As part of “The Way Forward 2020 and Beyond” programme, one of the recent European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU) initiatives is the introduction of a series of informative seminars aimed at beer consumers. You can access the latest presentation at youtu.be/CrfkrWv0rTM on the subject of “The Beer World After the Pandemic”.
A panel of experts from various countries fronted by Tim Webb, the international beer writer, addressed topics affecting the European beer scene during the pandemic. This was followed by a question and answer session addressing issues raised by the ninety or so attendees. Anyone can sign up for these free seminars which are aimed at adding to the knowledge of beer drinkers throughout Europe.
We can probably all agree that things will be different in the beer scene from now on and pubs will emerge in a different form if they are to thrive. More beer gardens may appear where space allows, screens will probably be retained, booking slots and face masks may still be required and customer habits might change.
The adage springs to mind that if you have not done something
for two years you will be inclined to forget about it, move on
and be unlikely to restart. It is important that we do not let this happen to pubs and beer festival attendance. One thing is sure, the pub or pub restaurant will still be a focal point for socialising.
Smaller brewers, however, have managed to adapt by bottling more of their production and selling direct to customers. I have had several cases of mixed beer since lockdown including Five Kingdoms, Fyne Ales and Leatherbritches (which was used for our online branch tasting social). This is a trend which might well continue and will allow them to recover and expand so they deserve our support if you are unable to get to the pub.
The big brewers, on the other hand, find it harder to adapt. Clearing stock cheaply to supermarkets during the pandemic will not last and eventually prices will creep back up. It has been suggested that their next big trend is to develop a market for ‘hard seltzers’ (basically alcopops for the older market) but no doubt these will also be full of sweet and sugary flavours. The choice is yours but I for one will give them a miss.
The EBCU will be working hard for the beer consumer on many fronts over the coming months. There is light at the end of the tunnel with approval in principle to move the organisation forward. By joining these seminars and filling in the response survey you make your opinion count and journey with us.
EBCU Executive, Summer 2021.