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Beer Serves Europe IV

On 06/12/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

For the fourth year running, the Brewers of Europe(BoE) hosted 'Beer Serves Europe' in Brussels. This year the theme was economy and beer. It marked the launch of the EY report 'The Contribution made by Beer to the European Economy' and also a positive piece of research from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) 'The European Beer Industry; incentivising the growth potential'. Following speeches from the President of the Brewers of Europe and the EESC, I was invited to sit on the panel for an hour's discussion.

The EY report found that beer supports 2 million jobs, representing 1% of all jobs in the EU. I was able to talk about the importance of the supply chain. In Europe one job in brewing creates one job in agriculture, one in packaging and logistics, one in marketing, one in retail and 11 in hospitality. As we are the only association within BoE who represents the on-trade as well as producers; the link with pubs in the UK was clear. The EESC recommended that EU states work to create a 'predictable and stable tax regime' for beer, which linked well with our economic arguments in favour of a further beer duty freeze..

On the panel was Dana Bachmann from DG Education and Culture. She was promoting the European Alliance on Apprenticeships and is keen for small and large organisations to pledge their support. It gave me an opportunity to talk about the interest in training in the UK - the Mums factor - and specifically that you can be running your own business by the time you are 25 with training provided for all levels and even the potential for a degree.

Salvatore D'Acunto is from DG Enterprise and is responsible for TTIP and the negotiations between the EU and US on import and export tariffs. I explained the discrepancy between US small brewers who benefit from EU small brewer relief, but that the reduction in the US for small brewers from $18 to $7 is not offered to their counterparts from the EU. He was keen to support.

Edwin Calleja from Malta was one of the co-authors of the EESC report. He was very supportive of my call for all EU states to recognise the contribution of the beer sector to their own economy and provide support. He was very surprised when I talked about the 42% increase we had in beer duty over 4 years and was certainly supportive of a continued tax freeze. We discussed the contribution of brewers to the environment; anaerobic digestion; climate change agreements; water saving and energy.

The debate ended with a look to the future. I promoted beer as low strength; a drink of choice; our Let There Be Beer campaign and the employment opportunities we offer. Kim Evenpoel a journalist from the Belgium equivalent of the FT saw the continued strength of our industry, but like us all clearly saw the continued challenges too.

The EESC opinion on "Incentivising the growth potential of the European beer industry" is available to view here


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