently? In 2021, the combined sales of large domestic brewers in Hungary increased by 3.1 percent compared to the previous year. Domestic production also increased by 3.5 percent year-on-year.
Which countries are the main destinations for Hungarian beer exports? Hungarian beers are mainly destined for EU Member States, accounting for 80.46 percent of total exports. However, there has been significant growth in trade with East Asian countries. China accounted for 10.6 percent of Hungary's beer exports in 2021, up from 0.71 percent in 2014. South Korea also imports a significant volume of Hungarian beer, accounting for 8.94 percent of total exports in 2021.