China, Germany, USA: COVID-19 virus kills ProWein, Craft Beer China and VLB conference

Exhibitions, conferences and other major gatherings around the world are currently being cancelled or rescheduled due to the fear of spreading the coronavirus COVID-19. This also affects the brewing and beverage industry which traditionally has a lot of events in the months March through May.

The 107th VLB Brewing and Engineering Conference 2020 with 300 registered visitors and 25 exhibiting companies which was scheduled from March 9 to 13, 2020, in Leipzig, Germany was cancelled. “As organizers we see it as our responsibility to keep the potential risk of illness at our conference as low as possible. This is currently not feasible for an event with an international attendance,” said Josef Fontaine and Gerhard Andreas Schreiber the two managing directors of VLB Berlin (Research and Teaching Institute for Brewing in Berlin). “As a consequence of the current dynamics of the Corona epidemic, we had the only choice to cancel the entire event in advance. In addition, we are currently considering moving our Brewing and Engineering Conference to a later date this year.”

ProWein, the world’s leading trade fair for wines and spirits and the largest industry meeting for professionals from viticulture, production, trade and gastronomy, which should take place March 15 to 17 in Düsseldorf, Germany, was officially postponed, without naming a new date. "This decision was not an easy one for all concerned," says Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of the City of Düsseldorf and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Düsseldorf. "But the postponement at the present time is necessary for Messe Düsseldorf and its customers in view of the increasingly dynamic developments.”

Craft Beer China, a conference and exhibition for the Asian craft beer industry which was scheduled for May 13 to 15, 2020 in Shanghai, China, was also rescheduled to July 1 to 3, 2020 at the same venue. “At present, the health and safety of all exhibitors, visitors and partners is our primary concern. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the delay of the exhibition,” said the organizer in a press statement.

In addition, many more fairs, conferences, sports and cultural events around the world are now being examined.

Under review is also “America’s largest craft brewing industry gathering” the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) & Brew Expo America in San Antonio, Texas, which will take place on April 19 – 22, 2020. The event, which will also host the World Beer Cup 2020 awards ceremony on April 22, 2020 is expected to attract more than 850 exhibitors and 13,000 attendees and will be one of the largest events of the brewing industry this year.

When contacted by, Ann Obenchain, Marketing Director at the Brewers Association said that the organization “continues to closely monitor the developments of the COVID-19 outbreak and is in close and regular contact with the City of San Antonio. Currently, there are no plans to cancel or reschedule the conference.”

18 out of the 20 China-based businesses scheduled to exhibit at BrewExpo America have already cancelled their participation. China-based companies that have U.S.-based representation may still plan to exhibit at, or attend, CBC. As the virus furthers spreads, “the Brewers Association is closely monitoring the situation as it develops and will modify participation for exhibitors and attendees from other affected areas as needed,” Obenchain said.

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