By Ivan Stefanec MEP, President of the European Parliament Beer Club

Closing message of the 2019-2024 term from the President of the EP Beer Club

Dear Members of the European Parliament Beer Club,

After almost five years as MEPs, we are preparing to leave Brussels and Strasbourg, to either campaign for re-election or to move on to other pursuits. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to have served as your President of the European Parliament Beer Club over that time.

In my last official engagement as President before the elections, I took part in a special event in Brussels on 19th March bringing together brewers and policymakers to discuss the future of beer. The panel debate came after The Brewers of Europe published its 2024-2029 Manifesto outlining the beer sector’s top 7 asks of the EU over the next five years.

Everyone agreed that brewers are innovative and creative enough to find new ways of adapting to an evolving market, but that the EU can and must do more for a leading European industry. In addition to its ability to bring people together, it is characteristics specific to beer, the brewing process and the whole value chain that mean it is a sector that can support local economies, empower consumers and champion sustainability.

Now, as our current mandate draws to a close, I want to thank you for your support, your work and your encouragement over the last five years.

Some massive events have shaped Europe and the world over that time and they have also created their own challenges for the brewing sector and impacted the work of the European Parliament Beer Club.

  • During the Covid pandemic, when bars, cafés and restaurants closed, we spoke up for the beer hospitality sector that bore the brunt of the lockdowns and lost half of its business in a year. We called on the European Union to provide urgent support, highlighting this sector’s potential to drive European recovery. When the lifting of restrictions finally allowed us to hold physical events too, I also represented the European Parliament in panel debates to stress the importance of beer to the European economy.
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine also had a major impact on European beer producers brewing and trading on the Ukrainian market. We were able to help support brewers in securing the safe passage of their employees. We have also helped highlight the impact, direct and indirect, throughout the beer supply chain of soaring energy and raw materials prices.
  • When it comes to EU policy, we have been vocal in our backing for the beer sector. For example, in February 2022, we successfully defended the sponsorship of sports teams, events, federations and associations, under threat from a Parliament report that would have banned all alcohol sponsorship. Whilst stressing the need to protect minors, our amendment, with cross-party backing from MEPs, recognised the critical importance of sponsorship for sporting teams, events and federations, particularly at grassroots level.
  • At the end of last year, as the Parliament scrutinised the EU’s new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), we fought for fair rules for beer that would support brewers’ ongoing leadership in packaging circularity. We argued that the measures on recycling and reuse, which had the right overall aim, risked discriminating against beer brewers.
  • We have also helped give further visibility to the Proud to be Clear campaign of The Brewers of Europe that has led us to a situation where 95% of beers now label ingredients, whilst nearly 90% are voluntarily labelling calories, responding to the clear expectations of our European citizens.

We will inevitably not all return in the next European Parliament but I am confident that, with all your support, we can ensure we once again have a well-populated, pan-European, cross-party Beer Club, made up of faces old and new that can support a strong, sustainable and responsible European beer sector over the next five years.

In the meantime, I wish the best to all of you, wherever you are headed.


Ivan Štefanec MEP
European Parliament Beer Club