15 April 2021

Kibex 2021: A hybrid beer-focused global platform

Korean beer exhibition | The Korea International Beer Expo (Kibex) 2021 will be held for three days, 17–19 May 2021, at the Coex centre, Hall C, Seoul, Korea. Kibex is the only beer-specialized exhibition in Korea where attendees can see and experience all the businesses of the beer industry value chain from beer production to distribution, packaging, and consumption in one place. The event is co-hosted by Beer Post, a firm that specialized in beer content, and GMEG, an exhibition professionalized company that has been organizing various beer events in the past.

The last edition of Kibex sponsored by Fermentis had initially been scheduled for March 2020, but then had to be postponed to July due to the pandemic. Despite COVID-19, Kibex 2020 was then successfully held with doubled scale and about 8000 visitors who attended under the strong and safe disinfection policy of the organizer. Despite the strict border restriction, US and German pavilions could be introduced, and German representatives were even able to participate physically, getting an exemption on the 14-days quarantine by active support of the Embassy of Germany in Korea and the KGCCI (Korea-German Chamber of Commerce). As the only beer industrial event in Korea, B2B networking and business were actively carried out, which received favorable reviews from the participants.

2020: Beer competition and conference

As an innovative exhibition platform that tries to make new and fresh content every year, Kibex introduced a beer smart order system for the first exhibition in the Korean market, where online sales of liquors are not available. Besides, the Korea International Beer Awards (Kiba), the first international beer competition in Korea, was held at the same time. It was sponsored by Rastal, and initially the judging panel should have included thirty judges from abroad, but due to the COVID-19 situation only Korean judges were able to take part. In total, 251 beers from 44 breweries were submitted for the first Kiba in 79 categories, 81 of which (32.2 %) won medals. As the first commercial and international beer competition in Korea, Kiba got lots of attention from beer professionals both at home and abroad.

The Korea International Beer Conference (Kibcon) also took place at the same time, under the theme of beer industry in Korea post-COVID-19. It was sponsored by White Labs and operated as a hybrid format with local and international speakers from the beer industry.

Glasses matching the respective beers are presented here at Kibex 2020 (all pictures: Kibex)

Kibex 2021: Hybrid event

Kibex 2021 will be held in May, at the new venue in Seoul. Kibex decided to move their location for a better atmosphere to the Coex Center. Coex is a representative exhibition center in Korea with about 140 000 walk-in visitors on weekdays, which also attracts more professionals and makes it easy to attend.

It will be held as a hybrid event to encourage the participation of international professionals and attendees who can’t visit in person. The exhibition, seminars, and even the 1:1 business matchmaking program will be available both online and offline at the same time, and interactive promotion activities will be on offer on a special online platform as well.

Kibex 2021 sets the theme of this year as ‘Design meets Beer’, focusing on the packaging and design area, which is increasingly important for the beer market due COVID-19, and is preparing special contents accordingly, such as the Kibex Design and Packaging Forum and the Kibex Design Award.

Still, international exhibitors’ direct participation may not be easy, but the US craft beer pavilion organized by USATO (Agricultural Trade Office of the U.S. Embassy) and BA (Brewers Association) has already confirmed their participation and major key players in the industry are planning to partake with the help of their local partners. Kibex secretariat prepares a special participation package to assist international exhibitors who don’t have a local partner but are willing to partake, and has already received a lot of favorable responses from the participants.
Since Korea is an emerging beer market, Kibex 2021 is especially noteworthy. Currently, the Korean beer market is dynamic, the craft beer sector was able to quadruple its volume since 2016 and is expected to grow about 13 times in 2025 compared to 2016. Since the tax changes in 2020, the market share of craft beer, which has remained at 1 to 2 percent, is expected to explode to the 10 percent range. The rapid growth of the market is caused by various factors such as changes in the liquor tax law, COVID-19, and changes in consumer taste.

There are always plenty of opportunities to sample different beers on tap

At this point, Kibex 2021 is an opportunity to look into Korea’s beer business in the post-COVID era and to prepare for the future market. Kibex organizers say, “Kibex 2021 will be a bridgehead for beer material companies, brewing companies, beer breweries, and draft beer system companies to enter the Korean market and even Asian market with explosive growth. It will be an international network platform to search for a business in the Asian market beyond Korea, and Kibex is the place where you can find the way to prepare for the post-COVID-19 era and get inspired through successful case studies.”

Since its first year, Kibex has also entered into a marketing agreement with BrauBeviale, Germany, the world’s largest trade show for beer and beverages, and became a member of the Beviale Family ranging with international beer exhibitions. Kibex is setting down as a global exhibition that enables meetingv the key players in the beer industry. Kibex secures the network with global platforms and promotes the opportunities and importance of the Korean beer market to the world.
More information on Kibex 2021 is available at www.beerexpo.kr.

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