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26th October 2017

Sixth Brussels Beer Challenge in Wallonia

The spread of the micro breweries: A lasting trend or a bubble ready to burst?

Across the globe, from Belgium to Australia, Italy, Brazil, Switzerland, Chile and China, new beer firms are burgeoning, selling an array of styles ranging from traditional to highly innovative. The beer scene is undergoing a sea change, despite the continued clout of the major industrial groups.
For a long time, Europe’s beer culture was to a great extent dominated by traditional countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and of course Belgium. But more recently, new players such as the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland have been making a name for themselves. France, with its long-standing winemaking tradition, is now home to over 1,200 active breweries – at the beginning of the 1980s, there were only thirty or so.
Belgium is also playing a pivotal role in this development. Our country now boasts 257 active breweries, not to mention the firms that commission other companies to produce their beer. Wallonia alone has 110 brewing companies, over a third of which have been trading for less than 5 years!
And the trend continues to gain traction with new brewery projects and beers emerging every month.
But can this growth be sustained? Will consumers continue to go with the flow? Is this development normal or a bubble ready to burst?

Can the beer bubble continue to expand?

The Brussels Beer Challenge has witnessed these changes and provides first-hand insight into them. As an annual event, it acts as a bellwether for the national and international brewing industry.
The figures for the sixth Challenge offer a cursory glance at the current situation. When the results are announced on November 20, they will throw up more information.

Brussels Beer Challenge: Trends and figures
• 1,512 competing beers, up nearly 25% on 2016!
• Beers from 40 different countries
• 85 professional, international judges from 25 countries
• Nearly 10,000 glasses of beer served and judged over 3 days
• Belgium leads the way with 322 entries from 150 breweries
• Participation by American breweries is steady but no longer growing
• Brazil, Germany and China post the highest increases and make it into the top 10 participating countries at the competition
• France has entered over 100 beers in the competition

The Brussels Beer Challenge is back in Wallonia!
For the sixth event, the Brussels Beer Challenge has returned to Wallonia. After Liège in 2013, the city of Namur, capital of Wallonia, has been chosen by the organisers to host the tasting sessions which will take place from October 28 to 30, 2017.
An exceptional official opening evening will be held on Friday October 27 at the Walloon Parliament with attendance by Mr. René Collin, the Walloon Minister of Agriculture and Tourism.
For three days, a panel of 85 renowned international judges will assess the 1,500 competing beers. These will be grouped in consistent flights based on their origin, typicity and style and will be judged according to strict, objective criteria. The finest beers in each category will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals.
The tasting sessions will be held in the prestigious Arsenal building belonging to the Notre Dame de Namur Faculties.
The Brussels Beer Challenge offers a unique opportunity for brewers from across the globe to compete with the finest Belgian beers.

BBC – BeComev – Rue de Mérode 60 – B-1060 Brussels +32 476 91 70 49