Beer Craft

Interview: The BFBI’s Ruth Evans on BevExpo 2016

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As the UK craft beer industry gathers pace, it is becoming clear that it is providing growth oppurtunites in wider segements than just brewing, with new connections being forged across the value chain that are great for all involved.

One trade show that is proving influential in this aspect is BevExpo, which held annually by the Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers’ Association (BFBI) gives companies a chance to showcase products and services within the entire beverage industry supply chain.

This year there is a strong focus on craft brewing-related products and seminars at the show, as can be seen in the Seminar programme and Auditorium programme.

Craft Beer World caught up with Ruth Evans MBE, Chief Executive of BFBI, to learn more about plans for this year’s show.

What trends do you expect will be emerging at BevExpo 2016 in terms of the evolving value chain?

The increase in the “craft” movement has underpinned a general upsurge in business throughout all sectors of the brewing supply chain.  As a consequence, the value chain is now able to invest in growth and innovation.

The “craft” movement appears to be driving trends across all sizes of business within the UK brewing scene, with the global players investing in small, up and coming breweries, regional breweries revisiting what brought them to the size they are and newer, smaller breweries redefining what is known as “real ale” in the market place.

This new upsurge of brewers and their products is exciting, showing that there are no boundaries to what constitutes a beer, engaging with a new consumer market, old and young, male and female.  The value chain will, and is, follow this, providing tools and solutions to support its customer.

What are the key innovative products that can help small and mid-sized brewers?

Areas that can be deemed to be “hot” topics tend to centre on energy savings (Seminar theme – “Environment/Water Management”);  packaging solutions (Seminar themes “Packaging” and, in the auditorium on 15th June – “Packaging – the vessel that transports a beverage into a brand”, integrity of your package = freedom for creativity of your brand”);  keg dispense (Seminar theme – “Do You Know Your Cost Per Serve”); cross innovation between other drinks categories (Seminar theme “Cross Innovation Between Alcoholic & Non Alcoholic Brands / Raw Materials – The Genes of An Innovative Brand”).

Together with innovative products, there is also a great interest from breweries wishing to undergo a step change in order to grow their business.

Sometimes, innovation has to take second place to a brewery understanding that, in order to secure profitable growth, some basic and fundamental principles of brewing need to be embraced to ensure a consistent, quality product is available to the marketplace (Seminar theme “How To Grow Profitably & What You Need To Spend Your Money On”).

How is the craft beer sector impacting on the overarching beverage industry?

As mentioned above, the craft beer sector is providing the fuel for a rapidly accelerating engine that is the revitalised beer sector within the global beer market, not just the UK.  Beer is iconic to the UK and it is the intention of BevExpo that an ongoing forum is created and developed to showcase the iconic status of beer and the pub; beer is for all occasions; a quality beer is due to the quality of all ingredients, products and services provided throughout the value chain.

Why would you say it is important for new businesses to attend BevExpo 2016?

With over 80 exhibitors and a two day seminar programme covering a number of areas discussed above, this is an event not to be missed.  It is organised, not as a commercial event, but as an event developed BY the industry FOR the industry.

Something unique to the brewing industry is the willingness of competitors throughout the supply chain to share experiences and support each other in order to grow the sector.   Beer is a product created by people with passion and enjoyed by people with passion for the product.

By attending, brewers are participating in this showcase of knowledge and expertise and investing in their own future, helping to develop a celebration of excellence throughout the supply chain, culminating with excellence in the glass for the consumer.

In terms of exhibitors, are there any geographic or product trends to look out for in 2016?

All exhibitors at BevExpo are investing in the future of beer.  They have a wide range of product trends on show and a great deal of expertise ready to be given out.

With regard to geographic trends to look out for, all I would say is that beer is booming in every part of the UK, in every part of the value chain.  There are challenges (climate issues; regulatory issues; political issues) but, one thing BFBi (the trade association that has represented the value chain supplying the brewing industry since 1907), knows is that, all these issues can be overcome as long as the brewing industry works together.

BevExpo 2016 hopes that it will become that bringing together of all parts of the value chain to ensure that brewers can continue their growth in the most appropriate way to their business model.

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