Nicola Utzeri, founder of Fermento Birra, the first Italian web magazine about beer, has been organizing the national Birraio dell’Anno (Brewer of the Year) awards since 2009. Here’s what he told us about brewing trends and what to expect at the event held in Florence’s TuscanyHall venue from January 13 to 15.
“For some time now, taste trends have been moving towards bottom fermented beers, such as German-style lagers,” Utzeri explains. “These are considered more ‘drinkable’, with a superb scent of hops. Another ongoing trend is towards English beers, like milds and bitters, which perhaps had fallen out of favour for purely commercial reasons.”
“There are more and more agricultural brewers, meaning those who self-produce at least 50 per cent of the barley from which they obtain the malt. Some breweries also grow their own hops, with about 150 new breweries every two years. At the beginning of the awards, growth was around 300-400 over a two-year period. This decline is not due to a crisis, but to an adjustment of a physiological nature and in terms of the market. It’s worth considering that today in Italy, there are about 1,200 breweries that have also overcome the crisis linked to the pandemic, partly thanks to tax breaks in addition to the very hot summers that have favoured the consumption of beer.”
“The event takes place on January 13 (from 7pm to midnight) and 14 (from midday to 5pm and 7pm to midnight), with an all-inclusive format that allows you to taste all the beers you’d like without limits, selecting from the 25 featured breweries. On January 15 (midday to 8pm), however, the format changes to enable participants to purchase beers using tokens received upon payment of the entrance ticket. There will be a selection of beers on tap by the top 50 breweries in the Birraio dell’Anno ranking, with the addition of products by those awarded the 5 Emerging Brewers.”