Beer Palma in 2017. | M. Azagra

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Palma town hall has launched a new campaign against addictions - the drinking of alcohol, the smoking of tobacco and the playing of videogames in particular. Where booze is concerned, the decision has been taken to no longer support, promote or subsidise events "related to the consumption of alcohol". Or rather, events which wouldn't be events if they weren't for alcohol - the Okotoberfest and Beer Palma have been mentioned specifically.

Beer Palma was held recently in the Parc de la Mar location that has been used for some years. Unlike in previous years, pre-Covid that it is, the event went ahead with barely a whisper. There certainly wasn't anything from the town hall. This was not something to demand one of those photos of town hall politicians grinning for the camera while holding a publicity poster. Citizen participation councillor, Alberto Jarabo, and the mayor, José Hila, were not required.

Yet in the past, they may well have been doing the grinning and with an organiser and maker of a Mallorcan craft beer, to boot. The reasons for grinning would have included an event designed to tackle seasonality (just about at the start of May) and promotion of a local, artisan industry - a very small one based on a collection of microbreweries. Beer Palma has always found space for island beers alongside the national and international bevvies.

For the second Beer Palma in 2014, the councillor for tourism, Álvaró Gijón, was there to make the presentation. So was, among others, the manager of the Palma 365 Tourism Foundation, Pedro Homar; he is still the manager of the foundation. Institutional support was strong at one time.

Now, however, Mallorca craft beers appear to be being frowned upon, and the town hall's withdrawal of support seems set to extend to the municipal space. Parc de la Mar may well cease to be the venue. Councillor for tourism, health and consumer affairs, Elena Navarro, doesn't want to say that there won't be events in the future, but she does want to say that they won't have town hall support. As for the Oktoberfest, this has been at the Pueblo Español, which is not town hall domain.

Where the real Oktoberfest is concerned, one would very much doubt that the German authorities would choose to distance themselves. Such is the association in fact that the competition for the 2022 Oktoberfest poster was organised by Munich's department for labour and economic affairs.

In one respect, I suppose one can appreciate the town hall's stance. Not that it will make a blind bit of difference though, while it neglects the fact that fiestas which take place across the city, and with which it will have an association, nowadays come with warnings regarding excesses. These have centred on sexual advances or worse, but these, more often than not, are the consequence of drinking. These warnings do of course apply to fiestas elsewhere in Mallorca, and let's be honest, drinking is something of a fundamental for fiestas.

If Palma can take this decision, what about other town halls? There are other beer festivals at which craft beers are promoted - Arta has one, so does Mancor de la Vall. Are these to also be spurned by town halls? Or might Pollensa withdraw its support for the annual wine fair? A different type of event, granted, but as with Beer Palma and the Oktoberfest, it wouldn't exist if it weren't for alcohol. There again, Mallorca's wine industry is considerably larger than the local beer sector, and it generates exports.