At rock festivals, local beers are resisting

In music festivals, the biggest as well as the most sophisticated, it is beer that is omnipresent. And first of all Kronenbourg and Heineken. Even the “Parisian-eco-trendy” event We Love Green, at the beginning of June, counts Heineken as a partner. Of course, the exclusivity ended in 2019, but the presence of the Dutch brewer has remained as important there as at the Eurockéennes in Belfort or at the Trans Musicales in Rennes.

Kronenbourg, a subsidiary of Carlsberg, for its part, waters Hellfest, Francofolies or Rock en Seine. As well as the Vieilles Charrues, in Carhaix (Finistère), where the 280,000 visitors are supplied by underground pipelines, themselves supplied by tankers. The unique feature of Les Vieilles Charrues is that it also hosts the local brand Coreff. The Breton ale of 40 employees, which celebrated its 35 years, grew thanks to the festival. She has also been based in Carhaix (Finistère) since 2005. But with the cancellation in 2020 and the reduced 2021 edition looming, its economy is under threat.

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A big festival, however, is set apart:e Green Cabaret, in the Ardennes, with 100,000 participants in 2019. “We are the only ones not working with Heineken or Kronenbourg, notes the founder, Julien Sauvage. These brands approached us with delusional amounts of checks, far greater than the beer order. But half the teams and the entire board would have slammed the door if we had accepted. “

Logistics puzzle

The associative status of the festival may have a lot to do with it. His philosophy too. “The Ardennes have a pretty dreadful image and my goal was to proudly display our identity, resumes the organizer. The Green Cabaret therefore had to rely on local roots. “ Food and drink come from producers located within a radius of 200 kilometers around Charleville-Mézières. The proximity to Belgium makes the choice easier.

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But sourcing from microbreweries is a headache. With more than 250 liquid references (such as a sparkling plum from Lorraine), including 56 just for beer, the logistics are complicated. The festival welcomes microbreweries four by four in a refreshment bar, and provides for refrigerated trucks, furniture, and the shared delivery of barrels upstream. “Sometimes you call a brewer who only offers ten barrels. We taste, we spend extraordinary moments ”, smiles Julien Sauvage.

This choice of diversity and locality makes the Cabaret Vert a colossus with feet of clay. “We would be more solid with 200,000 euros from Kronenbourg than with our 50,000 euros painfully drawn from this exhausting logistics. But our DNA is there. “ The festival allowed itself an exception, with the presence of the Meteor brewery, located in the Bas-Rhin, more than 200 kilometers away. But it is family-owned and provides a sufficient supply of lager beer. The Cabaret Vert has canceled its August 2021 edition but is expected to unveil a plan B on the same dates in April. To maintain the spirit of the holiday.

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