Beer: First evidence of beer brewing in Austria as early as the 9th century in the area of Lake Constance; first documented mention of beer in Styria around 1200. In the 14th century farmers produced their own beer, later brewing became a ducal prerogative and beer was mainly produced in towns and monasteries.
In Austria today, the following types of beer can be distinguished: lager or Maerzen beer (well-malted, lightly hopped, bottom fermented); Pils (more strongly hopped), "Weizenbier" or wheat beer (top-fermented); "non-alcoholic" beer (less than 1.9% alcohol).
In 1997 there were 54 industrial breweries and 34 smaller, traditional breweries ("Gasthausbrauereien") in Austria. Per-capita consumption rose from 85 litres (1962) to 113 litres (1997). Beer production increased between 1963 and 1997 from 6.3 million to 9.4 million hectolitres. Since 1980 there have been numerous mergers and amalgamations in the industry.
Oesterreichische Brau AG, Brau Union Oesterreich AG, Fritz Egger GmbH, Ottakringer Brauerei AG, Steirerbrau AG, Stiegelbrauerei.