What we learned from Lille about beer’s future

What we learned from Lille about beer’s future

What we learned from Lille about beer’s future

Last week was a special one as I spent four days in Lille with hundreds of brewers and beer stakeholders from around the world to talk about the future of beer. It was a heartening moment.

After all that the past few years have thrown at us, from a pandemic to supply chain disruptions to new regulations, and the current geopolitical upheaval, the mood at Lille was upbeat. Everyone believes the future for beer can be bright.

The event was #Lille2024, the joint gathering of the Brewers Forum and the EBC Congress, and included suppliers, distributors, policymakers, researchers, NGOs and many more.

At the podium, speaker after speaker talked about how they were investing in new facilities, how their research was paying off or how they were finding ways to become even more sustainable. That was also what I heard in my many conversations in and around the forum.

However, we still need to plan for the years ahead. Which is why The Brewers of Europe manifesto is so important. This is a blueprint for European Union policymakers coming in over the next few weeks and months, explaining what we represent and what we need to thrive.

We have seven asks in the manifesto, starting with recognising beer for what it truly is: a low alcohol fermented drink, rooted in nature.

We also ask the EU to implement a fair excise tax framework that recognises the economic and social significance of beer; to ensure a fair implementation of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR); to incentivise innovation in brewing; to prioritise essential, objective and comparable labelling legislation; to set a legal framework to support innovation in sustainable food systems; and to remove unnecessary bureaucratic burdens and cultivate a robust industrial policy.

Beer is intricately connected with Europe’s society, economy and traditions. The Brewers of Europe’s incoming Secretary General Julia Leferman said it best in her keynote speech. “Beer is Europe’s choice. It is part of our heritage and continues to be enjoyed in every member state.”

In a few days, voters across the continent will head to the polls to vote for the new European Parliament. In the months afterwards, a new European Commission will take office. This is a fresh era and we want to be part of it. We want to engage with policymakers to ensure beer continues to be a force for good. At Lille, I saw how committed the brewing sector is to the future – and to keeping beer at the heart of Europe.

#BeerFuture #UseYourVote

Simon Spillane
Head of Operations

About The Brewers of Europe:

Based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe brings together national brewers’ associations and companies from 28 European countries to support the united interests of Europe’s 10,000+ breweries. Our vision is to ensure a competitive, responsible and sustainable European brewing sector, creating shared value across the entire value chain and enriching European culture.