By now, delegates’ comments on the joint Brewers Forum and EBC Congress 2022 in Madrid have indicated that it’s been another successful event. Many delegates expressed themselves quite favourably about the rich choice of presentations, and the many good posters that were on show. Unfortunately, quite a few people brought home with them an unwanted “souvenir” in form of a viral infection; it clearly shows us that we cannot be too vigilant when staging big events, such as this one, in future.
One topic I would just like to touch upon (based on many questions received) concerns the “Call for Abstracts” for the EBC congress. Often people ask what criteria we are using to arrive at the congress programme.
So-called abstracts represent a very short summary of a project, or a research topic. There is a brief introduction, a description of the methodology, results, and some form of conclusion. All abstracts are entered by the authors themselves into a web-based data capture system, conforming to a maximum. To assist a rough classification, EBC prescribes that an abstract should be assigned to one of about 20 topical areas as this helps later on in the design of the programme, or in designating a specific poster sub-area.
Once the call has closed, the 10 members of the EBC Executive Team are issued with passwords to review and rate the abstracts on-line. Crucially, the name of the author(s) as well as their affiliation is hidden from view to exclude personal bias. The results of the deliberations of the reviewing team are therefore: An average score (sometimes underpinned by the standard deviation to check for consistent ratings), plus descriptive comments, plus recommendations. In a minority of cases, a reviewer indicating that he / she is aware of the identity of a submitting author may choose to “opt out”. Using these aforesaid parameters, a crude ranking of abstracts is possible. Discussions on the desirability of including abstracts as papers or posters need to follow on from this point onwards.
Let me stress that this sounds quite straight-forward, in principle. But often it is found that scores may be relatively close together and comments can be similar, so a discussion on whether to accord an abstract a slot in the presentation programme may well be influenced by other factors such as provenance. Countries other than the big countries in Europe, with a number of brewing research facilities tend to be over-represented compared to smaller countries, or indeed to smaller institutes.
This also explains why there are always so many posters at EBC. Slots for oral presentations are restricted but leeway exists for “converting” a presentation to a poster – not based on lack of quality, but simply on fullness of programme.
I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on the EBC’s practices in terms of technical and scientific submissions. Rest assured that we try and reduce the complexity of the task at had but without compromising the excellence in brewing science that we stand for.
Wishing you a relaxing summer with some highly drinkable beers enjoyed in your favourite destinations, or simply at home.
EBC at work
EBC Analysis Group
On the 28th and 29th of May, in the lead-up to the Brewers Forum and EBC Congress, more than 40 experts of the Sub-Committees and members of the EBC Analysis Group met in Madrid at the Novotel Hotel for the first time in presence since November 2019. After an introduction in plenary, participants broke out in sub-committees to review ongoing projects and discuss the next steps. Five sub-committees were represented: Sub-Committee Barley & Malt, Sub-Committee Hops, Sub-Committee Microbiology, Sub-Committee Sensory (which met for the first time in person since work had resumed) and Sub-Committee Beer & Wort which elected two new chairpersons: Marcel de Koning (Heineken, the Netherlands) and Ivan Anaya (Damm Brewery S.A., Spain).
BREWERS FORUM & EBC CONGRESS 2022 – Feedbacks
For the first time since the joint Brewers Forum & EBC Congress held in Antwerp, in June 2019, more than 1000 brewers and representatives from the beer value chain gathered physically in a large-scale conference and exhibition event in Madrid, Spain, from the 29th of May to the 1st of June. This successful edition of the joint Brewers Forum & EBC Congress hosted more than 30 breakout sessions, from the EBC Congress and the Brewers Forum, covering various topics such as sustainability and raw materials, the science of dry-hopping, innovation in analysis methods, production of low and non-alcoholic beers, beer and wood flavours. Next to the oral presentations, more than 115 posters were presented during the event by talented scientists. Whilst the event was officially open on the 29th of May by the Vice-President of The Brewers of Europe, M. Christian Weber, and the Secretary General of Cerveceros de España (M. Jacobo Olalla Marañon) at the Platea (see pictures), the EBC Farewell Dinner on the 1st of June, at the Royal Tapestry Manufacture, concluding the three-day Brewers Forum & EBC Congress by celebrating the 75th anniversary of the EBC Congress. At the dinner, M. Benet Fité, EBC President, dwelled on the history of the EBC, from its genesis in the post-World War era (showing many similarities to today’s world and challenges) to 2022 and beyond as the industry will continuously need organisations such as The Brewers of Europe and the European Brewery Convention that can unite, serve and protect the brewing sector and help it strive for many more years. On the 2nd of June, whilst the EBC Congress was officially over, participants had the opportunity to take part in technical visits organised at Mahou, Cervezas Las Cibeles and the Ball can manufacturing group.
The next edition of the Brewers Forum will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, on 21-23 May 2023. The next joint edition of the Brewers Forum and EBC Congress will take place in 2024. The venue and dates will be announced at next year’s Brewers Forum.
Pictures of the 2022 Brewers Forum and EBC Congress are available here.
The presentations and posters of the Brewers Forum and EBC Congress will be published soon. An email will be shared with registered participants with the access details.