The Netherlands are renowned for its pale lagers, particularly Grolsch and Heineken, which are to be found all over the world. Grolsch is the main imported lager into the UK, with Heineken being the world’s fourth biggest beer brewer, after InBev, Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller.
Pale lagers make up 95% of Dutch beer production and consumption. The majority of Dutch brewers also make brew specials, the premier one being Bok which is brewed in the autumn and spring.
50% of Dutch beer is exported all over the world, over 1,500m litres p.a.
Dutch beer culture is somewhat different to that of Belgium and Germany. Here beer is considered to be a delicacy or purely a way of getting drunk. The “getting out of your head” is an option mainly practised by youth who are able to legally buy alcohol (not liquor) aged 16.
The actual drinking of alcohol has no set age limit, with the Netherlands Pilsner being the most popular beer. Further popular beers here are namely imported from Belgium. In addition, certain Dutch brewers copy Belgian beer styles like abbey beer and white beer. Grolsch have now started to brew Weizen beer.
The Dutch are more likely to rank good beer higher than most wines, whereas, that would not necessarily be the case in the UK or France.
The four leading breweries in the Netherlands are: Heineken (which brews Amstel as well), Grolsch, Bavaria and Inbev. Heineken is considered to have approximately 50% of the beer market.