Brussels, December 1 (TASR-correspondent) – The beer brewing industry in the EU has experienced some harsh times, but it’s been going through some interesting structural changes recently, said Slovak MEP Ivan Stefanec (Christian Democratic Movement/KDH) at the Beer Serves Europe conference in Brussels on Wednesday, TASR learnt on Thursday.
The conference was organised by The Brewers of Europe – a professional association of European breweries that represents the interests of almost 7,500 breweries from EU-member states and hundreds more from Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
The Brewers of Europe closely cooperates with the European Parliament, which participates in the creation of European legislation. A so-called Beer Club has been in operation at the EP since 1995. It includes MEPs that care about the development of the beer brewing industry.
Stefanec, as one of the Beer Club’s vice-chairs, noted that the club cooperates with the aforementioned beer brewers association on a regular basis. They cooperate in the area of media (beer commercials), environmental protection (beer packaging), beer distribution and consumer interests.
The MEP added that although the beer brewing industry isn’t a rapidly growing business, it’s a sector with a long tradition in Europe, including in Slovakia, that needs to be nurtured and developed.
Stefanec stressed that this industry creates an interesting multiplication effect – one direct job creates space for other indirect jobs in areas such as agricultural production, transport, services and retail.
The Brewers of Europe president Pavlos Photiades at the conference emphasised that each employee in the beer brewing industry creates space for 17 more in other sectors. This ratio provided jobs for 2.3 million Europeans in 2015.
“The recent period has seen significant innovative structural changes in the industry,” stated Stefanec. This can be seen in the increasing number of non-alcoholic and fruit beers, in new packaging techniques and new services. The number of small family breweries is also on the rise. Stefanec said that this may also help with the development of tourism.
“The Slovak beer brewing industry has a long tradition, and it deserves our support. From the entrepreneurial point of view, it’s a segment of small and medium-sized enterprises, which I personally care about very much,” added Stefanec.