Alcoholic: Greek exports broke the barrier – starring ouzo and tsipouro

The Greek industry is also increasing in 2023, surpassing 100m euros, according to data from the Association of Greek Alcoholic Drinks Producers (SEAOP). Although exports of all European alcoholic beverages decreased by 7% in 2023 compared to 2022, the Greek beverage/distillery industry stood out by increasing its exports by 9.4%, surpassing the 100m-euro barrier. Engine power has been the indisputable quality of Greek alcoholic beverages that seems to be responding at international level. As can be seen from Eurostat’s provisional data prepared by the SEAO, in 2023 the export activity of Greek alcoholic beverages is further enhanced and far above the pre-dandemic levels. In particular, compared to 2022, there was a total increase (within the EU 27 and third countries) in euro value by 9.4% (+9.12m euros at absolute prices). Unlike the total value, exports to a quantity of kilos, Greek alcoholic beverages show a drop, recording a reduction of -5.02% (-2 million kg at absolute prices). Increasing is recorded in 2023 and the evolution of the average unit price, per exported kg of drink where it shows an increase of 15.2%. Compared to the last 5 years (2023 – 2019) the Greek alcoholic beverage industry has recorded a timeless increase in its exports, in value of +39.3%, but also in quantity of +5.2%. It is worth mentioning that the drop in all exports of Greek alcoholic beverages to Third Countries in 2023 is largely responsible for reducing exports to Iraq, where in 2023 the Law on the Prohibition of Importation and Sale of Spirit Drinks was applied. This negative change has particularly affected Greek exports of alcoholic beverages as Iraq is the second most important country of destination for Greek alcoholic beverages and these effects are translated into -22 % (from 7.1 million kg in 2022 to 5.6 million kg) in quantity and -16 % (-2.7 million EUR) in value compared to 2022. The reduction in the quantity of exports ‘contributes’ to the rise in the average selling price (EUR/kg) of Greek alcoholic beverages which is on the rise, as 2023 increased by +15,2 % (19,2 % in Third Countries and 14,5 % in EU 27), compared to 2022. Exporting countries As far as export destinations are concerned, the EU-27 Member States are consistently the most important destinations of Greek spirits, with 76% at a value of EUR 80.7 million and 78% at a quantity of 28.4 million kg. According to the further analysis of ELSTAT’s data, exports within the EU-27 of the Greek beverage industry in 2023 compared to 2022 show a significant increase in value .10 million euros (percentage of 13.7%), while there is a small drop in -0.2 million kg (percentage of 0.7%). With regard to exports outside the EU-27 there is a reduction in both the value of euro and the quantity of kg. In particular, -2.3 in value (from EUR 26 million in 2022 to EUR 25,4 million in 2023) and -18 % in quantity (from 9,5 million kg in 2022 to 7,8 million kg in 2023). Germany consistently appears in the first place, as the main exporting country of Greek alcoholic beverages, as 40% in value (42.5 million euros) and 45.4% in quantity (16.5 million kg) of Greek beverages are driven to Germany. Second most important country of destination of Greek alcoholic beverages is still (despite falling) Iraq with export value EUR 14,6 million and EUR 5.6 million. In the list with the main exporting countries, Bulgaria is followed by 10m euros (which records an increase of +25.7% in value), the Netherlands with 5m euros (with an increase of +98% in value), Austria with 3.8m euros (with an increase of +194% in value), Poland with a 3.7m euros (which records a fall -4.1% in value) from the EU-27 and Albania with 2.9m euros, the US with 2.2m euros (14% in value) and Israel with 0.96m euros (-6.6% in value) from the Third Countries. The following chart shows the respective shares of the countries of destination of Greek spirits and spirits within and outside the EU-27 (% of value). Ouzo – Tsipouro Greek ouzo is the major protagonist and is at the top in terms of exports of Greek alcoholic drinks. Although it has similar drinks to compete with from countries such as Italy, Spain, France, etc., it has been established internationally due to its high quality. It is over time the main exported product of the Greek beverage industry, occupying the last year (2023) 58% of the value and 68% of the total exports of Greek spirits In 2023 an increase in the value of Uzo exports is recorded internationally, which is translated by percentages of . .4% (+2.3 million euros), while in quantity it shows a drop of -7.3% (about -2 million kg). Uzu exports within the EU-27 in 2023 show a significant increase in value by 13.5%, while in quantity they show a decrease of -1.8%, compared to 2022. Unlike the EU, its exports to Third Countries show a great decrease in both value and quantity, which is responsible for reducing its exports to Iraq. In particular, the percentage decrease in value is As far as the most important exporting countries of ouzo are concerned, Germany holds the first position with 46.5% of the total in value and 50.8% in quantity, followed by Iraq with 23.3% in value and 21.9% in quantity and in third place Bulgaria with 13 % in value and 10.7% in quantity. Exports of tsipouro/tsikoudia though they represent a very small share (.2% in value and .1% in quantity) of all exports, record a steady rise. In particular, exports within the EU-27 in 2023, compared to 2022, showed an increase of .22% in value and a decrease of -1.5% in quantity. As far as the Third Countries are concerned, there is an increase in value .15% and a fall in quantity . -13%. Compared to 2020 (where Eurostat first describes it in a separate TARIC code) the total increase is 61.2% in value (+.89 million EUR) and .50% in quantity (+0.11 million kg) Germany is in the first position of destination of the tsipouro with a 44.1% share of the total in euro value, in the second place Cyprus is followed by 10.8% and in third place the US with 10.1%. According to the above statistics prepared by the SEAP, the drinking and distilling industry seems to be one of the most outward-looking by highlighting the Greek tradition around the world, while it is a driving force for the domestic economy with an upward trend in exports. The next step in this course is to ensure the preservation and expansion of this trend of extroversion. At the same time, it must be ensured that the domestic production base is supported, replacing – where possible – imports and lightening the trade balance deficit. What is the recipe for exports to be a structural advantage for the Greek production sector on the one hand, on the other hand, of the Greek economy? One piece concerns the innovative activity of export companies, namely both the production of new high added-value quality products, which extend the consumer base, and the transformation of productive and organizational processes within businesses in order to improve their productivity. The other part concerns the existence of a national export facilitation strategy. In other words, they should be able to conclude trade agreements with third countries to open new markets and opportunities, design new funding tools, reduce administrative costs and the time required by customs export procedures, in accordance with the relevant practices of other European countries. The other part also concerns the existence of a national strategy for the promotion and promotion of Greek spirits by establishing co-financed promotion programmes within and outside the EU, using the tourist wave Greece receives, through the inclusion of spirits in culinary tourism promotion programmes.