Italy's beer landscape

Italy's beer landscape

If you want to gain an insight into the Italian beer scene, Rimini is the place to be. The Beer & Food Attraction trade fair takes place there every February. It is regarded as a hub for trends and changes in the beverage and out-of-home food sector. 42 percent of the well over 400 exhibitors are from the brewing industry. The trade fair is over. Brewery stand followed brewery stand. Beer in important in the wine country Italy. 

Birra dell'Anno

Parallel to the trade fair, UnionBirrai, the association of small and independent breweries in Italy, is organizing the Birra dell'Anno beer competition. Only Italian breweries can take part. 255 breweries submitted their beers and a total of 2,153 were entered. The jury was international. They selected Ritual Lab as Brewery of the Year with five first and one third place. 

Beer country Italy?

The figures show that Italy is not just a wine country. On the contrary, the love of beer is growing and while per capita consumption is falling in the classic beer countries, it has risen continuously in Italy over the past 15 years, reaching 38 liters in 2022*. Beer and wine consumption per capita are even converging. 

Per capita consumption in a European comparison, 2022*: 
Czech Republic: 136 liters 
Austria: 102 liters 
Germany: 92 liters
Switzerland: 54 liters
We can see an even more significant increase in the number of breweries in Italy. UnionBirrai counted 1,326 breweries in 2022, compared to 649 in 2015. Most breweries are very small. There are no output figures, but the size of the breweries is measured by the number of employees. 51 percent of all breweries are sole proprietorships without employees**. 

Italy's favorite beer styles

Italians love IPAs and other ales as well as the Italian interpretation of Pilsner, called Italian Pilsner. It is hopped with hops. Another beer style has even made it into the European Beer Star category list beyond Italy's borders: Italian Grape Ale, or IGA for short. 

Italian Grape Ale

The fruits of Italy's vineyards find their way into beer. IGAs are fruit beers in which grapes and/or grape must are added for fermentation. The basic beer styles vary, as do the grape varieties and colors as well as the fermentation method with cultured yeasts or spontaneous fermentation. 

The Birra dell'Anno competition responds to the wide range on offer from breweries in three different categories: 
Red Italian Grape Ale
White Italian Grape Ale
Sour Italian Grape Ale

These are the winning beers 2023 in the three IGA categories: 

Red IGA:
IGA CON UVE BIANCHE - Birrificio Artigianale Alba
White IGA:
IGA CON UVE ROSSE - Birrificio Artigianale Alba
Sour IGA:
SELVA SOUR - Birra Dell'Eremo

Click here to see all winners of the Birra dell'Anno. 

*Source: Brewers of Europe, European Beer Trends 2022
**Source: UnionBirrai, Report 2022 "BIRRA ARTIGIANALE, FILIERE E MERCATI"

Photo: AdobeStock-JFL Photography

Ritual Lab
Birrificio Alba
Birra dell'Eremo

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