Europe’s brewers provide 1 billion Euros per year to support community events

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Thousands of public events across Europe depend heavily on sponsorships by European brewers and could be in danger amid ongoing scrutiny of such financial support that totals nearly €1 billion annually, according to a new study commissioned by The Brewers of Europe.

While major high-profile sports sponsorships grab the headlines, 62% of brewer-supported events take place at local and regional level, says the first-of-its-kind study by Sponsorship Ideas, which counted over 8,000 events supported by local brewers. Less than 12% went to major sports.

At a time of deep public budget cuts as a result of the economic crisis, community events need support more than ever from the private sector including brewers, who have played an important social, cultural and economic role in Europe for centuries, said Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, Secretary General of The Brewers of Europe, whose organisation represents Europe’s 3,300 brewers.

Speaking at the launch of the report in the European Parliament, Bergeron said, “Europe’s brewers are traditionally close to their local communities and have a stake in ensuring the social and cultural well-being and prosperity of the community. The 8,000 examples of community involvement by Europe’s brewers reflect that commitment and the benefits that this kind of support brings to event organisers, citizens and brewers.”

The €928 million funds a broad range of activities including the arts, culture, innovation and science as well as sport, sometimes even without explicit reference to the brewer sponsor, the study said. This is in addition to the better-known social responsibility activities such as anti drink driving campaigns that Europe’s brewers have run for decades.

Welcoming the report, S?an Kelly MEP said “In a time of economic austerity, the support given through sponsorship by the various brewers can help rebuild the people’s morale and wellbeing. This is important for the health of Europe?s social market economy. The brewers continue to take their social responsibility seriously, something which I welcome.”

Community involvement by brewers is about many small actions involving relatively small amounts of money. Taking out the major deals, the average spend is just €8,544, with 36% of activities being local and 48% regional. In a survey, the study found that only 11% of the public think that it would be easy to replace brewery sponsorship of an event.

Sponsorship Ideas collected the data from sponsors and recipients of support, and surveyed the public on their views of brewery funded support. The European Sponsorship Association provided support including in reaching out to relevant event organisers.

About The Brewers of Europe

Founded in 1958 and based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe – a not-for-profit European association – is the voice of the European brewing sector. Current members are the national brewers’ associations from EU Member States, plus Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. By providing over €51 billion in taxes to European governments and directly and indirectly employing over 2.1 million people, the brewing sector is a major contributor to European economy.