XXI EBCU Meeting
Lodz, May 20th , 2000
Kuaska a Wieliczka tra Zbigniew Olobry e Marek Szydlowski, presidente di Bractwo Piwne
Updated report about Italian beer scene and Unionbirrai activities
Ladies and gentlemen,
I will try to point out the Italian beer scene seven months after the latest EBCU meeting in Antwerp. For both brewers and consumers it is still a very hard fight in Italy,the country of wine,where beer has always been considered below wine in culture.
However beer business pays very well and it has always been firmly in the hands of the powerful multi-national companies that, as well in the whole world, give false messages to consumers leading to the levelling of the taste and consequently of their tasting skills.
That is the image of beer in Italy, so we are not surprised when foreigners know only Peroni or Moretti or,for more informed people, Menabrea twice winner among pale lager at the Chicago blindful Championship.
But luckily reality is different and things are changing step by step.
Thanks to a small group of beer lovers, now you can find in many pubs a large range of beers from small and craft breweries(often belgian products) and beer shops where you can ask for beer informations and buy bottles to take away and taste quietly at home in the right glass.
It is also possible to attend presentations concerning styles, places, anedocts and brewer's philosophy followed by tutored tastings of beers accompanied with the right food.
I think that supporting the development of a real beer culture is very important because this is the basis of a radical change in the consumer's wrong habits.
Now the consumer begins to become more educated.
In this new promising situation, the opening of the first brewpubs in 1996 and then, two years later, the birth of their association called Unionbirrai, came just in time.
Two brewpubs of Unionbirrai has already organised stages and others will follow them. In these succesful stages, beginners and experienced people can learn about history of beer, different, world beer styles and attend tutored tastings of craft beers coming from Italy and from abroad.
Talking about Unionbirrai membership situation: first of all, let's the numbers speaks!
Total members : seventeen brewpubs and microbreweries, located from the far north (Friuli region) to the far south (Sicily island) , more than one hundred people like consumers, homebrewers,webmaster, etc.
Talking about Unionbirrai activities over the last 6-8 months since the last EBCU meeting : two stages were held : one about raw materials and another one about entrepreneurial plans partecipation at "Pianeta Birra 2000", the main beer event in Italy, organising two succesful conferences :
"Quality in microbreweries - an altruistic act or indispensable requisite?" speakers : mr. Charlie Papazian, President of the American Association of Brewers- mr. dr. Agostino Arioli, Vice President of Unionbirrai Microbirrifici. Conference with guided tasting of 3 american craft beers.
"Craft beer in Italy" speakers : mr. Lorenzo Dabove, member of CAMRA- mr Charie Papazian. Conference with guided tasting of 5 well known popular italian craft beers.
Unionbirrai keep on their main goals : quality of their products and developing of a real beer culture, professionality of craft brewers and satisfaction for the consumers.
Cena EBCU al pub Madero di Lodz. Da destra : Keith Dawson,Ian Woolverton e Mike Benner (CAMRA),poi Lila Wosik (Bractwo Piwne). Sullo sfondo, in piedi, Terry Lock (Presidente EBCU) mentre in primo piano Kuaska brinda con Guido Taraschi (Presidente Unionbirrai)
Nowadays italian consumers have more opportunities to discover a new taste, the taste of craft beers, unfiltered and unpasteurised so they are able to appreciate more and more genuinity and variety of flavours.
This is the present situation about beer in Italy.
I would like to discuss in next meeting 2 important topics related with beer :
- the alarming problem of transgenic ingredients used in the brewing process
- the unforeseeable impact of e-commerce in beer business
Now it is to soon for me to speak about these topics, I would want to know more before having a surer opinion
thank you very much for your attention .........
Kuaska davanti alla caldaia della Birreria Okocim