The new General Secretary of CEGROBB is Swiss
There is a change in the European Community of Beer and Other Beverage Wholesalers' Associations, CEGROBB. Since 2022, Pascal Homberger, CEO of DIGITALDRINK AG, has played a significant role in the development of the beverage industry at European level as Secretary General. In this interview, Pascal Homberger reveals what this commitment really means and what benefits it will bring to the Swiss beverage market, and especially SwissDrink members.
Pascal Homberger, congratulations on your appointment as Secretary General of CEGROBB! How did you get this position?
Thank you very much. As part of the merger with VSG/ASDB, SwissDrink has become a member of CEGROBB. This gave me the opportunity to present our digitalisation strategy. Our approach and philosophy met with great interest. It was at this point that I was offered the vacant position.
What exactly are your tasks at the CEGROBB? What do you have to do?
CEGROBB is the European voice of the beverage wholesaler federations. It is about bringing together the interests, needs and opportunities of members at international level, using synergies and implementing them effectively. My task is to make all this operational.
Following this engagement, what are the challenges you will face in your new activity?
This role is much more policy-oriented than my current activity. Besides the exchange and negotiation with partner federations and political representatives, I will also be responsible for the coordination of lobbying activities. We need to strengthen our networking, both inside and outside the federation, and get more visibility, so that our demands can be heard.
In addition to current challenges such as pandemics, digitalisation, or climate change, we will have to guard against a shortage of specialised workers in the fields of logistics and catering.
Are there parallels between the European groupings and SwissDrink? What advantages and benefits will SwissDrink members enjoy because of the involvement of the CEGROBB?
For historical reasons, SwissDrink is much more commercially active than the other organisations, which are mainly involved in politics. SwissDrink is therefore in a stronger negotiating position than the producers. However, even as a non-EU member, Swiss wholesalers are increasingly affected by EU measures. A strong network can help us to intervene proactively and defend the interests of our members.
How does the European beverage industry compare with Switzerland in terms of digitalisation?
Thanks to the efforts of DIGITALDRINK and SwissDrink in recent years, we are now a leader in the field of digitisation. Our digital systems and approaches have met with great interest and are even being considered for international solutions.
What can we learn from our European colleagues?
In particular, the promotion of sustainability, especially through the circular economy (closed loop economy), which has become an important theme among our German and French colleagues for many years. Changing consumer needs and political measures, such as the European Green Pact, are also driving these developments in other countries.
Beverage wholesalers and specialist beverage shops in these countries have managed to position themselves as attractive alternative suppliers to the retail trade for regional products with reusable packaging. This trend also offers opportunities for Swiss beverage wholesalers.
Some personal questions to Pascal Homberger
What drives you forward, what motivates you?
Identify the problems and find solutions that can benefit both sides. I truly believe that "Unity makes strength".
Can the new General Secretary of CEGROBB and CEO of DIGITALDRINK AG still enjoy his free time?
I admit that it is a challenge during this period. It only works because in my private and professional environment I have committed people who support me effectively.
What is your favourite drink?
I appreciate the diversity of our Swiss beers.
Your personal advice for the Swiss beverage industry
If we want to be ready for tomorrow, we need to think ahead and implement the necessary changes today.