Our Executive members come from different countries and associations with different goals and objectives. We have interviewed Bo L. Jensen for you.
Hello Bo, nice to talk to you. You have been the EBCU chairman since 2018. Can you tell us what is your role and what you have been up to lately?
As elected chairman, I see my role as the person who’s leading our work in the Executive Board and not the least, binding that work together with the external work for beer consumers all over Europe. My work is also to strengthen, and develop, the huge network EBCU have built the last 30 years of our existence. My role of chairman is of course also to secure our umbrella organization to improve our footprint and influence in the European beer scene for consumers. The tools are, on the one hand, to get more national organizations of beer consumers to join EBCU. And on the other hand, to connect to players within the European beer scene such as politicians and brewing organisations on both European and national levels. As NGO on European level, we connect to these players through engagements with the network around Brewers of Europe Forum, national and European beer clubs formed within the EU parliament and national level all over Europe.
These networks EBCU need to secure our focus for beer consumers, Diversity of beer, Information about beer, Cost of beer. In our work as EBCU, the chairman also helps gather a team of persons, in and around the Executive Board, to strengthen our impact on subjects of interests for beer consumers. My work lately has been to secure our organisation, formed back in 1990, to change and fit into how an NGO is working today. Even an organization as EBCU need to strengthen our impact on social medias. And again, we use our great network and gather persons in that “field” and bingo, we have formed a workgroup for social medias.
What would you like to see in the short/long term for EBCU? Any interesting projects?
Right now, we have two major projects. One is to change our legal identity into a modern NGO during various measures. One of them is to move our office to the hart of Europe. By the end of this year, we have established an address in Brussels, Belgium. So right now, there is an ongoing process to register our umbrella organization under Belgium law including move our bank business into mainland Europe. The other thing is about Beer and Wellbeing, a subject even more important now after the pandemic. The project is anchored in our Executive Board through a Professor of General Psychology and Methodology from Bamberg University. He has gathered a workgroup forming a paper of bullet points for the ongoing debate. A debate which has been led by The Health Taleban for many years, and nobody concerned about the wellbeing of joining a beer together with good friends. More important then ever, after two years without social gathering at all.
Your activities, as many others in Europe, have been reduced to a minimum during the pandemic. How did you organise the usual meetings, provided you could meet? Are there some activities you had to stop completely?
The last two years it has been a struggle to run a network organization. A lot of things can be done by online meetings (even gather EBCU and friends for our 30 years anniversary) but nothing is as good as meeting the players on the European beer scene in person and having a good, and local, beer together. Our own Delegate Meetings has also been on pause, and we had a few online ones, held as “bring your own beer” meeting. It is possible to run a very efficient meeting, but the network our origination in built on, it is totally out of function. And all our external network has been on pause as well. But part of the contacts was done online as well, so we have been in contact with the big players, online on a computer or by phone. But still a very weird way of running a network organization.
During this time, have you seen a change in the beer consumption habits in the different European countries? What are the “new normal” tendencies when it comes to beer?
The main thing is, I think, that the European beer consumer is enjoying more good beers as home, ordered online, or coming from their local brewery, local delivered. Maybe more money spends on good beers in stead the cheap ones from the local supermarket. The beers are consumed in small groups and among friends, but home. A big local support has also been the main thing all over Europe, and this is hopeful an ongoing item after the pandemic. The local support is one of the most important things regarding sustainability for the future health of our environment.
You also are a member of the Danish Beer Enthusiasts. What is the purpose of your organisation, and what do you do?
The organization in Denmark is named Danske Ølentusiaster and is working for the same issues as EBCU, Diversity of beer, Information about beer, Cost of beer, just on national level. A good and healthy contact to parliament and other players as Carlsberg, Royal Unibrew and the national Brewers Organization. Right now, I’m just a member of my national organization but an active user of the national beer festivals and regional tastings for members. And most important, I feel that I’m a part of something bigger, a great organization who speak my voice in the consumer case.
What are your favourite Danish brews? Any beer style you particularly like?
I have some favourites, mostly from my local neighbourhood of course, but as I have been in our national consumer organization and run the Copenhagen Beer Festival for several years in the past, I know quite some good breweries. And a good brewed, well-proportioned craft beer is my favourite, IPA, pilsner, porter or stout doesn’t not matter, as long it is technically well done.
Thanks a lot for your time! Do you want to add anything for our readers?
Support your local brewer, they will need us beer consumers also in 2022!