Video: Magali De Vinck of Zythomania by L’Echappée Bière talks about the business of beer tasting and brewery visits in Belgium in the time of Covid-19. She also talks about the state of Belgium beer culture.
Magali De Vinck, country manager for Zythomania by L’Echappée Bière remains positive in the face of Covid-19 and its effects on the business of organising fun beer tasting at Belgium’s bars and breweries.
It has been a tough half of a year for De Vinck and Zythomania, as for the rest of the beer sector. But in a talk with the Beer Idiots at Python bar in Brussels, she described how she left her career at a petrochemical company to start up Zythomania in collaboration with friends who formed L’Echappée Bière in Lille, France.
They organise what they call “beer escapes”, which includes beer tasting and brewery visits for businesses, groups and individual but also involves beer-themed scavenger hunts and other games.
L’Echappée Bière has since expanded to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Paris, Nantes, Strasbourg and Montpellier.
De Vinck officially started Zythomania as an offshoot in 2018. The business was going quite well until Covid-19 hit Belgium. Her passion is beer and Belgium beer culture, and history in general. Her scavenger hunts around Belgium involves a number of bars but it is a way for visitors to also discover the history.
For example, I first met her on a beer walk with Malt & Mout through Maalbeek Valley discovering the traces (or lack of) of former thriving breweries in Ixelles and Etterbeek.
She follows the Beer Idiots’ credo – having fun with beer.
“It is not the purpose to drink and become completely drunk,” De Vinck said. “It is just a topic that gathers people together. It is about the culture of beer…How did it all start? Why are we drinking beer? How are we doing it and how it is influencing our city? That is what we are doing.”