New data shows that Greece’s tax on beer is among the top five in Europe. Each European country is required to have a Special Consumption Tax on beer, the minimum of which is 1.87 euro per 100 liters. Greece is far from the minimum, however, with a tax rate of 0.21 euros per bottle of beer.
Finland, Ireland, Great Britain and Sweden come in just before Greece with the highest tax rates on beer in Europe. Finland taxes their beer at a whopping 0.63 euros per bottle, Ireland 0.37, Great Britain 0.35, and Sweden 0.32. The taxation on beer also includes VAT–value added tax– and Greece’s VAT is currently 24%, compounding the taxes on beer even more.
Greece is a producer of high-quality beers. Usually, famous beers come from Germany, Belgium or the Czech Republic but Greece’s burgeoning range of craft ales is giving them a run for their money.
Beer is a staple of ancient and modern Greece
In Ancient Greece, beer was not a drink of domestic production but it was consumed and imported to a large extent, mostly during festivities in the honor of goddess Demeter. The first breweries appeared in Greece at the end of the 19th century; today the outlook is very promising.
Many different regions in Greece have their own beers, often handcrafted and produced in small quantities. Many come from small or family microbreweries, resulting in a product that, instead of being produced massively and with industrial technology, is cared for from the beginning of the process until it reaches the sales point.
Everybody knows the variety of Greek beers that can be found in the supermarket as well as in tavernas and restaurants. Brands such as Mythos are a long-time favorite for visitors to Greece. Fix and Alpha are mostly preferred by locals. Fix was born in 1864 (with a brief out-of-business period). This beer has a malty and fruity aroma with a rather hoppy finish to it. Alfa is a light blonde Lager that has been around for over 48 years.
However, many Greek regions and islands also have their brands and distinctive tastes, so let’s take a look at the rising prominence of Greek beer.
Volkan has become synonyms with Santorini. In the brewing process, Volkan brings together lava rock-filtered mineral water and the best of local ingredients such as rare Santorini grape honey and ancient kitron essence from Naxos. Their labels include Volcan Santorini Blonde (Pilsner), Volcan Santorini Black (Dunkel), Volcan Santorini Grey (Wheat Exotic Lager), and Volcan Santorini White (Light Blonde Lager).
Nissos is the first Greek beer to have received the Silver European Beer Star award in 2014. Nissos is produced in Tinos and it is an artisanal, unpasteurized beer. They use the finest quality malts, aromatic hops, and carefully selected yeast. The fermentation process is slow, traditional and completely natural.
Nissos beers are full of exciting flavors and naturally carbonated, containing no preservatives or additives. Among their range is Nissos Organic All-Day Lager and Nissos 7 Beaufort Strong Dark Pilsner, a robust beer whose name refers to a ‘triangle of the winds’ between Tinos, Delos and Mykonos. Finally, their Nissos Tholi is a naturally hazy beer.
Fresh Chios Beer is a special brew coming from Kampos, produced in small quantities, unfiltered and unpasteurized. The beer from the island of Chios is gaining recognition all over the country and they are easy to find in several bars and restaurants. Among the labels to taste, there is the Fresh Chios Beer, the Smoked Robust Porter and the Chios Beer BBQ.