Season’s greetings at the end of an unusual year

Welcome to the final issue of the SBR in 2020. The quiet and peacefulness of the holiday season is soon upon us, but how different it is compared to what we’re used to. Here, more than 9 months after we were hit by the corona pandemic, we’re looking at frightening numbers of people being infected, hospitalized and dying of Covid-19 globally, accompanied by an increase in lockdowns and severe restrictions on the on-trade sector, hurting our industry badly.  So, the one, all-overpowering, universal hope for the coming year is, of course, that we get fully rid of Covid-19, and the news about the coming vaccines luckily gives us some hope.  Once the crisis has blown over, we will revert to the topic with an evaluation of the impact on our industries, and the way it has transformed it for all future.

Although it may be tiring to hear about us, ourselves, peeling at our belly-button, endlessly announcing re-launches and restructurings of the SBR, I have to say that we’re at it again! In the light of a still worsening economy for the magazine, we – the media agency producing the SBR and myself as technical editor – are in a very open, constructive but also very serious dialogue with our owners, represented by the board of the Danish Master Brewers’ Guild (Dansk Brygmesterforening), about a revised set-up. This will include a much-improved digital platform for the SBR as well as a number of other important changes that will enable us to move forward and upward as the periodical covering all things related to beer, brewing and soft drinks production in our area – the Nordic countries and the Baltics. We’re ambitiously aiming for a much broader reader base – professionally and geographically – an increased and broadened group of advertisers, and, hopefully, also increased variety and quality of our contents. In the magazine, of course, but more importantly on our website, which, at present, is a much underutilized resource. The results of this work as well as the timing of the implementation are still unknown, but we’ll be ready to announce them sometime during the coming year. But I cannot at this stage stress strongly enough that we will be dependent on a bigger and stronger contribution from our readers, whether members of the national Master Brewers’ Guilds or not, in active, voluntary roles. Should you be willing to chip in – carrying out tasks of your own choosing or one that you agree that we assign to you – please step forward (my e-mail address can be found at the bottom of this editorial)! And please do so as well if you have proposals for improvements of the SBR – now is the time!


After a year of exclusively themed issues, from the end of 2019 to the previous issue, we’re now back in our usual ‘mixed bag of goodies’ format with articles covering a wide spectrum of topics related to our industries. From a continuation of the debate following the recent announcement of the new agreement between the owners of the Scandinavian School of Brewing and the University of Copenhagen on the future of the school to a guide to creating branding for new brands. Here’s a short introduction to some of the articles in this issue:


After pausing for a few issues, we resume the series ‘Back to Basics 2’ by Tim O’Rourke. During 2019, we brought you the introduction and the part dealing with yeast genomics, and, in this issue, we bring you the first part of Tim’s article on ‘Enzymes in Brewing’.  


We have for this issue sourced a number of articles from our ‘big brother’, Brauwelt International, and the first of these ‘The underappreciated influence of base malts on the taste of beer’ is about the influence of base malts on the taste of beer, written by Thomas Kraus-Weyermann and Horst Dornbusch, with the main message being that the base malts are the most overlooked flavor contribution to lighter-tasting beers.


On the other main raw material in brewing, the hops, we feature two articles this time: One from Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, called ‘Hops Across the Pond’ on the unique relationship between hop growers and the brewers in the US, giving the US brewers some advantages over their European colleagues.  Also on hops, we, as usual, bring you Hopsteiner’s report on the worldwide hop crop in 2020.


The world’s foremost expert on traditional Nordic farmhouse brewing, whose latest book was reviewed in the previous issue of the SBR, Lars Marius Garshol, has graciously allowed us to publish the chapter on ‘Farmhouse Brewing in Denmark’ from his latest book. In this issue, we feature the first part of this article.


Our old friend Uwe Leibfacher has contributed with an article on CIP systems that automatically adapt the CIP processes so as to ensure that the effluent conforms to set requirements.  


A second article partly sourced from Brauwelt International is by Michael Eder and is called ‘Aroma Development during barrel-aging’.  As this very interesting and relevant article already contained some more general background information about wood- and barrel-aging in general, your technical editor took the opportunity to add some more of this in order to make it suitable as an introduction to the topic. Also, this article is split in two, and here you get part 1.


The last Brauwelt International-sourced article is by Ina Verstl.  With her unmatched understanding of the history and background of the so-called MegaBrew merger in 2015 between AB InBev and SABMiller, Ina has in the article ‘AB InBev in choppy waters – 5 years after MegaBrew’ taken a look at what the consequences of the merger are. Again, an article that has been split into two parts, and here we bring you the first.  


And we have the pleasure of bringing you a second article by the experienced British branding expert Steve Osborne. This one called ‘Why Innovation should ‘start distinctive’’ is the first article in SBR’s history which is linked to a video containing the body of the information, being Steve’s guidance to the initial stages in the creation of a brand. 


Finally, let me repeat the reminder that our offer of free subscriptions to the SBR still stands (go to and sign up). So why not tip a few friends about this offer? With more than 150 new subscribers/readers thus far, the success has made us extend this offer to last throughout 2020, and we’re discussing making it permanent with the board of the Danish Master Brewers’ Guild.


Please remember that we at the SBR always very strongly encourage you to comment on anything at all in the magazine, incl. the editorial.  Please forward your comments to



Anders Kissmeyer

Technical Editor

Scandinavian Brewer’s Review