It is an irrefutable fact that in Spain people drink more beer than wine. The price, culture and ease of access to beer mean that beer consumption takes precedence over wine. Behind all this, marketing and advertising play a fundamental role. Beer is everywhere: on television, in magazines, on billboards, etc. On a simple stroll through our neighbourhood, it is easy to see how in bars, cafés and terraces, the glasses, cups, chairs, tables and umbrellas belong to beer brands, and some even pay money for exclusivity. In this way, the brewers act as financiers of bars and restaurants, charging a high return price. An offer against which the wine sector cannot compete.
Why can’t wine fight against this system? Quite simply. Beer is an immediate product and wine is not. Wine is made once a year, as it requires a year-long cultivation and brewing process, while beer is brewed on demand, requiring only water and grain. The litres are produced on demand. This is unthinkable for most of the wine industry. This is the key to unequal competition.
On the other hand, and leaving aside this lost war, it is curious that Spain, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), despite being the third largest wine producer, behind Italy and France, is not among the top ten wine consumers per capita. At the top of the list is Portugal, followed by France and Italy, while Spain, in 2018, was in twelfth position. How is it possible that, being one of the leading wine producers, we are not among the top ten consumers per capita worldwide?
In my opinion, it is a lost war due to multiple factors. Firstly, in this country, which is extremely complex, we do not know how to sell ourselves, nor do we give importance to what we produce. Secondly, because we are a country that sells on the cheap rather than on quality. And thirdly, related to the previous ones, it is a problem of education and contempt for our culture, because beer is an imported product and wine is our tradition. Perhaps my opinion seems harsh, even blunt, but the facts are the facts and, in particular, I can find no other explanation.