How has the beer sector adapted to a year without face-to-face events?
During the 24 hours before the Barcelona Beer Festival, the organization of the event was suddenly canceled. The reason, the COVID19 pandemic had spread to Spain. That same weekend, national confinement was established, which lasted several months. Given the circumstances,the fast brewing sector understood that 2020 would be a year without fairs or festivals. All initiatives, more or less advanced, were immediately canceled.
This does not mean that there have been no spaces - albeit digital - to gather around good beer. Alternatives soon began to emerge. For example, theMostra de Mediona held its fair combining live shows online with the collaboration of bars that offered the exclusive beers that in principle would be presented at the fair. This hybrid of live videos with leading players in the sector and the involvement of points of sale was key for Mediona to be able to continue without losing its essence.
However, many other fairs have canceled their posters -because of a lack of experience or resources- without giving a new date. It is the case of a good part of small regional fairs spread across geography. The uncertainty caused by COVID19 prevents any type of forecast, even more so with the outbreaks involved.
Some fairs - and not only fairs, but also producers and venues - have seen an opportunity in the online format. Quite a few companies have offeredtasting packs with an online call in which the activity is taught live from applications like Zoom, for example. In other words, the client purchases a selection of beer with the intention of sharing them online at a specific time and date. This has been a very popular solution.
Surely online initiatives are more than just an anecdote, they are here to stay. Companies in the sector may take note to go further in future events. It isa way to connect with customers who cannot attend in person, but who want to participate and enjoy the experience? Imagine tasting the beers of a foreign festival at home OR witnessing live the talks and presentations by experts from the sector. Even intervening in the development of these activities from the couch! It can be possible.ible.
As the Dougalls motto says, think global, drink local. The beer community is increasingly global in its interests, and we have recognized that during the pandemic. The community has become involved with the brands that add value, and has not lost interest in enjoying its agenda. 2020 will be a year that sets the precedent onre how companies interact with users regardless of distances.