‘My Life With Beer’ is not limited to my employer, Bier & cO. For example, I’ve spent the last week visiting three Dutch breweries and three hotels because the Mercure group, part of Accor Hotels, is developing it’s concept ‘Taste the flavors from our local cellar’ to have a focus on local beers! Eventually each hotel ‘adopts’ a local brewer.
Preparing communication around this concept, Mercure invited various beer lovers who understand the art of writing to stay in the hotels, visit the respective brewery and taste the beer. Obviously each then writes a story about it, which will in turn be grouped into a booklet. The brochure will be distributed in large numbers via all Mercure hotels, so its ‘beery character’ will be clear to all. Also, bar staff will be educated in the finer points of local beers: Fiona de Lange will give a Master Class, and most hotels will bring their people to see the brewery with their own eyes and try the beer themselves. In short: a small step for a global hotel chain, a giant step forward for our beautiful Dutch beers!
That Dutch beers rank amongst the world’s best was recently top-of-mind when it was established that the Netherlands is the second largest exporter in the world when it comes to beer: only Mexico sells more. Incidentally, what was not mentioned is that a large part of that Mexican exports is in Dutch hands: if we attribute the value of Tecate and Dos Equis on to Heineken who owns these brands, The Netherlands is the largest exporter by a good 200 million euro. Then again, this method renders Mexico’s position close to zero since Corona, Modelo and Pacifico are all owned by Brazilian ‘beer black hole’ AB Inbev. Don’t ask what it would mean for Belgium, as a beer exporting country. Anyway – back to Mercure and its nice concept.
Although still in the preliminary phase (‘Flavors from the Local Cellar’ will be rolled out in November) you can already find local beers at the Mercure hotels. Besides the obvious offerings of Heineken, Brand and Affligem you’ll see Jopen, Oedipus, ‘t IJ and De Prael. All eight participating Mercure hotels will eventually offer a cross-section of local beers. A quite brilliant concept in my mind: The Netherlands is increasingly recognized as a fine beer country with an ancient and rich beer culture (though there can be heard the occasional muttering saying otherwise, but these invariably come from acid peeing fossils). Beer tourism is a growing phenomenon in the world, Mercure recognizes this and adepts cleverly. For us, being a tourist in our own country has never been so much fun!