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10 December 2019

10th Ibero-American VLB Symposium in Mexico is a success

The 10th Ibero-American VLB Symposium Brewing & Filling Technology was held in Guadalajara, Mexico from 17 to 19 September and attracted 225 participants. A Spanish language VLB seminar for craft brewers was held as part of the series of events for the first time.

The Ibero-American Symposium of VLB Berlin has established itself over the last eleven years in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions as a high-class specialist event for technical managers in the brewing and beverage industry. Mexico hosted the event for the second time this September, with the first time taking place back in 2011. More than 225 participants from 15 South American and European countries used the event as a communication and knowledge platform. Numerous representatives from the largest brewery groups in Mexico were among them.

The audience listened eagerly to the lecture programm (Photo: VLB)

The Mexican beer market is growing

Mexico is one of the largest traditional beer-loving nations. In 2018, beer production increased to an estimated 120 million hl. This puts Mexico at number four in the rankings of international beer-producing countries, behind China, the U.S., and Brazil. Germany is now number five in the rankings, and trailing Mexico by some distance. However, the consumption per capita of approximately 124 million inhabitants is only around 68 liters of beer. The reason for this is that brands like Corona, Sol, or Tecate are popular around the world. That means Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of beer. Almost 27 million hl of beer was exported to the U.S. alone in 2017. The local market is largely consolidated. Large-scale acquisitions in 2010 and 2013 mean AB InBev (Grupo Modelo, around 58 percent market share) and Heineken (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, just under 40 percent market share) are the dominant market leaders. The group had to sell market shares for antitrust reasons following the merger of AB InBev with SAB Miller 2015. This meant the brewery in Piedras Negras – one of the largest in the world – had to be sold to U.S. company Constellation Brands. They brew Corona, Modelo, and Pacifico, which are destined for export to the U.S. Meanwhile, a thriving craft beer scene has also developed in Mexico. According to the Mexican brewing association Asociación Cervecera Mexicana (ACERMEX), which has around 120 craft breweries, there are currently about 1400 active breweries in Mexico.

The lectures on Wednesday and Thursday were well attended (Photo: VLB)

Symposium starts with a tour of Heineken

A tour of the Cervecería Heineken México brewery in Guadalajara was scheduled on the first event day of the 10th Ibero-American VLB Symposium. The lecture program on Wednesday and Thursday spanned topics ranging from brewery raw materials, the production process in its entirety, to filling, logistics, and environmental aspects. On Wednesday, the first “VLB Congreso Microcervecero Iberoamericano” MicroBrew Symposium took place alongside the main event. A seminar program especially for craft brewers was offered in collaboration with the Mexican association ACERMEX. NürnbergMesse was also on board, which intends to launch a new trade fair for the brewing and beverage industry in Mexico and Central America with Beviale Mexico in Guadalajara in June 2020. The collaboration between VLB, Beviale Mexico, and ACERMEX is to be further intensified in the future. The participants of both events were guests at Cervecería Cielito Lindo in Guadalajara on Wednesday evening. The evening was supported by the companies Rovi Ingeniería and Rolec. Hector Vielma Ordoñez, founder and owner of Cervecería Cielito Lindo, proudly welcomed the more than 200 guests to his craft brewery.

The participants of the 10th Ibero-American Symposium at the convivial get-together in the Cervecería Cielito Lindo in Guadalajara (Photo: Periodismo desde la Barra)

VLB successfully completes project spanning four continents in 2019

The Ibero-American symposium in Mexico means the VLB has successfully held its own large-scale, international brewery congresses on four different continents this year. The other three were Brewing and Engineering Conference in Rust, Germany, in March, the Africa Brewing Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May, and the Bangkok Brewing Conference in Thailand in June.

The VLB team in Mexico: Ingo Pankoke, Stefan Reimann, Roberto Biurrun, Henrike Vorwerk, Dr. Roland Pahl and Marina Witt (from left to right) (Photo: VLB)