Beer in Poland
At the end of 2013, there were 97 breweries in Poland, including microbreweries. Following World War II, most breweries were nationalized under the communist regime. After the collapse of the communist regime, a market economy was introduced, international beer companies moved in and a period of consolidation followed. Three companies now control 86% of the Polish beer market. The best-known Polish beers are Żywiec, Okocim and Tyskie.
Beer from small regional breweries, grouped in the Association of Polish Regional Breweries (Stowarzyszenie Regionalnych Browarów Polskich), crafts, contracted breweries and brewpubs is also becoming more popular.
According to a 2009 Ernst & Young report, Poland is Europe's third largest beer producer. Poland produces 36.9 million hectolitres, coming after the UK with 49.5 million hl and Germany with 103 million hl.
Following consecutive growth in the home market, Związek Pracodawców Przemysłu Piwowarskiego (the Union of the Brewing Industry Employers in Poland), which represents approximately 90% of the Polish beer market, announced during its annual brewing industry conference that consumption of beer in 2008 rose to 94 litres per capita, or 35,624 million hectolitres sold on the domestic market. Statistically, a Polish consumer drinks some 92 litres of beer a year, which places it third behind the Czech Republic and Germany.
In 2009, beer sales paid some PLN 3.097 bn in excise taxes to the Polish government. Total employment due to beer production and sales is 207,900.
Brands and varieties
Poland is well known for its beer culture and many varieties. Many breweries are majority owned by multinational companies.
- Kompania Piwowarska controls 45% of the Polish beer market. It is majority owned by SAB Miller. Its flagship brands include Tyskie from Tyskie Brewery Książęce, Lech from Lech Brewery Wielkopolski and Żubr from the Dojlidy Brewery.
- Grupa Żywiec S.A. controls 35% of the market. Żywiec is 61% owned by Heineken Group. It operates twelve breweries in Poland:
- Żywiec Brewery is one of the most well known brands. It has three varieties: Żywiec, Żywiec Bock, Heineken
- Elbrewery brews Specjal Jasny Pełny, Specjal Mocny, Warka Gdańskie, and Hevelius Kaper. The "EB" brand is available for export only.
- Leżajsk Brewery brews Leżajsk Pełne, Leżajsk Mocne, Podkarpackie, Tatra Jasne Pełne and Tatra Mocne.
- Warka Brewery brews Warka, Warka Strong, and Królewskie.
- Cieszyn Brewery brews Żywiec Porter, Brackie, Brackie Mastne.
- Okocim Brewery brews Carlsberg, O.K. Beer, Harnaś, Piast, Książ and Karmi.
- Kasztelan Brewery brews Kasztelan Jasne Pełne, Kasztelan Mocne and Kasztelan Niepasteryzowane.
- Bosman Brewery brews Bosman Full and Bosman Specjal.
- Ciechan Brewery Limited
- Ciechan Brewery
- Lwówek Brewery
- Bojanowo Brewery
- Van Pur Brewery in Rakszawa
- BROK Brewery in Koszalin
- Łomża Brewery
- Breweries Upper Silesia in Zabrze
- Jędrzejów Brewery
- Perła - Lubelskie Brewery
- Zwierzyniec Brewery
Images of selected breweries
Browar Spiż in Wrocław
Popular beer types
- Euro lagers of light, full and high strength. Called 'Piwo jasne pelne', 'Piwo jasne lekkie', 'Piwo jasne mocne'. ABV 3-9% depending on type, these most common beers found in Poland especially from 5%-6% ABV.
- Baltic porters, classic style originating from countries surrounding the Baltic sea, having its roots in porter and stout. Called 'Porter' or 'Piwo ciemne mocne'. Usually of high strength of around 8-10% ABV. Polish Baltic porters are considered the best in the world. Commercial example: Żywiec Porter, Okocim Porter, Porter Warmiński, Komes Porter Bałtycki, Ciechan Porter, Lwówek Porter.
- Amber lager styles - Vienna, Marzen, etc.
- Bock styles, mainly Doppelbock. Known as 'Kozlak' as well as 'Bock' in Poland. Commercial examples: Amber Koźlak
- "Ernst & Young - The Contribution Made By Beer To The European Economy". Brewersofeurope.org. 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Ernst & Young - Europe remains world’s top beer producer according to Ernst & Young report". Ey.com. 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "PMR.com - Decline in beer market continues in 2010". Polishmarket.com. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "Ernst & Young - Contributions to the Beer Market". Brewersofeurope.org. 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "SABMiller News & Media". Sabmiller.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- "PMR.com Grupa Zywiec results reflect condition of Polish beer market". Retailpoland.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- Carlsberg - Poland[dead link]
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- Polish beer caps (in Polish and Russian)