Beer Serves Europe, the annual event of the European association of the brewing sector: “Brewers of Europe“, this year brought together  the highest level personalities from the worlds of politics, sports, media, cuisine and brewing. All with the aim this year of zooming in on one of the key areas in which beer is serving Europe – support to grassroots and professional sports.


The ‘Beer Serves Europe’ event took place in Brussels last November as EU leaders across the city discussed how to stimulate growth while slashing public finances. Meanwhile, preparations were underway for the EU’s ‘4th Open Forum on Alcohol and Health’ the next day to discuss how to address alcohol related harm, educate young people and ensure responsible marketing.

Sport is crucial to the well-being of European society stated Michal Krejza the Head of the European Commission’s Sport Unit, in the panel discussion, highlighting the essential role the private sector plays in funding sports.

“Sports are a driver for the economy, jobs and social interaction from grassroots to the professional level, and sponsorships are an important source of revenue that play a major role in the development of sport,” Dr.Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of the European Professional Football Leagues, said in his keynote.

“If the Eurozone crisis is to be resolved and vital sectors, such as sport and brewing, are to remain competitive and economically viable, then we need to be able to operate in a sustainable business environment. Any move to further limit beer sponsorship is therefore a step in the wrong direction.”

Europe’s brewers, who support some 2 million jobs across the EU, spend 1 billion Euros annually on sponsorships and supporting their communities. 62 percent of this amount goes to community-based events, covering operating costs of sports organisations at a time of government austerity. This compares with only 11.9 percent for major sports events.

“Beer sponsorships provide a lifeline for community events including sports activities, many of which would simply not happen without the support of local brewers and pubs,” said panellist Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Vice President of the Sport and Recreation Alliance and author of ‘Developing Partnerships in Sport and Leisure’.

Alberto da Ponte, The Brewers’ President closed the event stating: “It’s easy to overlook the European brewing sector’s positive social, cultural and economic impact. We as brewers wish to remain strong supporters of local communities, a fundamental part of Europe’s social fabric and a leader in promoting responsible drinking.” VINEYARDS PAPER also interviewed Sven GATZ, head the belgian brewers association.

Henry Borzi