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Nuremberg: hub of the (brewers’) world

You fly 6,500 kilometres over the Atlantic and then in the restaurant you come across familiar faces from Bavaria. Well, perhaps it’s not entirely a coincidence. After all, the Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia attracted more or less the beer world’s entire population. In the middle of it all (and at the neighbouring table): some of the staff from the trade fair organisers NürnbergMesse.

Andrea Kalrait, Event Manager for the BrauBeviale, told us after the CBC why the flight to Philadelphia was worthwhile for her, why Nuremberg is the hub of the brewers’ world, and why the BrauBeviale can showcase more than “only” beer.

 

Ms Kalrait, to start with, could you briefly introduce yourself, and outline your role at the organisers NürnbergMesse and the BrauBeviale?

For three years now, I’ve been the Event Manager for the BrauBeviale – and I put my heart and soul into it. However, my relationship with this fair extends much further back, since actually I’ve been looking after it for the organisers for more than 20 years now. Thanks to these long years of involvement, it’s practically like one of my children, and I’m delighted to see how it’s developing; I’m proud that I’m making my own contribution here, and can pour all of my passion into it.

 

At the CBC in Philadelphia, you were represented with a stand, at which you showcased the BrauBeviale in Nuremberg, but also the Beviale Moscow and the China Craft Beer Conference & Exhibition. What makes the CBC so interesting for you?

The CBC is an important platform for us when it comes to interfacing with the brewers in the USA. Here, we can establish contacts with a very tightly defined target group, and spotlight not only the BrauBeviale, but also the other events in our network themed around beverage production. The BrauBeviale is the first choice for brewers and craft brewers, in particular, when they take a look over the “pond” and are keen to expand their horizons. Nuremberg is the meeting point for the European and international brewing scene.

 

Do you meet a lot of “old acquaintances” among the craft brewers in America? Or is that more of a target group that you want to persuade to visit the fair in Nuremberg for the first time?

Yes to both. Many of the visitors know us and have already attended the BrauBeviale. But the “new brewers” in the USA, particularly, need to be approached, and invited to visit us in Nuremberg.

 

How much importance do you attach to the relatively small, often less mainstream brewers from the craft beer scene for the BrauBeviale?

The craft beer scene in general is a breath of fresh air for the entire beer market. Not only has it come up with new creations, it’s also revived old traditions, ensuring an interesting diversity of flavours that extend the choice of beers significantly. In the public’s perception of beer, too, there are new ideas taking root. Examples of best practice show that these relatively small craft brewers may one day evolve into really large breweries. Which means that ultimately each of these “outside-the-mainstream” brewers from the craft beer scene may become the key account for our exhibitors of tomorrow.

 

With the venues in Nuremberg, Moscow and Shanghai, a veritable network is gradually emerging. The focus here, too, though not exclusively, is also on the topic of craft beer. Has this focus intensified over recent years, and do you also perceive a trend toward beer becoming more socially acceptable, meaning easier to communicate?

For the BrauBeviale itself, the focus has not changed in this respect. The fair in November will, of course, be showcasing not only beer, but also the entire range of beverages on the market, all the way through to liquid dairy products. Due to the general trend towards what are called “craft drinks”, this development can be described as the icing on the cake, since it’s precisely here that the innovations are to be found when it comes to beverages. That’s also the case with beer, and more particularly with craft beer. In Germany, but worldwide as well, there are lots of people actively involved, who embrace their passion and enthusiasm for the amber nectar while remaining absolutely authentic. There are meanwhile not only brewers and brewmasters, but also beer sommeliers and beer enthusiasts, and thus a lot of people who devote themselves to beer, and dignify it with attributes that were previously reserved for wine. For beer, enjoyment is increasingly being prioritised over quantity. In addition, there are beer prices, which attempt to offer a sort of guideline through the jungle of beer diversity. All this is meanwhile being noticed by consumers as well, and thus it’s totally legitimate to claim that beer has become more socially acceptable.

 

The flyer for the craft beer network announces “…and more to come”. So are there plans to expand this network still further? Are there already any indications as to which region might be the next focus of interest?

In the case of craft beer, we’re meanwhile talking about a global trend, and so it’s a logical conclusion that we’re going to expand this network. There are lots of interesting markets, but not every market is already mature enough for an event of its own. We’re at present exploring the possibilities in some of the more promising markets. As soon as we can talk about specific regions, we will of course be providing the relevant information.

 

How far are these fairs organised under centralised control from Nuremberg, and how far are they handled under decentralised management (with local partners) from the countries concerned?

NürnbergMesse is optimally networked worldwide with subsidiaries, branch offices and agencies abroad. For the network, the collaboration is closely intermeshed, thus ensuring that the organisational concept for each event is optimally tailored to suit the target market involved. But the overall concept for the network as such, of course, comes from Nuremberg.

 

Are there characteristic elements that the various events have in common und so constitute something like a recognition feature?

When we include the BrauBeviale and the Beviale Moscow as well, then the connecting element is clear enough: beverages in general. Even though each event has a different focus (capital goods on the one hand, beverage culture on the other), craft beer and craft drinks as well are indubitably the connecting element that plays the principal role here at all these events.

 

The China Craft Beer Conference & Exhibition was held at the end of May. Was 2016 the event’s premiere? And can trends on the international beer markets be compared with each other? In China, for instance, are there discernible parallels to Germany or the USA?

The China Craft Beer Conference & Exhibition, organised by our colleagues in China together with The Beer Link, was a resounding success. As I’ve said, craft beer is a global trend: in almost every country and on every continent it is developing a creative scene. Despite all the parallels, however, each market has its own idiosyncrasies, which have to be factored into each event.

 

The BrauBeviale will be held in Nuremberg this November, and once again Krones will be represented. Will there be a thematic focus this year or something special we should be looking forward to?

The trending topic at the beginning of the three-fair sequence – “Creative Beer Culture” – has been steadily expanded, so that this year we can speak of a “Creative Beverage Culture”. But the bandwidth is once again immense, and our visitors can look forward to a cornucopia of attractions for the beverage sector. Now, of course, I could enumerate the details of our richly diversified framework programme, but in the final analysis what matters is for whom the BrauBeviale showcases something interesting, and that’s not only the brewers! A trip to Nuremberg will be worthwhile for both the technical management and for the marketing people in beverage production facilities. Since in the last few questions we’ve been talking such a lot about beer, I should like to emphasise once more that the fair actually showcases all beverages, meaning water, soft drinks, wine, spirits and liquid dairy products. But retailers and restaurateurs, too, service providers for the beverage plants, plus schoolchildren and students, will find plenty to interest them at the fair in November. Everyone is cordially invited to visit the BrauBeviale in Nuremberg from 8 to 10 November 2016.

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