With our pals and distributors to Slovakia and Czechia, Next Hop set to attend this year’s Central European Brewers Conference (CEBC), we caught up with the guy behind the annual event, Tony Prior, to find out more about what the craft brewing conference has in store.
In addition to bringing together top craft brewers in central Europe each year at CEBC, Tony is the Marketing Manager at Hedon Brewing Co. in Hungary, making him well experienced to give his insight in to the craft brewing industry in this region.
Let’s see what he had to say about the 2nd CEBC event and what his predictions for the 2019 market are…
Tell us about the Central European Brewers Conference
“When we first started as brewers in the craft beer business 4 years ago, we visited several conferences to learn more about the industry. While there are some excellent conferences like the CBC organized by the Brewers Association in the US, Braubeviale and BeerX, there were no conferences that focus only on craft beer in our region, so we started the Central European Brewers Conference (CEBC) two years ago.
Our focus is on Central European craft brewers and distributors from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland and The Czech Republic. These 10 countries have a combined population of over 150 million people and over 1500 craft breweries.
Last year was our first conference and we got very positive feedback that there was a real need for such an event in the region. This year we have expanded to include Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
The focus of the seminars is on providing tools the support brewers with the business side of running a brewery, such as sales & marketing, and how to establish QC programs. In addition, the conference provides the opportunity to meet other craft brewers and distributors from the region that can help open new sales channels.”
What’s your favourite part of CEBC?
“Seeing the attendees from the different countries meet each other, share ideas and then often work together on collaboration beers that open new markets for them.”
What is your background in the brewing industry?
“We started as guerrilla brewers four years ago and eventually bought a brewery in Hungary called Hedon in 2017.”
What has been the biggest change you’ve noticed in the craft beer industry over the last few years?
“The sheer number of new craft breweries opening in our region is staggering. The main thing in my opinion is to be united in our focus on making quality the key focus.”
What does 2019 bring for the craft beer industry?
“Rapid growth in our region without a doubt. To expand the market even further we need to focus on educating the retail channels on the differences between industrial and craft beer and the need for craft beer to be refrigerated on display.”
What’s your advice to new brewers coming in to the craft beer industry?
“Quality first – it’s the main differentiator in our industry. Talk to a lot of brewers and ask a lot of questions.”
If you could only drink one beer style for the rest of your life, what would it be?
“New England IPA.”
Are you based in Central Europe? Check out CEBC for yourself on 23rd, 24th and 25th January in Budapest. You can catch our pals at Next Hop there too, who will be on hand to give you the lowdown on all things Simpsons Malt.