April 28, 2017 – The Schweizer Brauerei-Verband (Swiss Brewery Association) kicks off the 2017 brewing season today with Swiss Beer Day. Switzerland’s member association of breweries was founded on April 19, 1877. This annual event began in 2012, and takes place on the last Friday in April to commemorate the anniversary of this national association.
Starting today, and into this weekend, there will be about 25 different events hosted by Swiss brewers. Nearly all of them take place on the Swiss-German side of the country, as all of the members of the Schweizer Brauerei-Verband are located in this part of Switzerland. You will find events like the 3-day Solothurner Biertage, a “doors open” event at the Feldschlösschen brewery in Rheinfelden, the Calanda Brauerei-Fest in Chur and more.
According to the Schweizer Brauerei-Verband, its member breweries oversee about 95 percent of Switzerland’s domestic beer production and brew more than 270 different types of beer. I asked Christoph Lienert, Scientific Assistant for the Schweizer Brauerei-Verband, about current trends in Switzerland’s beer industry, and he mentioned the following:
- Growth in the number of breweries: Mr. Lienert said that “almost all of them are really small breweries,” and that “around 50 breweries in Switzerland brew about 99 percent of all the Swiss beer, the rest are brewed by about 700 breweries.”
- More diversity in beer styles: Swiss breweries, no matter what the size, seem to be adding new types of beer to their portfolios. Schweizer Brauerei-Verband has a training program for Swiss Beer Sommeliers, and he said that these sommeliers help to understand this new diversity. “There are already more than 300 trained Swiss Beer Sommeliers since 2011.”
- Non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic beers: An emerging trend in Switzerland, companies are working to develop beers with less or no alcohol, but with more flavor, to meet an apparently growing demand.
How are you planning to celebrate Swiss Beer Day? What is your favorite beer or brewery in Switzerland? If you have any Swiss beer recommendations to share, please leave a comment below. Thanks!