View of Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

The Italian Brewers and Maltsters Association – Associazione degli Industriali della Birra e del Malto – will be hosting the 31st International Congress of the European Brewery Convention in Venice from 6 to 10 May 2007.


In Italy, the Etruscans were the first to produce and drink beer since they were the first to start importing barley. The Romans, very fond of this drink, ‘discovered’ beer when the Celts of Brennen invaded the young city-nation in 390 BC. There is also ample evidence that famous persons such as Julius Caesar, Augustus and Nero greatly enjoyed beer. When Julius Agricola, governor of Britannia, returned to Rome in 83 AC he took with him three brewmasters from Glevum (now Gloucester) and opened the first ‘pub’ on the Italian peninsula. The first industrial brewery was built at Nice Marittima in 1789.

In 1814, the first royal dictum about beer production was defined and also the first excise tax was established. The first sanitarian law for beer was established in 1825. In 1880 there were 132 breweries in Italy, most located in the North thanks to the abundance of source

water; total production at that time was 116.000 hl. Today there are 16 breweries and 2 maltings, with a total production (in 2004) of 13.17 million hl. Per capita consumption is 29.6 liters. Venice hardly needs an introduction.

It is one of the few cities in the world that can truly be described as unique. It survives against all the odds, built on a series of low mud banks amid the tidal waters of the Adriatic and regularly subject to floods. Once a powerful commercial and naval force in the Mediterranean, Venice has found a new role. More than 12 million visitors a year succumb to the magic of this improbable city whose streets are full of water and where the past has more meaning than the present.