The Brewers Forum in Lille: A Pivotal Moment for Europe’s Beer Industry

By: Trademagazin Date: 2024. 05. 27. 10:34

The historic city of Lille, France, usually synonymous with wine, recently hosted an unprecedented event from May 26 to 30—The 6th Brewers Forum and the 39th European Brewers Convention (EBC). This was the first large-scale event following a hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking a significant resurgence for the beer industry in a region known for its rich wine culture.

Selected by the European Brewers Association, Lille proved to be an ideal location due to its vibrant student population and cultural heritage, not to mention its accessibility from major cities like Brussels and Paris. The choice of Lille underscores a significant shift in the French beverage landscape: beer is becoming as celebrated as wine.

This year’s event drew around 900 participants including brewers, suppliers, policymakers, journalists, and consumer advocates. They convened to address the industry’s current challenges and trends such as efficiency, competitiveness, sustainability, and technological advancements in packaging and agriculture integration. A wide range of topics were covered, from hop breeding and fermentation control to sensory science and the development of low-alcohol beers, highlighting a move towards more sustainable and innovative brewing practices.

In his opening remarks, Lasse Aho, president of the European Brewers Association, emphasized the substantial contribution of the beer sector to the European economy—supporting around two million jobs and generating approximately €40 billion in governmental revenue through taxes. He stressed the importance of not politicizing beer, especially with the upcoming European Parliament elections, indicating that the political climate can significantly affect the regulatory environment for the industry.

The forum also welcomed its new president, Paul Lefebvre, from the Brasserie Lefebvre, a Belgian family brewery established in 1876. Taking over from Benet Fitet, Lefebvre brings a fresh perspective and vast experience to tackle key challenges in brewing. His leadership is expected to focus on enhancing quality control standards globally and fostering an environment that continues to produce exceptional beers.

The Brewers Forum in Lille represents a critical juncture for the beer industry, reflecting on its role in society and its capacity to bring people together, whether in celebration or remembrance. As France witnesses a surge in brewery openings, nearly one per day in recent years, the event highlighted the growing commitment to beer tourism and the industry’s evolving dynamics, showing that even in a traditionally wine-dominated culture, beer can find a significant place.

Related news