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Travels in September

On 16/09/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

I am currently reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey, which is particularly appropriate given this month’s travel-heavy schedule and my recent holiday in the Cevennes! I am of course very thankful that methods have improved somewhat – as I will be taking the usual plane or train as opposed to donkey… September brings regional meetings, party conferences and the Brewers of Europe gathering in Croatia. So here are a few words on each…

Last week I attended the SBPA meeting in Edinburgh where, among other things, we watched a presentation about the partnership with Jobcentre Plus in Scotland and our continuing work with VisitScotland to promote beer and pubs as a part of the economically significant Scottish hospitality industry.

Towards the end of the week I headed to Manchester for the North West BBPA meeting and a farewell lunch for Lee Le Clercq. Apparently his Grandfather, Jean Baptiste Le Clercq, left the Marne and became apprenticed as a Cooper at the Mortlake brewery - what a small world. Whilst tidying up before retirement Lee came across a wonderful book written by a former secretary to the NW Association entitled A History of the Brewers Central Association, which looks back to its formation in 1869, some 35 years before the Brewers Society was formed in London! We have carefully stored the book away in our BBPA library. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose! In 1875 they achieved a remission of Brewers Licence Duty from the Chancellor of the Exchequer for over £60,000! Some 138 years later.....

So now to Party conferences - first Glasgow, for the Liberal Democrats, then Brighton, for Labour, and Manchester, for the Conservatives. These will provide opportunities to meet MPs and their advisors in less formal surroundings to discuss issues of interest and how we can work together. At each one the Parliamentary Beer Group hosts a reception and I also attend a range of fringe meetings with many of our partners such as Drinkaware.

As a mid conference break I will be heading down to Acton Trussell for our Regional Key Issues Forum. If you have not yet booked your place for the 25th September there is still time. An important aspect of the day will be the involvement of Europe’s leading provider of energy services, Cofely GDF Suez. This is not just about changing light bulbs in pubs and I would encourage you to book in your relevant production managers for the Forum, via Richard Matthews.

Brewers of Europe are to meet in Dubrovnik, Croatia, later this month. This will be an opportunity to assess the study undertaken in collaboration with Ernst & Young about the links between brewing and the on-trade and the ongoing economic study of the value of brewing. This is sure to inspire discussion as to how we influence the US/EU trade talks and change the tariffs for imports and exports for beer between the US and the EU.

I will be sure to keep you updated on the outcomes of the month’s many voyages…


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