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Greek Alcohol Exports Achieved Historic Heights in 2022

Greek alcoholic beverages like ouzo have been doing well on the export market. Credit: / CC2

Greek alcohol exports reached historic highs last year according to Eurostat statistics processed by SEAOP. Ouzo proved particularly popular and was hailed as the “flagship” of the Greek alcohol industry.

Greek alcoholic beverages were especially sought-after in Germany, which was the top destination for spirit exports from Greece in 2022.

The industry is doing so well in fact, that Greek alcohol exports have risen in terms of both value and quantity when compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is important to note because the pandemic could easily distort figures, given the impact it had on global trade and consumption.

The data: Greek alcohol exports in 2022

Based on SEOAP’s data, there was an 11.8% increase in value from 86.5 million euros to 96.7 million euros in 2022 versus the previous year. This coincided with a 5.6% increase in quantity from 36 million kg to 38 million kg over the same time period.

Compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, export figures saw a significant increase in both value, at +27%, and quantity, around +10%. Looking at the last 5 years, this year shows a consistent rise in Greek alcoholic beverage exports, with a 28% increase in value and a 15% increase in quantity.

Additionally, the average selling price of alcoholic beverages increased by 11%, demonstrating a continuous upward trend over the past 5 years.

Export destinations

European Union member states remain the most consequential destinations for Greek alcohol exports. The 27-member bloc accounts for 73% of the total value of exports and 75% of the quantity.

Compared to 2021, there was an increase in exports within the EU-27 of €5.5 million at  +8.57% in value and 0.5 million kg in quantity, accounting for a +2% rise. Excluding the EU-27, there was an even more significant increase of 21.7% in value and 17.9% in quantity.

The top export destination for Greek alcoholic beverages is Germany. This is not surprising given the fact that Germany has the largest Greek diaspora in Europe. Last year, €39.6 million worth of Greek alcoholic beverages were exported to Germany, accounting for 38.2% of the industry’s exports.

The second most popular destination for Greek alcoholic beverages is far more surprising, however. Last year, Iraq accounted for €17.3 million worth of exports. This is partially due to the long-lasting affects of conflict in the country which forced many Iraqi distilleries to cease prdouction of arak, an Iraqi drink similar to ouzo. Over the past few years, ouzo has therefore become a popular alternative to arak.

Neighboring Bulgaria followed, with an export value of €8.1 million, then the Czech Republic at €4.3 million, Poland at €3.9 million, and France at €3.5 million.

Most popular beverages

Ouzo, Greece’s anise-flavored aperitif, remains the most popular alcoholic beverage exported from Greece. This is in part due to its strong international reputation and high quality.

For the Greek distillery industry, Ouzo has consistently been its primary export, comprising 61% of the total value and 70% of the total quantity of Greek spirits exported in 2022. Last year, there was a notable increase in the value of international exports by 11.93% and in quantity by 3.65%.

Compared to 2021, Ouzo exports within the EU-27 in 2022 experienced a slight increase in value of 2.24%, but a decrease in quantity by -3.52%. On the other hand, outside the EU-27, there was a noteworthy increase of 33.6% in value and 23.2% in quantity.

SEAOP also noted the popularity of other Greek alcoholic beverages on the export market. Although only accounting for a small market share of the Greek alcoholic exports, a respectable rise of 11.7% in value and 19.1% in quantity of tsipouro and tsikoudia were recorderd.

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