Simon Spillane / Director Communications and Public Affairs.
European Brewers Forum and EBC Congress open in Madrid
Madrid, May 30, 2022 @ 10.00 CET – Today 1,000 representatives from the beer value chain are gathering in Madrid for the 2022 edition of the European Brewers Forum and the 38th Congress of the European Brewery Convention (EBC), the first such in-person event in three years.
Brewers, suppliers, policymakers, consumer groups and many others are able once again to come together to celebrate beer, debate the challenges facing the sector and discuss the solutions as brewing pursues its hard-fought recovery from the Covid crisis.
The joint Brewers Forum and EBC Congress is also an opportunity to jointly celebrate the 100th birthday of the Spanish Brewers’ Association, Cerveceros de España and the 75th anniversary of the European Brewery Convention (EBC).
Speaking at the official inauguration, The Brewers of Europe Vice President, Christian Weber, will note how the event is taking place at a time when Europe is still only just starting to exit a difficult two-year period of society lockdowns and shutdowns of the hospitality and cultural sectors placing untold pressures on hundreds of thousands of businesses. “This situation put a lot of breweries at risk,” he will remind the Forum Plenary. “Our direct supplies to customers were severely impacted for months, and the hospitality sector has suffered a lot, let alone our consumers. However, we were able to overcome this difficult time due to a great deal of concrete solidarity across the entire beer value chain.”
Weber will note that cafés, bars, pubs and restaurants continue to face staff shortages, while at the supply end, brewers have seen further price hikes and shortages in energy, raw materials, and packaging over recent months as war has once again returned to the European continent. “These days, we are all looking not just for Plan B but Plan C, D, E and so on. Because, sometimes, the durability of our breweries is also at stake,” he will say. However, Weber remains upbeat: “Never underestimate the resilience capacity of brewers! Finding new solutions, just as we do, for example, in the demanding field of environmental sustainability, is our common passion,” he will conclude.
In his address, EBC President Benet Fité will compare the current crisis with Europe’s rebuilding after the Second World War. Just like then, there is now a raw materials crisis that threatens to devastate industries like the brewing sector. “In 1947 the EBC was set up and brewers found solutions by coming together to develop and improve raw materials and the brewing process,” he will say. “Brewers worked at brewing better beer, using less but better-quality raw materials and fewer resources. In a way, sustainability was already part of the brewing sector’s DNA 75 years ago, when the EBC was created.”
Fité will appeal to brewers to once again unite and show their resilience and resourcefulness in the face of unprecedented challenges. “We need to do more together to find new solutions. That can only happen through collaboration, innovation and research sharing,” he will say.
The post-Covid strains on the brewing sector are being further exacerbated by the ongoing devastation in Ukraine. A human tragedy first and foremost, the war is also disrupting economic, energy supply and food systems for both Europe and the wider world. The brewing sector has in recent years pursued a variety of new ideas to become more sustainable and more responsible. One of the Official Partner Events of the European Union’s annual Green Week, the Forum is set to show how brewing can continue to re-invent itself to become more innovative, sustainable, responsible, inclusive and rewarding.
Kicking off with a session on environmental sustainability, the event will feature over ten hours of debate on “brewing green”, including some of the biggest names in beermaking showcasing the latest innovations and developments in brewing science and research. Attendees over three intense days can follow more than 30 different seminars, presentations and workshops covering issues ranging from recycling and recovery to innovative brewing techniques, to marketing and storytelling, to company diversity, equity and inclusion policies.
As people come together physically, the Forum will be an opportunity for brewers and our friends to once again collectively look to the future with optimism, creativity and solidarity.
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About The Brewers of Europe:
Based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe brings together national brewers’ associations from 29 European countries and provides a voice to support the united interests of Europe’s 12,000 breweries. The Brewers of Europe promotes the positive role played by beer and the brewing sector in Europe and advocates the creation of the right conditions to allow brewers to continue to freely, cost-effectively and responsibly brew and market beer across Europe. Follow us on Twitter and visit our website.