The Greek Tourism Ministry and the Hellenic Association of Brewers have taken the first step to officially make beer tourism part of Greece’s tourism product with the launch of the Visitable Brewery Label.
Presented on Wednesday during a press conference in Athens, the Visitable Brewery Label will indicate the breweries in Greece that abide by specific standards (high quality facilities) and offer services (tours, tasting events) and are therefore certified to welcome beer enthusiasts.
Speaking during the press conference, Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki said the new label is part of the ministry’s effort for the sustainable development of the Greek tourism product and its further differentiation through the promotion of special forms of tourism that highlight quality and offer a completely new experience to visitors.
“This new label comes to bring together the world of domestic beer – from the grain processing to the brewing process to the production of Greek beer – with that of hospitality,” Zacharaki said, adding that it also aims to strengthen Greek businesses, encouraging them to look for new ways of development.
“Our ambition is for this union to introduce both worlds to new opportunities for creation and extroversion, so that we can promote every productive force that our country has,” she added.
The main goal of the label is to offer beer enthusiasts a comprehensive experience, an in-depth look into a brewery’s facilities and beer production process (through guided tours). The experience will continue with the tasting of products and in some cases end with hospitality services (overnight stays) as holders of the Visitable Brewery Label will also have the option to create small-scale tourist accommodation facilities.
Breweries of all categories can apply to their local tourism offices to receive the new Visitable Brewery Label. In order to receive the label, breweries must meet necessary requirements indicating they have suitable facilities to host guests and provide accessibility to all. Breweries that want to be certified and obtain the label among other things must have a designated area for guests to sample its beers (tasting room) as well as access for people with special needs, reduced mobility and disabilities.
During the press conference it was announced that the tourism ministry can assist breweries seek subsidies through EU funds (NSRF) to cover the costs for the creation of accessibility facilities.
Establishing ‘Beer Routes’ in Greece
According to Hellenic Association of Brewers President Sofoklis Panagiotou, many breweries mainly on the islands and in regional Greece could be part of this initiative.
Moreover, he added that the label will lead to the creation of Beer Routes, which will follow the standards already created by the Wine Routes initiative.
“Brewery tourism, as an activity of a broader culinary experience for the visitor, will strengthen businesses operating in the region and in tourism destinations, strengthening the development path of our sector,” Panagiotou said.
Greece has some 60 breweries in operation, 18 of which are members of the Hellenic Association of Brewers.
Visitable Brewery Label will bring benefits to breweries
Breweries that are part of the Visitable Brewery Label network will be included on an online map that will be widely circulated in both Greece and abroad, and also have access to a branding and marketing program funded by the Recovery and Resilience Fund, focused on promoting Greek beer to domestic and international markets.
Secured by the tourism ministry, the funds, which add to some 17 million euros, will also be allocated towards actions to promote agritourism, create the first agritourism/gastronomy tourism network and a Destination Management & Promotion Organization (DMMO) that will be focused on developing and promoting the aforementioned tourism forms. The DMMO focused on thematic tourism, which will be the first of its kind in Greece, is currently in the planning phase.
The establishment of the new Visitable Brewery Label leads a series of actions planned by the tourism ministry to strengthen agritourism and highlight unique destinations with activity in the primary sector.
The Visitable Brewery Label follows the certification label of visitable wineries while labels for visitable olive mills and cheese factories (recently put up for public consultation) are expected to follow.
By : Nikos Krinis