Europe's Brewers Address Tough Issues at Brussels Gala

Oct 13, 2010, 00:00 ET from The Brewers of Europe

BRUSSELS, October 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 400 people joined top European brewing executives and political leaders Tuesday to debate tough challenges for the beer sector and the millions of jobs it supports, including taxation, regulation and responsible drinking.

"Governments and all associated with the brewing sector need to work together to address difficult challenges," Heineken CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer told the Beer Serves Europe gala. "These include reducing our carbon footprint, understanding our role in Europe and beyond, partnerships to address responsible drinking, and setting wise economic policies."

EU President Herman Van Rompuy kicked off a lively roundtable debate which included MEP Marianne Thyssen, president of the European Parliament Beer Club, Duvel CEO Michel Moortgat, Mr. van Boxmeer and Alberto da Ponte, president of The Brewers of Europe representing 4000 brewers across Europe.

Mr da Ponte said the gala, organised in collaboration with the fine cooks association Euro-Toques International, "highlighted the brewing sector's contribution to the European economy and on issues like community involvement and responsible drinking. We also had a frank discussion about key policy issues, such as the need to get the tax framework right."

On taxes, the roundtable discussed a PriceWaterhouseCoopers excise tax study (see: http://tinyurl.com/taxstudy) which shows the impact of further potential increases in excise taxes and says that a20% tax increase could kill tens of thousands of the millions of jobs that the beer sector supports.

"Tax increases would hit brewers hard - including the 1.8 million European hospitality jobs they support - just as the economy is striving to emerge from a damaging recession," said Alberto da Ponte.

The study also says that increases in excise tax revenue are more than offset by decreases in the revenues obtained by Government.

The CEO of Duvel cautioned against hurting a job-rich sector steeped in tradition, "Most of Europe's brewers are SMEs producing traditional local products, some with centuries of heritage," said Michel Moortgat. "We need to protect this engine of innovation and job-creation."

See full press release and event photos and videos: http://www.brewersofeurope.org

The Brewers of Europe is the voice of the European brewing sector representing around 4,000 brewers across Europe. 2.5 million jobs are directly or indirectly linked to the European brewing sector. See: http://www.brewersofeurope.org/asp/about_us/l1.asp?doc_id=103

SOURCE The Brewers of Europe