SIBA Independent Brewer Winter 2020

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Issue 4 Winter 2020

Brewing in the eye of the storm

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Editor’s comment

Welcome to the Winter edition of SIBA’s Independent Brewer Magazine...

As 2020 crawls slowly towards its conclusion, I suspect it will be a rare individual who will mourn its demise. I remember sitting at this desk almost exactly a year ago writing about the outlook for 2020, SIBA’s 40th anniversary year, and a year which seemed to be brimming with possibility for the UK’s small independent craft brewing sector. I am not going to dwell on what has happened since March, we have all heard about little else for the last nine months. I am instead going to tell you how proud I feel to be associated with the brewing sector, and with all of you out there working so hard throughout this crisis. I have always known that what makes the beer industry tick is its attitude. Beer people are

inquisitive, enthusiastic, inspiring, sociable, supportive, sharing, tenacious, humble and innovative. So when 2020 happened, small brewers really stepped up.

better at school (see page 27) and we also hear from Jamie Delap at Fyne Ales for our Brewer’s Viewpoint on the particular challenges in the Scottish market (see page 45).

So many of you have gone out of your way to support your colleagues and your communities through 2020, and you should take a moment during the upcoming festive season to recognise your contribution and to be rightly proud of it.

Finally, we bring you news of BeerX UK 2021 which in response to the pandemic will for the first time be going online. Running from March 16th to 18th next year we will be bringing you all the quality content you expect from BeerX but through a new online portal we will launch in the next few weeks (see page 9 for more details). BeerX UK online will also host the SIBA Business Awards for 2021, which are now open for entries. These awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the incredible effort you have put in to fighting the challenges 2020 has thrown at you and a wonderful way to reward your team (see pages 54-57 for full details on the categories and how to enter).

This sense of community and camaraderie within the independent brewing sector is epitomised in my mind by Paul Jones, the co-founder of Cloudwater, who we are delighted to feature in our Big Interview slot for this issue (see pages 28-35). Since founding Cloudwater Paul has gone out of his way to support industry colleagues and fellow brewers, through mentoring, collaborations and a new incubator initiative to help small beer businesses grow. Elsewhere, we profile two very different breweries, Abbeydale (see pages 38-43) and Utopian (see pages 46-53) to hear more about their experience of 2020 and how their operations have evolved to meet an everchanging set of regulations and emerging consumer trends. Our guest columnist for the Winter issue is beer educator Natalya Watson, a Beer Sommelier and Advanced Cicerone®, who looks at how the industry could certainly do

Society of Independent Brewers PO Box 136, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 5WW Tel: 01765 640 441 Email:

As ever, please do keep sending me your press releases, updates, news and views to so that we can share your experiences, thoughts and successes in future magazines – the deadline for submissions to our Spring edition will be February 1st 2021. In the meantime, very best wishes to you all for a festive season that brings joy and hope. Caroline Nodder Editor SIBA Independent Brewer Magazine

Editor: Caroline Nodder ( Published by: Media Alive Limited Produced on behalf of SIBA by: Media Alive Limited, 2nd Floor, The Red House, 119 Fore Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG14 1AX. T: 01992 505 810 Creative Director: Darren Kefford ( Studio Manager: Jon Hardy ( Advertising Manager: Claire Rooney ( Managing Director: Dan Rooney (

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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or be any other means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of SIBA and/or Media Alive Limited. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information in this publication is accurate and up-to-date, neither SIBA nor Media Alive Limited take any responsibility for errors or omissions. Opinions expressed in editorial contributions to this publication are those of their respective authors and not necessarily shared either by SIBA or Media Alive Limited. | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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9-15 54-57 70-81 87-99

SIBA news All the news from SIBA HQ SIBA Business Awards 2021 Entries are now open for next year’s awards, all the details here Brewery news The latest from our Brewing Members around the UK Supplier news Updates from SIBA’s Supplier Associate Members

Comment 7 8 16-17 27 45 68-69

CEO’s update James Calder gives us his learnings from 2020 Chairman’s comment Ian Fozard contemplates a tough year in beer The view from Westminster Our regular political update Beer education Natalya Watson focusses on using education to grow sales Brewer's viewpoint Fyne Ales’ Jamie Delap gives his take on the challenging Scottish market Technical focus Brewlab’s Dr Keith Thomas and Brian Yorston look at canning

Features 38-43 Issue 4 Winter 2020

Brewing in the eye of the storm

Cover Our cover image was taken at Cloudwater Brew Co. Find out more about their 2020 in our Big Interview on pages 28-35.

19 20-21 23 24-25 28-35 36-37 38-43 46-53 59-67 82-85 104 106

Brexit advice Five things you need to do now to prepare for January 1st SIBA membership update How SIBA is supporting brewers Meet the regions Find out more about our new regional reps Roy Allkin and Ewen Gordon Mental health support The Drinks Trust offers advice on wellness and mental health The big interview Cloudwater’s co-founder Paul Jones shares his vision for the brewery and his views on the brewing sector as a whole SIBA desk beers We celebrate the beers that have kept the SIBA team’s spirits up during lockdown Business profile We meet Abbeydale Brewery in Sheffield to talk about 2020, but more importantly that Funk Dungeon Business profile Lager specialist Utopian Brewing has been one of the driving forces behind the revival of the much-maligned lager category Business advice Legal, consumer insight, online shops, GDPR and trade marks Gold Members Brewers Select & Premier Systems Gold & Silver Members Listing of our key sponsors Contacts Key SIBA contacts | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020






CEO’s update Writing this column normally comes quite easily to me. But with this column, and indeed generally – I am struggling. I think all of us, in every sense of the word, are struggling. As Ian Fozard writes in these pages, this year was supposed to be about resetting SIBA and pushing forward a strategy for the next decade and beyond for independent brewing. It was about SIBA working better for you. The challenges we faced as an industry in March will persevere beyond the vaccines and will likely be exacerbated by the continuing shadow of the virus. We don’t have enough market share – still only around 6%. We are overtaxed. We can’t easily get our products to market. We face unfair and bullying competitive tactics from global players. The temperance movement is seeking to use Covid to its advantage. But you all know that. What you want to know is how we, and how SIBA, can change that. Alongside everything else that is going on we are currently engaged in a re-look at our strategy so that when those vaccines do come, and we return to some sense of normality, we can get back to work on addressing those priorities. YOUR priorities. My vision for SIBA is a trade association that represents more independent brewers. I want every brewery business in the land to understand why they should be SIBA members, and be persuaded to join. We need to engage more widely and show why backing your trade association is important, and how membership can directly help your business. With that comes a bigger voice – and we’re clear about what we use that voice for. SIBA is and should be a trade association that brings people and businesses together. It’s a body that celebrates and defends independence with consumers and within the industry itself. Where we see injustice and where we see things going on that shouldn’t be – we call those things out. I hope that the words and actions of me and my team over the past year have begun to demonstrate this vision. But there is much more work to do. Like Ian says in his column, we need the regions to be revitalised and we need input from as many of you as possible. If you can, attend your regional meetings and come ready with ideas, criticism and feedback on SIBA and our strategy so we can make it better. One thing I want to use this column for is to give you some reflections on my first year as Chief Executive. What I have learned and what I think is important about this industry: 1. The resilience of the UK’s breweries. Despite the fact that you have not received the same level of support as the rest of hospitality and you’ve had to pay (at least twice, if not three times or more) for beer destroyed in the cellar, most breweries have been incredibly resilient. At the beginning of this crisis, I feared far more business closures than we have seen. I in no way seek to undermine the challenges you are facing – but by god it’s clear you are a tough bunch.

Resilience, generosity and innovation

2. The generosity of our sector. From a personal perspective – me and my team are immensely grateful for all the beer care packages we have had from you throughout this crisis. The job in itself is reward enough, but cases of beer have been most welcome and have certainly helped! More importantly I’ve heard countless stories of brewers giving to their communities despite running on empty themselves. Volunteering, acting as food banks, using brewery vans to deliver meals on wheels. It’s remarkable how important breweries are to local communities.

SIBA is and should be a trade association that brings people and businesses together. 3. The ability to innovate. Perhaps the most important impact of Covid on us has been the shift to brewers doing direct B2C sales. This was something that SIBA spent a furious 48 hours lobbying on at the beginning of lockdown, and which I’m really pleased that we secured. Most, if not all of you have developed an online offering out of necessity. Whilst sales from B2C have fluctuated I do hope that this continues to be an important part of your sales mixes. For those of you that have pubs and taprooms you have bent over backwards to make your spaces Covidsecure amidst a complex and ever-changing set of requirements. I take my hat off to you. 4. The way we support one another. Whilst breweries do compete with one another, the collegiate nature of the industry has never been clearer. Again, I’ve heard so many stories of brewers picking up the phone, setting up Zoom calls and having a beer with colleagues from other breweries to check in, to see how they are doing and offer mutual support. We’re a friendly and supportive industry and that’s been

an important part of keeping us all going. I get regular texts and messages from many of you checking in and it’s been very welcome (perhaps more so than the beer!) to receive them. Thank you. 5. What co-operation in the industry can achieve. There are so many examples of this. Perhaps the clearest is how when given the right support from SIBA, how many of you have engaged with your MPs this year on SBR, some for the first time. The recent debate SIBA secured in Parliament showed how many MPs not only know their local brewery, but understand it intimately. This will, hopefully lead to a positive outcome in the coming weeks. Another good example is work between trade associations. Whilst we don’t always agree on everything, the combined voices of SIBA, CAMRA, the BBPA, UKHospitality, the BII and others have been powerful. 6. How much I (and the country) miss and need the pub. Like many of you I really, really want to see my friends and have a pint. Gyms have successfully made the argument that they are critical to the mental wellbeing of the nation – and I agree. The same is true of pubs. Many in the industry (including SIBA) have been making the argument, but perhaps not strongly enough. Pubs, beer and breweries are vital national institutions. For now, I wish you a Merry, safe and hopefully very busy Christmas trading period. James

James Calder Chief Executive SIBA | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Chairman’s comment

SIBA needs YOU!

I write this in mid-November, in the middle of national lockdown v2 and, I must confess, despite being a natural optimist, in a slightly depressed state. 2020, SIBA’s 40th Anniversary year, was going to be a year of optimism, a year in which SIBA re-shaped itself under our new leadership to address the challenges of the next 40 years. A year in which we started to push back against the dominance of the global brewers and gain market share. A year in which the divisive issue of SBR reform was settled with no brewer fearing the worst. I could go on. Instead we have all been on our uppers, fighting to hold our businesses together as pubs were forced to shut twice (and worse in the North and devolved countries where tiered lockdowns have prevailed). A year in which we have all worried about the future of our businesses. A year in which the global and large national brewers have stolen some of our lunch. A year in which we have had to destroy unsold beer and re-stock pub cellars all at our cost due to pressures by the afore-mentioned larger bodies. A year with little sector specific help from Government who, it would seem, possibly inadvertently, have helped the supermarket sector with business rates relief, ignoring brewers, only for those large retail companies to pay dividends of equivalent amount! What is becoming clear is that, when “normality” returns, it won’t be quite as normal as we used to know it. Home drinking, which has been a lifeline for many brewers during lockdown, may become the “new normal” for those more cautious individuals who have been weaned off the pub and perhaps are concerned about close contact with others? Others may


have become used to the continental table service ethic that pubs have been forced to adopt – will they willingly revert to the free for all of a busy bar? I would certainly miss the chance to intricately peruse the pump clips at the bar but I’m probably an anorak. Will others care? What does this mean for the future of cask? What does all this mean for independent brewers? Will it mean that the dedicated beer aficionado is forced to gravitate to beer focused pubs and bars and the mainstream high street venue reverts to bland global beer? All of this does not bode well for the independent brewer already operating on tight margins who tries to do the right thing by his or her business but is restricted to fewer and fewer outlets in an ever competitive market. Independent brewers, I believe, are a resilient community. We will adapt, come what may, but it is and it will be tough. SIBA’s strength, in my opinion is in its regions – their networking opportunities and platforms for new ideas.

SIBA can help in many ways but, and here’s the rub, SIBA is only as strong as its membership and, right now, SIBA needs you. We need you to participate in helping SIBA’s regions re-energise. One of the casualties of Covid-19 has been the ability of SIBA regions to gather together – we’ve lost our 2020 regional Beer Competitions and we’re uncertain, at the time of writing, of exactly how a 2021 BeerX UK and AGM will work. SIBA’s strength, in my

Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

opinion is in its regions – their networking opportunities and platforms for new ideas which feed through to national action. SIBA regions will be holding a series of Zoom meetings in the next couple of months but these will never be a substitute for the real thing – the chance to chew the cud over a pint with industry friends. SIBA needs you in more ways than one – we need new blood on the Board; we need some more passionate individuals on the Board. If you feel strongly that SIBA is not going in the right direction, now is the time to put yourself forward for election to the Board – each SIBA region elects three directors and elections are held each year, usually in January. SIBA’s board meets three times a year and sets our policy and direction. If you are interested in standing, email our Company secretary – Sara Knox – As I said earlier, I’m a natural optimist. I believe that there is a bright future ahead, but it somehow seems further away. Our national beer market seems more fractured than ever. Let’s stick together, innovate and come out fighting for a better future for independent brewers – get behind SIBA and help mould SIBA into that force that we all know it can be! Cheers Ian

Ian Fozard Chairman SIBA

SIBA news In reaction to the on-going restrictions placed on live events during the pandemic, and no clear information on when these might be eased, BeerX UK is going digital for 2021.

The Launch of the first ever BeerX UK Online for 2021

With continued uncertainty around when or if corporate events or trade shows will be able to go ahead in 2021, the SIBA Senior Management Team and the SIBA Board have taken the decision to postpone the BeerX UK conference and trade show which usually takes place in Liverpool in March, and instead launch our first ever SIBA BeerX UK Online for 2021. As you can imagine this decision was not taken lightly, however we are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Kegstar as our BeerX UK Headline Sponsors, and delivering three days of virtual seminars which will take place from the 16th to the 18th of March 2021. We'll be offering the same great speaker content, workshops and

seminars, plus tutored drink-along tastings and a virtual keynote speech, all delivered via an online portal which we'll be unveiling in the coming weeks. What's more we're delighted to be launching BeerX Online 2021 in association with Brewers Journal, who will be helping us deliver World-Class content across our two events - with SIBA also involved in the Brewers Congress event in May. With all that is going on in the beer industry we are delighted to be partnering with Brewers Journal in 2021 to work together, deliver some amazing events, and give you as members the chance to network, learn and engage with the industry - just as you would do in person at our usual events. If you have any questions on any of the above please email

The SIBA AGM 2021 SIBA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is and always has been an important part of BeerX UK and we are currently looking at the best way to facilitate the AGM to ensure members can attend, vote on resolutions, discuss SIBA's strategy, and engage with the AGM in an active and enjoyable way. Whilst we are looking to again utilise the online voting system previously used we are also exploring how a smaller physical AGM could take place. Much of this will depend on the lockdown and social distancing rules in place as of March next year but we will keep members informed on what is planned well ahead of time. Watch out for updates via the SIBA Toolbox alerts!

The SIBA Business Awards 2021 The 2021 SIBA Business Awards are open for entries and this time we hope to highlight brewers and suppliers that have gone above and beyond to ‘adapt and overcome’ during the crisis of 2020. In order to do this, the SIBA Business Awards 2021 will include two new categories, both championing the extraordinary resilience shown by the beer and brewing industry in the face of Covid lockdown and social distancing measures. The new categories are for Covid Brewery Initiative and Covid Supplier Initiative, and both seek to highlight those businesses making the best of a very tough situation for independent breweries, pubs, bars and bottle shops, and the communities they support. The SIBA Business Awards celebrate excellence in the brewing industry across a variety of categories, from pump clip, can and bottle design, to efforts taken by brewers to make their business more eco-friendly, innovative or successful, as well as naming the UK’s best bars, restaurants and retailers of craft beer from independent breweries. The SIBA Business Awards are unique in being both free to enter and judged by a panel of independent beer industry experts, managed by SIBA. For more information and a full list of the categories and criteria for 2021 see pages 54 to 57 in this issue of the magazine, or go to | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


SIBA news

Debate on future of Small Breweries’ Relief sees cross-party calls for Government to change course

Enjoying your beer? It could be under threat The Government are set to raise the amount of tax paid by some small independent breweries in the UK, putting local beers at risk. To protect small breweries and the beers they make, sign the petition here: Petition by

In what was an unusually lengthy and impassioned adjournment debate in Parliament on November 9th, the Government faced heavy pressure on its proposed new policy on SBR which would hit many small independent breweries across the UK. The debate was led by Liz Saville Roberts MP, the Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, who rallied crossparty calls for the Government to change course on SBR. Under the Government proposals around 150 small independent breweries would see their tax bill rise and those not immediately affected may see their tax relief eroded over time, as the Government moves to an annually reviewed ‘cash basis’ for SBR. Liz Saville Roberts MP, speaking in the House during the debate, said: “The Minister now has the chance to bolster our small breweries, to guarantee their future and to ensure that they can continue to serve their communities, create jobs and support the economy. I urge her to alter course and not to make changes to relief for any brewers below 5,000 hectolitres and not to introduce the cash basis, and by doing so to give hope to all our small breweries, in my constituency and beyond.”

For more information please visit and

Responding to the debate, SIBA’s CEO James Calder said: “I would like to thank Liz Saville Roberts MP for leading what was a very well-attended and impassioned debate on this important issue, with a total of 16 MPs including the Minister speaking. Small breweries in the UK are suffering worse than most due to Covid lockdown measures and have not received the Government’s muchlauded support for the hospitality industry, had access to hospitality grants, or had the business rates holiday extended to them – to now announce tax rises for some of the worst affected businesses shows a disregard for small business in the UK.

Tom Stainer, CAMRA Chief Executive, said: “It’s great to see MPs from across the political spectrum speak out about the harmful impact that these changes will have on our small brewers, and on choice for consumers. The strength of feeling on this matter is clear, and CAMRA stands with by the 50,000 concerned consumers who have already signed a petition to Parliament opposing the changes. This is a terrible time to plan to raise taxes for small brewers, and the effects will be disastrous for local and independent brewers, ultimately allowing global brands to further dominate bars across the UK.”

“MPs from across the UK and both sides of the House spoke about the small independent breweries in their constituencies who will suffer under this policy, and I would urge the Government to reconsider its position and commit to no reduction in SBR for those under 5,000hl – the current upper threshold for the full relief rate.”

SIBA and CAMRA have been working closely on this issue and we are fully aligned in our agreement that any changes to ‘smooth the curve’ of SBR cannot come at the expense of breweries under the current 5,000hl threshold. For the latest on this issue go to

The Government’s proposed tax hike could see some of Britain’s small brewers fighting for survival. The proposed changes will mean that over 150 small independent breweries will have to pay more in beer duty, while those larger in size will pay the same amount or even less than before.

Protect local brewers, stop the tax hike

This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ system will put local businesses at risk which have been amongst the hardest hit during Covid. On top of this, the Government is planning to move SBR to being calculated on a cash basis which will likely erode support over time, hitting every single small local brewery. SIBA has campaigned for positive reform of beer duty which allows brewers to grow, but doesn’t penalise the smallest brewers in the process. Brewers can support SIBA’s efforts in lobbying the Government to change tack on the issue of Small Breweries’ Relief by downloading the SIBA SBR Action Pack and signing the petition on the issue. Find out more by going to | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


SIBA news

New evidence shows small independent brewers pay business rates of over 50 times as much per pint as global beer brands

Inequalities in the tax system can mean that small breweries can be paying more than 50 times as much per pint in business rates as global beer companies. SIBA is calling on the Government to address this “inherent unfairness” as part of its fundamental review of the business rates system.

in business rates between global and local breweries. It is unfair to expect small brewers to once again carry the tax burden for global brands, particularly as they are some of the worst hit by coronavirus and there is the potential for separate tax rises around the corner too.

An oddity in the way that business rates are calculated for large brewery sites, means that their rateable value is calculated in a different way to normal commercial premises for business rates purposes. For many larger breweries, often run by multinational companies, the contractor’s basis of valuation is used. This has previously been criticised by the Treasury Select Committee which said that it “presents challenges because it requires valuers to apply their judgement to a hypothetical situation”.

“Small brewers are being attacked from all sides and it seems the Government is making no effort to support or protect them – receiving none of the Government’s hospitality industry support during Covid, about to see their tax bill rise, and paying higher business rates, than the World’s biggest brewers!”

The global beer companies have breweries in the UK which produce almost a billion pints a year yet pay only 0.0005p per pint in business rates for this site. A small brewery down the road, only a fraction of the size and producing around a million pints a year, pays 0.027p per pint. This comes at a very challenging time for the brewing industry which has been badly impacted by the Covid crisis. During lockdown with the closure of pubs, small breweries lost 80% of their sales and they have not recovered, with sales continuing to be around 50% compared to previous years. Since the summer, SIBA has reported that two small breweries a week have been closing for good.

It is unfair to expect small brewers to once again carry the tax burden for global brands “It is grossly unfair for a small brewer to pay rates equivalent to 57 times those of a Global beer company. It means that small businesses are carrying the burden of taxation and struggle to compete against these global breweries that still dominate beer sales in the UK. We need to create a more level playing field so that small breweries are not penalised by the tax system. The Government should look at this differential as part of its fundamental review of business rates and consider whether a unit of comparison such as the level of beer produced could be used instead.” Calder added.

James Calder, Chief Executive of SIBA, said: “It is hugely important Government recognise the pressure independent brewers are under and address the inherent unfairness

Primary Authority co-ordinated partnership On behalf of members, SIBA has entered into a Primary Authority co-ordinated partnership arrangement with Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards (NCCTS).

all SIBA members who wish to participate to benefit from assured advice in a number of regulated areas including food standards, product safety and fair trading.

To comply with regulations, SIBA is required to provide your business name and contact details to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (formerly Regulatory Delivery).


Primary Authority partnerships were introduced by Government some years ago, and enable participating businesses to receive compliance advice from a single authority, preventing inconsistent interpretation of legal requirements by other local authorities.

If you do wish to participate in this arrangement, and potentially receive assured advice, you must let SIBA know, and inform us if:

There is no cost to SIBA members for this valuable additional service and you are able to choose whether or not you wish to receive it.

This arrangement with NCCTS (who have experience in running over 50 direct partnerships with businesses including national retailers and food manufacturers) will enable


1. you already have a direct Primary Authority partnership with another Authority, although this will not prevent your participation, or 2. you are already a member of a co-ordinated arrangement.

Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

For more information email:

SIBA news

Flying Firkin Distribution sold to MMS

Marketing Management Services Ltd (MMS) has purchased Flying Firkin Distribution Ltd (FFD) from the company’s prior majority shareholder SIBA Commercial Services Ltd, following a competitive tender process. Nina Bates remains in place as minority shareholder. The value of the transaction was by reference to FFD’s current net asset value, but the consideration has not been disclosed. FFD will continue to trade, distributing cask beer across the UK, following a period of non-trading due to Coronavirus lockdown measures. Speaking on behalf of the SIBA Board, Ian Fozard, SIBA Chairman, said: “Following a small investment and business development by SIBA, Flying Firkin Distribution is a modernised and viable business which will continue to support independent brewers under its new stewardship by Marketing Management Services Ltd, which has proven experience in cask beer wholesale and distribution. Flying Firkin was saved by the prompt and responsible action of SIBA stepping in at a critical time. “SIBA’s Board of Elected Directors, made up of independent brewers from across the UK, has been consulted at all stages of the sale process and during SIBA’s stewardship of FFD we have protected and facilitated around £2.5 million worth of business for SIBA member breweries. We wish MMS the best of luck and feel confident the sale is in the best interests of the FFD business.” Gerald Michaluk, Managing Director of Marketing Management Services, said: “Flying Firkin was saved by the prompt and responsible action of SIBA stepping in at a critical time and this intervention has been hugely beneficial to small independent brewers. We are looking to take over and grow the business despite these difficult times for the whole industry. “Flying Firkin is in a good shape to stand up for itself once again and Marketing Management Services will support the business as we work our way through the current crises and to a point where once again we can all enjoy craft cask beer in our local pub and festivals, showcasing the best of British Beer.”

SALSA plus Beer: £100 discount for SIBA Members

SIBA Members now receive a £100 discount on the 'SALSA plus Beer' audit. Applicable to new applications from 1st November 2020. A SALSA plus Beer audit has been developed in association with Cask Marque, to offer small and micro-sized brewers a standard tailored to the scale and structure of their operation and to allow approved members to approach buyers with reinforced confidence with their craft ales and beers. The audits are undertaken by specially trained auditors with extensive experience of the brewing industry. Email to find out more

One hour's free legal advice for SIBA Members

As with all manufacturing industries, breweries are unfortunately open to a variety of legal issues. To help protect our member's brewing businesses SIBA has partnered with Napthens solicitors to ensure members receive the best advice from a firm with a wealth of experience. Providing 1 hour's free legal advice the helpline can deal with any legal or commercial query from employment or HR through to raising finance and is manned by a specialist team of solicitors with a great deal of experience in dealing with breweries - whether you are a micro, local or regional brewer. To find out more email

The majority ownership and management of Flying Firkin Distribution Ltd by Marketing Management Services Ltd took place with immediate effect from 25th September 2020, with SIBA retaining no shares in the company. | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020




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SIBA news Obituary

Tony Eastwood, Chairman of Small Beer

The SIBA Team was extremely saddened in November to hear of the death of a true beer legend, Small Beer Chairman Tony Eastwood. Tony was a pioneer of the UK craft beer scene, an advocate for British beer and brewing for over four decades, and a valued friend and colleague to many in the sector by whom he will be sorely missed. Together with his wife Jude, Tony opened the first Small Beer off-licence in Lincoln in 1980 and the business grew over the years to become Britain’s leading cask ale and craft beer wholesaler. He was also a shareholder and director of Castle Rock brewing and pub group and a former chairman of Lincoln CAMRA as well as a former director of the National Drink Distributors (NDD).

Tony Eastwood enjoying a pint of real ale at one of his favourite pubs the Crown Posada in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Tony was born in Leicester in 1948 and studied at Newcastle University where he met Jude and moved to her home city of Lincoln in 1969 and they were married a year later. Passionate about real ale, they decided to swap their local government roles for a life in the beer trade and never looked back. Their business expanded to include the popular Victoria and Golden Eagle pubs in Lincoln as well as the Eagle in Boston plus off-licences in both Sheffield and Cleethorpes. Their son Rob now runs the Small Beer business as Managing Director alongside his wife Karen who is Commercial Director. Rob said: “People have described my Dad as a real giant of the cask ale industry without ever having brewed a drop of beer. “He was passionate about championing British beer and brewers and we’re determined to carry on his legacy by ensuring cask ale continues to thrive in these challenging times.” Ian Fozard, SIBA’s National Chairman, said: “Tony was a trailblazer for the British real ale scene, launching Small Beer 40 years ago at a time when the sector as we know it today could only have been dreamt of. There is no doubt that his vision and passion for British beer played a significant part in raising awareness of independent breweries and he will be greatly missed by the many

Left to right: Jenny, Jude, Rob and Tony at the opening of the Small Beer off-licence in Lincoln’s West End on September 25th, 1980.

industry friends he made along the way. He was also a lovely bloke, always with a smile and happy to share football memories as well as talk beer. Our thoughts are with Tony’s family and we will be raising a glass of British beer in his memory.” Alongside a great pint and a Leicester City FC win, Tony loved nothing more than spending time with Jude, their children Rob, Jenny and Stella, their partners Karen, Mark, Ash and grandchildren Albert, Elsie and Max. He died peacefully on November 13th.

“Dad was such a family man and Small Beer is a family business with all of his children and members of the extended family having worked there over the years,” Rob said. “All of us miss him so much and although we cannot be together in the way that we would want to celebrate his life just now, we would encourage everyone who knew him to raise a glass to a life well-lived. Cheers Dad.” | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


The view from Westminster

I write this as the news comes in that we’ve been plunged once again into lockdown. Hopefully by the time you’re reading this issue of SIBA Independent Brewer Magazine, pubs are back open and independent beer is back on the bar, although Covid restrictions are still going to be with us all for some time. Christmas sadly will be far from normal.

Barry Watts SIBA Head of Public Affairs and Policy


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

The view from Westminster


It’s certainly been a turbulent time for all of us. With ever changing rules and regulations, it’s difficult for any brewery to navigate the storm. While there is no detailed map out of this crisis, SIBA has been working hard to provide you with a compass – explaining what you need to do, taking up any concerns directly with the Government and pressing for more support. As in the case of the first lockdown, SIBA’s lobbying efforts ensured that breweries are able to remain open during this second lockdown providing a way to get beer out to the thirsty public. Sadly the Government’s latest regulations are contradictory and confusing and many of you have contacted us not knowing whether your taproom, bottle shop or brewery can remain open. Equally, this lack of detail means that local authorities can interpret the rules how they see fit – leading to perverse circumstances. We have provided a FAQ which can be accessed along with the latest updates on our website: and continue to press for better guidance from the Government. Equally, it’s imperative that breweries can prepare to reopen and know in advance which tier they will be placed into. We’re pushing at all levels of Government for breweries to have advanced notice and for you to be able to trade during the essential Christmas period. We know that breweries haven’t had access to the same level of support as the wider hospitality sector including the Business Rates holiday and financial grants. This is why we want to see the package of support extended to you and the VAT cut of 5% to include beer in pubs. At the same time breweries would benefit from extra time to pay beer duty to HMRC so you only have to do so after you get paid by your customers. During the first lockdown, SIBA estimates that at least 5 million pints of independent beer was poured away with more likely to follow during the latest restrictions. While brewers can claim for the duty, they haven’t received any compensation for the malt or hops, brewers’ time or costs of operating breweries. We’ve been calling on the Chancellor to “pay his bar tab” and provide funding for the millions of pints of spoilt beer.

current Alcohol Duty system. A pint of 4% beer is taxed at 43p but cider only has to pay 23p and under the farmgate exemption 80% of producers pay nothing at all.

This spoilt beer also counts towards production for the purposes of calculating Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) even if the beer remained in duty suspense and never left the brewery. We’ve been pushing the Government to change the rules to allow breweries to discount it as this is plainly unfair. Small Breweries’ Relief It is also plainly unfair that the Government intends to change the rules around SBR. Readers will know that the decision to reduce the 50% rate to 2,100hl and put SBR on a cash basis is creating a great deal of uncertainty for brewers. Thanks to your help, we’ve securely put this issue on the agenda with national media coverage and a debate in Parliament. In November 15 MPs from across the political spectrum attended a late evening debate to tell the Government why they should reverse course. Many others have raised their concerns directly with Ministers. With the technical consultation expected in the coming weeks, it is imperative we continue to put the pressure on them. And there are several ways that you can help:

During the first lockdown, SIBA estimates that at least 5 million pints of independent beer were poured away. The time is right that cider and beer are taxed on the same basis. At the same time, to help small cider producers to grow and invest in their businesses, they should get access to a Small Cider Relief scheme similar to SBR. Business Rates Review There is a similar opportunity to make changes to Business Rates. The Government published a call for evidence and SIBA is pushing for a fairer system. Currently our research shows that small independent brewers pay 50 times as much per pint in Business Rates as a global beer company. This is inherently unfair and needs to change.

1. Make sure you get in contact with your local MP. Use the template letter on the SIBA website, tell them what the impact will mean for your brewery and invite them to visit. Then get your suppliers, customers and fans to also write in. 2. Let the local press know and use the SIBA template press release to send to them.

If there’s anything I or the SIBA team can do to help you, do not hesitate to contact me on the details below. Barry Watts is Head of Public Affairs and Policy at SIBA. He covers political relations and policy for SIBA members. He can be contacted at barry.watts@ or 07977837804.

3. Sign the petition set up by Anspach and Hobday ( petitions/334066) and encourage as many suppliers, customers and brewery supporters to do the same. All these can be found at: Alcohol Duty Review The Government has launched a once in a generation opportunity to reform the Alcohol Duty regime. SIBA believes that the system needs to recognise, protect and support small producers but also recognise that pubs and taprooms are safe and supervised venues and a force for good in the community. Top of our list for reform has to be the treatment of substitute drinks. For example, cider and beer are treated similar by the pubgoer, served in similar servings, yet are taxed and treated very differently by the | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Brexit advice

Brexit: Preparing for the end of the transition period The transition period with the EU will end this month, December 2020. From 1st January 2021, new customs rules will come into force and brewers that export will need to make a number of changes. These will come into force even if there is a new trade agreement with the EU.

From 1st January 2021 for exports to the EU:

Brewers will need to make sure they get an EORI number, consider appointing a customs intermediary or make sure you have all the skills and requirements to do customs declarations yourself.

Further information can be found here:

There’s also changes to labelling and new glassware requirements. Brewers who employ EU nationals or intend to do so should also be aware of the new immigration changes. 1. Get an EORI number You will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts with GB to export goods, it can take up to a week to get one. Find out more about how to get one here: From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI that starts with XI to move goods between Northern Ireland (NI) and non-EU countries, make a declaration in NI or get a customs decision in NI. To get one you will already need an EORI number with starts with GB. 2. Customs declarations From 1st January 2021, exports of beer from GB to the EU will be treated the same as exports to the rest of the World. In NI there may be different rules which will be published at a later date. You may want to consider appointing a customs intermediary to meet the new requirements. Find out more about how to do that here: HMRC has made funding available for businesses under the Customs Grant Scheme.

1. You must submit an electronic export declaration. If you’re exporting excise duty paid goods, you may be able to recover the duty by claiming drawback. You will need an EORI number and have applied to CHIEF – the IT system used by HMRC.

2. You cannot use the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) to export duty suspended goods directly from GB to the EU. 3. If you move excise duty suspended goods to a place of export from GB you must use EMCS. You will either have to ensure the authorised warehousekeeper declares the movement on EMCS when the goods are held in excise duty suspension or appoint a registered consignor when the goods are being released from a customs control for re-export. More guidance can be found here: uk/guidance/exporting-excise-goods-tothe-eu-from-1-january-2021

• You must not use the EU emblem and products from GB must not be labelled as ‘origin EU’ (unless in NI where it can continue. Where EU law requires NI should use ‘UK(NI) or United Kingdom (Northern Ireland). Read more about labelling here: 4. Immigration A new points based system will apply to new applicants from the EU (excluding Ireland) from January 2021. You should support and communicate with existing EU workforce about the need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme: uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families It is free to apply to the scheme and the deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. Employers will need to have a sponsor licence to recruit any worker from outside the UK, including EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. Further guidance can be found here: guidance/recruiting-people-from-outsidethe-uk-from-1-january-2021

The new border details can be found here:

5. Glassware changes • A new UK Conformity Assessment is being introduced for goods being placed on the GB market and the new UKCA logo will be used from 1 January 2021.

3. Labelling • You should check with your EU importer about the specific requirements

• For most products manufacturers can continue to use the CE mark or both the CE and UKCA mark until 31 December 2021.

• Products placed on the EU market before 1 January 2021 can continue to circulate in the market without labelling changes

• Brewers should ensure that all of the new glassware carries the UKCA mark as soon as possible after January 2021.

• Beer must have an EU or NI addressed for the Food Business Operator (FBO) or an address of the EU or NI importer on the packaging or label

• In Northern Ireland products must continue to be CE marked.

A letter from HMRC to exporters can be found here:

• Currently you will not be able to use the EU organics logo from 1 January 2021 (this may change if there is a deal)

The Government has produced a series of videos and guides which can be viewed here:

Read about the scheme here: | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


SIBA membership update

SIBA Membership: Delivering for Brewers in difficult times

SIBA has responded to the changing environment (sometimes changing daily it feels...) and built on the existing benefits of being a SIBA Member – including Government lobbying, beer awards, compliance advice and much more – with new weekly advice emails, surveying, and promotional opportunities such as the Digital Beer Awards. Below you will find a brief summary of some of the ways in which SIBA is Delivering for Brewers, but if you have any questions or would like to know more about joining SIBA then email our membership team at

GOVERNMENT LOBBYING: BREWERS’ VOICES ARE BEING HEARD SIBA continues to lobby on behalf of members on a variety of big issues such as Small Breweries’ Relief, Covid support, business rates and the Alcohol Duty Review meeting politicians and policy makers to make sure brewers’ voices are heard. Our work with Government is backed up by pro-active press activity, industry and consumer campaigning, ensuring that the issues that matter are top of the news agenda and at the top of MPs inboxes.

NEW! SALSA + BEER: £100 DISCOUNT FOR SIBA MEMBERS SIBA Members now receive a £100 discount on the ‘SALSA Plus Beer’ audit. Applicable to new applications only, commencing 1st November 2020. In addition SALSA are also offering Brewery specific training courses (which result in an IFST certificate) on the 14th Jan and 6th May at the discounted rate of £150 for SIBA Members, down from £225. For more info email


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

AWARDS: SIBA DIGITAL BEER AWARDS & BUSINESS AWARDS 2020 has been an unusual year for the beer industry, to say the least, but SIBA has adapted to the challenge and launched the SIBA Digital Beer Awards earlier in the year and more recently the SIBA Business Awards 2021 - which include two new categories for the amazing work done by breweries and suppliers during Coronavirus. SIBA Awards are always free to enter for members and winning helps to give you a commercial advantage and a good news story, which right now is more important than ever. The SIBA Business Awards seek to congratulate excellence in the brewing industry across a variety of categories, from pump clip, can and bottle design, to efforts taken by brewers to make their business more eco-friendly or to support their local community.

PRESS & COMMS: KEEPING YOU INFORMED + BREWERIES IN THE NEWS Our weekly emails have become an incredibly important tool in keeping members updated on the latest Coronavirus measures, support and guidance, as well as how you can engage with important campaigns such as the fight to reverse the Government's proposals on SBR. In addition to this, every quarter SIBA Members receive a copy of SIBA Independent Brewer magazine through the post. Featuring industry news and guest articles from some of the UK’s best beer writers, as well as interviews, meet the brewer and business profiles, Independent Brewer is your portal to the wider world of independent brewing. Our external press strategy has also gone up a notch on behalf of members, making sure that independent breweries and the pressure you are under is at the top of the national news agenda. If you would like to see a selection of recent press featuring SIBA members or get advice on how you can attract local press coverage, email

LEGAL HELPLINE: FREE ADVICE FROM EXPERIENCED SOLICITORS As with all manufacturing industries, breweries are unfortunately open to a variety of legal issues. To help protect your brewing business SIBA has partnered with Napthens solicitors to ensure members receive the best advice from a firm with a wealth of experience. All members are eligible for one hour’s free legal advice.

SIBA membership update CHAMPIONING INDEPENDENCE: FIGHTING FOR ASSURED INDEPENDENT BRITISH CRAFT BREWERS SIBA’s ‘Assured Independent British Craft Brewer’ seal can only be used by Full SIBA member breweries like you who are independent, relatively small, and brewing quality beer. The seal is a unique USP in a crowded beer market and resonates with consumers, with more than half saying they would be more likely to buy a beer which carries the seal.

COMPLIANCE: FOOD SAFETY AND QUALITY ASSURANCE FROM PROFESSIONAL BREWING BUSINESSES Recognised as a minimum standard by a number of leading companies within the Industry, the SIBA Food Safety Quality Audit continues to be adopted by a number of Brewing Members who do not hold an alternative accreditation. To assist brewers in becoming compliant, tools such as HACCP, Traceability and Health & Safety are made available to all Brewing Members via the Toolbox.




Our Classified Ads section on the website allows members the opportunity to advertise products and services and also gives members the chance to search for products and services they may require. For example, brewing equipment for sale can be listed here, job vacancies can be posted or members can look for Supplier Associate Member promotions. Just select the ‘Classifieds’ tab on our website for more information or go to

SIBA will be hosting an online version of BeerX UK, continuing our partnership with Kegstar as our BeerX UK Headline Sponsors, and delivering three days' of virtual seminars taking place on the 16th-18th March 2021. We'll be offering the same great speaker content, workshops, seminars, tutored drinkalong tastings and keynote speeches, but all delivered via an online portal which we'll be unveiling in coming weeks.

BOTTLES | CANS | CASKS | KEGS Issue 3 December 2019


PRACTICAL GUIDE TO LABELLING & MORE As part of SIBA’s ongoing Delivering for Brewers initiative we have launched various new business tools, guides and opportunities for members. Our comprehensive labelling guide is currently undergoing an update (this will be Version 4 due to come out!) which advises on what is and isn’t needed on your bottle, can, cask and keg labels – including allergen advice, ABV, alcohol consumption advice and much more. This guide and all future ‘Delivering for Brewers’ items are free of charge to SIBA Members.

SIBA’s eight regions usually host Regional Meetings throughout the year which allow SIBA members the opportunity to network with other brewers and suppliers, as well as speak to members of the SIBA Senior Management Team regarding anything to do with SIBA Nationally. Due to Coronavirus we are now helping to facilitate these meetings via Zoom. Regional meetings are a great place to network, ask questions and raise any ideas or concerns you may have regarding regional operations, SIBA nationally, or brewing itself.

If you have any questions on any of the above please email | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020




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Meet the regions

Name: Ewen Gordon, Saltaire Brewery

Name: Roy Allkin

Region: North East

Region: Wales & West

Contact details:

Contact details:

How did you first get into brewing?

How did you first get into brewing?

“Tony Gartland was the founder of the brewery and whilst on a holiday to the UK from Melbourne where I was living and working at the time, he offered me a job after I helped out for a few weeks. Having had a background in sales and hospitality, it was a no brainer. Deal was done over a pint!”

“Like many people I began as an avid homebrewer in my garage. It’s a hobby that has got seriously out of hand!” What do you love most about the industry?

What do you love most about the industry?

“The camaraderie and collaboration. I’ve met so many interesting and knowledgeable people in this industry, that have all been incredibly helpful in helping my brewery improve and grow over the years.”

“The end product is pretty appealing and also the friendly collaborative nature of the industry.”

How long have you been involved with SIBA and why did you join?

How long have you been involved with SIBA and why did you join? “Saltaire has been a member of SIBA for over 10 years. I wanted to get involved to add my experience across the sector and hopefully add value to the current team. I am keen that SIBA is agile and strong for the future in an ever-changing market, and hopefully I bring skill, knowledge and enthusiasm to help moving forward.” What do you see as the most important part of your SIBA role? “Initially to just learn from the current board and in time to be able to assist in the continued progression of the organisation.” Why should Members get involved in SIBA locally? “Because I believe that SIBA offers good representation for breweries of all shapes and sizes. Resources aplenty to help new and existing breweries to thrive in these ever-changing times.” How is your brewery facing the challenges the pandemic has thrown at you this year? “We have learnt to be very agile and responsive to the challenges that are happening at the moment. Making sure that the team is coordinated, supported and informed is key in our opinion to delivering results in these times. Installing a packaging line in 2019 has also helped not only us, but countless other breweries to be able to offer small pack as other sales avenues have disappeared.” What do you see as SIBA’s most important role in 2020? “Making sure that we are offering what is needed to all our members. Reviewing our mission if required to move SIBA to the leading voice for the brewing industry as a whole. The potential is there and we must listen and develop to enable us to realise the opportunity ahead.” What is your favourite beer in your region other than your own? “Too many to choose just one, but the top three would be: Timothy Taylors Landlord, Northern Monk Faith and Roosters Baby Faced Assassin.” Who do you most admire in your local brewing community and why? “Russell Bisset (Northern Monk) and Richard Stenson (Vocation). Leading businesses through rapid growth and development whilst producing outstandingly brilliant and consistent products and brands.”

“I’ve been involved with SIBA since we first decided to launch the brewery. I strongly feel that the industry needs a strong voice, and that there are fights that we can only win if we are providing a united front.” What do you see as the most important part of your SIBA role? “Being a voice for all of our members in Wales & West. I want to ensure that our concerns and issues are heard and listened to, but also that our successes are celebrated.” Why should Members get involved in SIBA locally? “It’s an amazing way to give something back to this industry that we all love. We need members to have a voice, to be active, to drive our industry forward, and the best way we can do that is by having a strong voice locally that then dovetails into a strong voice nationally.” How is your brewery facing the challenges the pandemic has thrown at you this year? “Like many other breweries we have pivoted quickly to small pack. We are lucky that we have our own in-house bottling and canning lines which enabled this. We established a home delivery network, both locally and via post. We also started doing contract brewing and/or packaging work for other breweries needing bottles on cans. This is a service that we have seen grow really quickly as we can work from 600L up to 6000L or more.” What do you see as SIBA’s most important role in 2020? “Working tirelessly to support our members and the industry at large, lobbying governments local, devolved, and national. 2020 has been unprecedented. A global pandemic causing widespread devastation to our industry and the hospitality sector at large, not to mention Brexit and whether or not we will have a deal with the EU and how that will affect those of us that export.” What is your favourite beer in your region other than your own? “I love Brew Monster beers, especially Leviathan IPA.” Who do you most admire in your local brewing community and why? “No single person as such, it’s the local brewing community overall that I find incredibly supportive and dynamic.” | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


The Drinks Trust mental health advice

Supporting You and Your Workforce’s Mental Health Industry charity The Drinks Trust shares some advice and suggestions to brewery workers and managers on supporting themselves and their colleagues’ mental health during these challenging times. The current coronavirus pandemic will affect us all in different ways. While many of us will come through it without lasting adverse effects on our wellbeing and mental health, it’s safe to say that it will have taken its toll on all of us in one way or another. Recent research from the Mental Health Foundation found that 45% of the surveyed population had experienced anxiety, 18% felt afraid, and 15% felt panicked. And for some of us, it will have had a more profound impact. Those with pre-existing mental ill-health, in particular, are at higher risk of psychological harm as a result of the isolation, loss of income, bereavement, worsening housing security, loss of treatment and coping mechanisms and increased levels of work stress for those in frontline jobs, to name but a few. Unsurprisingly, the evidence showed that when the lockdown was eased, it had a significant positive impact on wellbeing. Our hopes were then dashed, when on Saturday 31st October the Prime Minister announced a new lockdown in England, imposing closure on the hospitality industry for a second time in months. Needless to say, a closure of hospitality trickles down to those who work in affiliated sectors, brewing included. In addition to the worry about the pandemic, jobs and financial security have become an increasing source of concern. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the unemployment rate - for June to August - was 4.5%, That is an increase of 0.4% over the previous three months and equated to 1.5 million unemployed. Job security, financial difficulties, health anxiety, bereavement, pre-existing mental ill-health; there are a multitude of challenges facing us, colleagues, family and friends. So, what to do next? The Drinks Trust is here to support the people of the drinks industry and their families, so here is a list of 10 tips on how you can take care of yourself and your people, both at home and at work:


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

The Drinks Trust mental health advice

1) Remind yourself that we are in this together. Obvious, yes, but thankfully it’s not often the whole world has to face a pandemic together, but we are together. Evidence shows that togetherness promotes reassurance. Remember that it’s not only you; everyone shares these concerns and frustrations. Like never before, it’s vital to tell yourself that you are not alone. 2) Encourage colleagues to open up about their worries, in particular as an employer, there’s never been a more critical time to lead by example. By creating a safe working environment, people will be prone to share their feelings and avoid bottling up negative thoughts and worries that in the long term can have a detrimental effect on mental health. 3) If any of your team members are working remotely from home, check on them regularly. As Mind, the mental health charity, recommends, they could be feeling isolated and disconnected, so it’s important to feel part of a team. Have regular check-ins virtually, schedule regular calls and reach out to them unexpectedly occasionally. 4) Be flexible with working parents. Childcare arrangements may have changed in recent months, so be flexible with working parents where you can and provide them with as much information as possible during team meetings, ensuring they have time to plan and to deliver to deadlines. 5) Provide your team with information regarding any wellbeing policies or services you provide and if you don’t have any, direct them to The Drinks Trust website, where they can choose from a variety of wellness services at no cost to themselves or family members. 6) Flexible hours and adherence to contracted work hours should be implemented for the workforce, so no evening and weekend working if at all avoidable. If there is a culture of excessive work hours it’s time to address it; it could be impacting people who feel disinclined to tell you they are struggling, for fear of putting their job at risk. 7) Financial insecurity could be a source of worries. Encourage the staff that might be facing financial difficulties to check their employment and benefits rights from the website.

8) Look after your physical health and encourage your staff to do the same. Organise active lunch breaks; walks, stretching sessions, breathing exercises or anything else that takes you and your team away from screens for a while and promotes physical health. Our physical health has a significant impact on our mental health and wellbeing, and at times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making us feel worse. 9) Work-related stress assessment. A stress risk-assessment is a careful examination of what might cause staff to suffer from work-related stress in the workplace. It allows you to weigh up whether you have done enough or should do more to prevent harm. Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing an assessment and acting on it. Employers can refer to HSE’s Stress Risk Assessment Guides for guidance. 10) Promote The Drinks Trusts’ services. The Trust can support colleagues dealing with mental health difficulties via our 100% confidential mental health helpline, which is free of charge, operated by qualified counsellors 24 hours a day, seven days a week, available by calling 0800 9154610. The helpline also offers an internal referral to over 30 various online CBT courses, each with different themes. By letting your employees know that they could turn to The Drinks Trust for help, you have played an active role in the safeguard of their mental health. As a result of the likely long-term effects the current situation will have on the mental health and wellness of the industry’s workforce, the Trust has launched a wide range of wellness services, aimed at meeting the needs of our colleagues struggling with challenges at this time. These include free talking therapies with Dr Julian, a video therapy service which puts mental healthcare into the hands of the individual. Mindful Drinking courses from our partner Club Soda, the Mindful Drinking Movement, who have helped numerous people to change their approach to alcohol. The Trust also offers Sleep & Insomnia support via a month-long app-based assessment and treatment programme. Users receive a live consultancy from trained sleep and insomnia specialists at Sleepstation, the leading provider of sleep and insomnia treatment to the NHS.

If 10 tips seem a lot, pick one or two that work for you, then consider introducing more. Most people who decide to make active choices to look after their mental wellbeing find themselves doing more in time, so start small and take it from there. Through our wellbeing services, The Drinks Trust is now able to provide members of the UK drinks and hospitality workforce with a bespoke support service to safeguard physical and mental health. To find out more about The Drinks Trust, please visit, or if you are interested in applying for any of our wellness services, visit In 2020, The Drinks Trust, the community organisation for the drinks and hospitality industry, has worked tirelessly to provide help and support to colleagues facing severe financial difficulties and wellbeing challenges. Since the beginning of March, The Drinks Trust has awarded over 2,500 emergency financial grants and in 2020 will have helped over 4,000 people in substantial financial hardship or struggling with wellbeing, a 400% increase on 2019. Before you go, here is a complimentary tip, we may say it to ourselves often, but perhaps we don’t listen as much as we should… 11) Be kind to yourself. These are unprecedented times, everyone is doing their best to get through this, so let’s all take a moment to remember that we deserve a bit of self-love, not now-and-then, but nowand-always.

If you or someone you know is in need, don’t hesitate, contact The Drinks Trust 0800 9154610 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Guest Columnist: Natalya Watson

The importance of education Beer Sommelier, and Advanced Cicerone® Natalya Watson has made a career out of educating people about beer, but despite being a focus for the industry for decades, she still feels the standard of education in the world of beer has room for improvement…

“As a beer educator, I’ve learned that the simple question 'What does this beer taste like?' can be a rather tough one to answer. Including for many of us in the industry. I’ll come right out and say it: 'malty' and 'hoppy' don’t cut it. While brewers might know what’s being suggested by these descriptors, it’s important to remember that most consumers don’t actually know what malt or hops are, so these terms aren’t all that helpful. Which is why beer education is so important. But it doesn’t have to start with beer’s ingredients. We can all do our part to bring beer’s flavours to life, simply by using the right language. Speak the language of flavour Instead of vague words like 'malty' or 'hoppy', use language that describes the aroma and flavour contribution from your malt, yeast or hops – whichever ingredient or combination of ingredients is driving the beer’s overall flavour. All consumers will respond to flavour descriptors, because we all eat, drink and experience different flavours on a daily basis. For example, malt flavours often tie in nicely to baked goods, from bread dough, to digestive biscuit. Hops range from herbal, to hedgerow, to fruit salad favourites. Yeast’s esters can be as specific as banana foam sweets, while its phenols, black pepper and clove, are straight off the spice rack. Simply by featuring familiar flavours in our descriptions, we can make beer much more welcoming, without any knowledge of what it’s made from or how it’s made. While terms like 'malt-forward' or 'hopforward' can let better-informed drinkers know to expect more sweetness or bitterness in the balance, this information should complement your flavour descriptors, not replace them.

Put it on pack So where do those words go? Every product has enough space on pack to let consumers know not only what style has been brewed, but what flavours they might find inside. It shocks me that some breweries still only provide the basics: an ingredient and allergen declaration. Don’t miss the opportunity to use descriptive flavour language to bring your beers to life. This could be the information that encourages the sale of your product over one that leaves the drinker with no idea what to expect. To take this one step further, why not list the ingredients used – specifics on your choice of malt, hops and yeast – so consumers can start to learn not only what styles and flavours they enjoy, but the ingredients contributing that character. Be mindful that this isn’t a substitution for those everyday flavour descriptors, though. You may think by saying you use Citra hops you’re being clear about what flavours are found in your beer, but that presumes a level of knowledge that your consumer may not yet have. By using descriptors that are too industry specific, we may be unintentionally excluding customers. Use flavour as your foundation, then build with information about ingredients and process. The online opportunity It’s best to include a flavour description on pack, so consumers can make an informed decision at the point of purchase or reference the beer’s description while drinking it. But as more and more beers are being purchased online these days, think of your social media and website as a product extension. There’s much more room there to go into detail on your ingredients, process, brand ethos or the story behind the beer’s name, in addition to the flavours found.

To connect directly with your drinkers, try hosting an online beer tasting or brewery tour. Not only are events like these an opportunity to discuss your beers and what makes each unique, you can also take the time to educate your consumers on beer’s four main ingredients or show them around the brewery while discussing how beer’s made. I often find that as drinkers start to discover flavours they enjoy in beer, they become intrigued to find out their sources. So events like these are a natural next step. Educating yourself Looking to improve your own beer flavour vocabulary? I highly recommend Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer, Garrett Oliver’s The Brewmaster’s Table and the Cicerone Certification Program’s 'Tasting Together' series on YouTube. I’ve also got some helpful resources on my website: At any level within the industry, we can all use our everyday flavour experiences to become better beer tasters. And better beer educators, too.” Natalya Watson is a beer educator, Beer Sommelier, and Advanced Cicerone® passionate about sharing her knowledge of beer with others because she believes that beer is simply too delicious to remain undiscovered. She's the founder of Virtual Beer School, host of the 'Beer with Nat' podcast, and author of Beer: Taste the Evolution in 50 Styles. Follow her on social @beerwithnat or find out more at | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Big Interview: Paul Jones

The Big Interview Paul Jones, Co-Founder and MD, Cloudwater

Altruism is not perhaps the most common catalyst for launching a successful business in a capitalist society, but it was the desire to create something that brought a community together through its shared values that drove Paul Jones to found Cloudwater Brew Co. Having initially developed an interest in artisanal coffee, Paul found himself drawn to the same idea of community he found in the craft beer scene. At the centre of the new beer scene emerging in Manchester in the mid 2010s was a group of enthusiasts who sought out the new wave of hoppy beers and congregated around the beer shrines of the time – bars such as Port Street Beer House. Paul was very much a part of this scene and began to imagine that with his creative and retail background he could bring something fresh and new to the market, and capture the imagination of this growing community of inquisitive experience seekers. This idea led him eventually to James Campbell, then looking to move on from Marble, who brought with him


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

the years of professional brewing experience the project needed, and Cloudwater was launched in 2015 with a UK tour that reflected the experience Paul wanted to become synonymous with the brand. Key to Cloudwater’s success over the following five years has been a drive to constantly innovate, and an ethos drawn from Paul’s emphasis on community. The business is still routed firmly in this idea of improving and investing in the society around it. It is very much known for its creative collaborations, many of which highlight societal themes such as diversity, and Paul has this year launched a new incubator project called Wayfinder to help small beer businesses grow and succeed by giving them a cash injection and providing a three month programme of mentoring and skills sharing. Independent Brewer’s Caroline Nodder caught up with Paul in mid-November to hear more about the founding principles behind Cloudwater and his hopes for the future…

Big Interview: Paul Jones

How and when did you first become interested in brewing? “My background is a mix of creative and retail. So throughout most of my life I have worked either somewhere in a creative role or in a customer-facing retail role. And I had a wonderful few years being part of a team and then managing that team and operating a small café in Manchester that was essentially making everything from scratch each day. So we baked our own bread, we made all of our dishes from whole natural ingredients, and that was the first time in my life that I had done something that brought together all the things I cared about. Giving people something wholesome that they really believed in. It’s called Earth Café and it is in the basement of the Manchester Buddhist Centre, so for us work was our spiritual practice and we approached everything we were doing in the spirit of being truthful and facing reality and trying to be our whole authentic selves. You could sit down in a pub or at a festival or in a taproom and find yourself with a lot in common with a lot of the crowd. That undoubtedly for me was the start of me wanting to make work that felt like that what I did for the rest of my life. Then my partner at the time spent a year and a half in Canada and weirdly got introduced to more European beer in that year and a half in Canada that I had come across in the previous 10 years I had lived in Manchester. So I came back to Manchester with a real love of speciality coffee as well as new beer flavours. And through an interest in doing something that brings together the creative and the technical in a customer-facing way I was dabbling in coffee, and I ended up at the national barista championships. The after party for the whole championship was held at a molecular cocktail bar called Pearl. And no one was talking about the cocktails and no one was talking about coffee any more, they were all talking about the IPA that was being served there. It was Kernel’s IPA Citra. After that weekend, I would travel down to London quite regularly and be going to the CAMRA festivals up here

and I developed more of an interest in what modern British beer was. I started to feel like there was something in beer at that time that felt a bit like what coffee felt like. The café I used to run was fairtrade, it was vegan, organic, Buddhist, so it had a particular client base that really needed us to be there. They couldn’t get well fed and well looked after anywhere else. And I really felt like the communities around the small breweries that were emerging were really wholesome, and you could sit down in a pub or at a festival or in a taproom and find yourself with a lot in common with a lot of the crowd. That was the thing more than anything else that drew me in to beer.” When did you found Cloudwater and what were your aspirations for the business? “Over time I felt like the scene was really hungry for good experiences and hungry for something new in the scene here in Manchester. Manchester from my point of view is one of the most interesting brewing cities in the whole of the UK, because we have still got a tighter group of family brewers than just about anywhere else in the country. And we have had phenomenal breweries like West Coast, and then Pictish and Marble and a whole load of other long standing players who brought nothing but really interesting experiences to me. It felt like so much was possible and I thought I should try to take this further, and see if I can add my retail head and customer service experience together with a group of people who have got some brewing experience and see if we can make something work. Ultimately that led to conversations with Al, a good friend of mine who was home brewing, and another friend Will who used to be the general manager at Port Street and was brewing at Summer Wine. Eventually I got talking to James Campbell who was starting to think about doing something that wasn’t Marble. It very quickly got to a point where we decided we should make something happen, and that led to about a year of research to find out what equipment we needed to arm us with the most versatility, what sort of size brewery we should try and set up that we wouldn’t reach the limit of in a year or two. And before we knew it we had the keys to a warehouse and had to start turning it into a brewery. We got the site 7th of November 2014 and we had been working round my kitchen table for two months before then trying to get utility permissions, and engineering drawings and drawing plans and all the rest of it. By the time we got the keys our fermenters had already landed in Southampton from San Diego, and we were facing a lot of pressure to get them out of port storage before we faced a load of charges. So we got the keys on the Friday and by Monday the fermenters dropped, then it was just a really full few months. We were not on a tight budget, it was really important for me to know we were going to put good money in to the kit and arm ourselves with something reliable. We’d seen too many other breweries start up on essentially some kind of low five figure investment and then struggle for years and not be able to make the scale to climb out of that. When you are dealing with a five or 10 barrel kit, that was definitely the ‘humble’ thing to do, so we got labelled as arrogant by some very cynical people. I was pulling my hair out, thinking ‘well I have got 15 years’ worth of experience with James Campbell who is essentially moving from the same size kit and you want me to downgrade him just so we are being more humble??’. Continued on page 31 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Big Interview: Paul Jones

It was so weird, but that was the norm and I guess people felt anything other than the norm was threatening or strange. It was February 14th 2014 we brewed our first batch of beer. We launched with a six night back-to-back national tour – we went to Edinburgh, we went to Bristol, Newcastle, obviously Manchester, London – and we had a session IPA, a pale ale, an IPA, an imperial stout and that’s what we rolled out with. Certainly in those days the appetite was very much there for those beer styles so we stuck with hoppy beer as our focus because we absolutely loved hoppy beer. We made the unusual move of not having a core range, we kept the styles fresh, changed up the recipes between batches, and I can’t tell you how many times people told us we were stupid and we were going to fail. But I knew they were speaking about what worked yesterday rather than what was working for customers at that time. My first objective was to make beers that would cause people to stick around in town after work – what can we do that is attractive enough to make people want to get together with a load of other enthusiasts and enjoy some beer?” How has the business grown since you launched? “It is unprecedented what we have managed to achieve in the space of time we have managed to do it in. Garner attention, and deliver. All I am ever trying to do is delight people. I am trying to make sure when people drink our beer they genuinely have an uplifting, wholesome experience, they feel great, they feel excited, they feel energised. And I think that these past five years have just been about keeping a solid focus on that. Every time we have hit the goals we have set in the past we have just raised them. Now what is happening is that some of our work is less visible than it was back in 2016 when there were not a lot of people doing anything like what we are doing, but we are still here working hard with more attention to detail than we ever have. We are an industry that makes things to help people relax but we were plunged into a situation with lack of support, lack of guidance and lack of strategy. These past five years have been a really really good start but I take nothing for granted. Having had a strong start and done a whole load of things that have helped change people’s attitudes to what British beer can be and what it should be I don’t think any of that gives us permission to relax. What I have seen the world over is that when people take their foot off the gas and rely on the bright ideas they had last year or three or four years ago they eventually get a bit dusty, certainly in the eyes of the consumer. I am trying to make sure we never lose our originality and our focus to keep on pushing forward. Six years ago I wrote a list of what we wanted to achieve, and we have done the vast majority of it. Our focus

on the consumer experience was arresting to a lot of then industry at the time. The prevailing rhetoric was that if you were a brewer you make beers that you want to drink. No one should be making something they hate, but why don’t we work to find the overlap between what we like to brew and drink ourselves and what customers want to experience? Consumer appetite is to be harnessed, not to be mocked.” What has been your experience of the challenges in 2020 so far? “My wife is a paediatric radiologist and she works for part of her week in intensive care with premature babies and babies with a range of congenital disorders and the rest of the time she is treating children of all sorts of ages with lots of different things going on. But I was actually ahead of her worries about Coronavirus, she thought I was a little bit overly concerned back in the end of February, beginning of March. So we were taking things extremely seriously in house. Definitely doing so with a sense that it looked really deadly, we were seeing people my age and younger drop dead, and I was thinking if we didn’t put in place some changes to the business that kept us physically safe we might have a truly awful year. Early statements I made to the business were that I didn’t care if we made any money this year, obviously we couldn’t afford to drain our bank balance to nothing and scrape through with no cashflow because that would be impossible, but I wanted us all to be healthy and alive at the end of the year and still be in business. So we made all our decisions off the back of that. It is very obvious to say, but the immense stress individuals found themselves under just worrying about what was happening and how their health might be affected, we have a team of 45 people here and we really felt that stress as a very small management team. We were extremely stressed out trying to do the right thing but at the same time trying to stay calm and focussed. We made quite drastic changes to how we did business. We have been a brewery, unlike some of our younger peers, that has always been very draught heavy. First year 96% to 97% of beer went to trade, in 2019 we dipped to a low of 93%, so we were very exposed with a lot of money piled up in our creditor books. It has been just constantly frustrating, annoying, anxiety-inducing and stressful. Looking around the industry and seeing those same stresses in the eyes of every person we have spoken to this year is just hard. We are an industry that makes things to help people relax but we were plunged into a situation with lack of support, lack of guidance and lack of strategy from the Government, and cycles of uncertainty that have also rubbed off onto consumers. Some of those stresses we feel as an industry have been felt by our consumer base and I am not a fan of that kind of stuff being in public because customers come to us with a strong need to relax and I want us to deliver that. Then on top of all of that we had the Small Breweries’ Relief Coalition which was never going to land well and that just felt like extra pressure.” Continued on page 33 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Big Interview: Paul Jones

Do you see the sector as a whole changing permanently post-Covid? “I doubt it actually. I think what Covid has done is made people think of ways they can reach customers and they don’t maybe have to be as local focussed. If you are in small pack there is no reason why that can’t be up and down the country and why that shouldn’t be up and down the country. A lot of people’s eyes have probably been opened up to that.” Will the current review of SBR impact Cloudwater, and what is your opinion on the proposals? “It doesn’t sit easy with me and a lot of my peers that this duty review is happening this year. The craft and modern end of British brewing had been making a lot of effort to court traditional family brewers and we and many other breweries like us have been promoting brands without really wanting anything more than for them to be there and be successful. I think one of the things that is probably going to come out of this is that there are a lot of brewers and a lot of consumers who have found the actions of this Coalition deeply problematic and I think that is probably something that isn’t going to work in their favour. The fact that the public and beer writers and brewers felt that the review was a bit of a kick in the teeth in a very difficult year and to be proposing changes without accurate consultation from the other side of the industry that is going to be directly affected by it I think is not going to do some of the traditional brewers any favours. Meanwhile, the supermarkets are slammed selling macro beers. I am in this industry to see that we live a good life doing something positive that feels like it’s making a wholesome contribution to people’s lives. It is absurd to me that these long standing companies haven’t embraced what is happening around them and showcased new gins and new wave British wines and local craft brewers making products that they don’t make anyway. The fact there is no collective effort to stand against the kick-backs and tap buy ins and all the other nefarious activity that go along with Heineken or InBev’s standard practice. What has happened this summer is that there has been a boom in beer sales in cans and a lot of that is just supermarkets selling massive brands. It is sad to me when we have tried to be responsible for as many businesses around us as we can – Squawk and Runaway and Mobberley and Pictish and Track and Pomona Island - they didn’t have their own web shops so we were bringing their beers in, and taking 10%, which having looked at the handling costs doesn’t actually cover our costs although it gets close. We have done our bit this year to show support to businesses around us that needed it, whereas the opposite is true of what we feel a lot of the traditional family brewers have done instead of looking at who we are and whether we can work together against all the cash that has been injected to trying to cut us off effectively. I am in this industry to see that

we live a good life doing something positive that feels like it’s making a wholesome contribution to people’s lives. And I am doing that within an industry that is filled with a lot of businesses that are as well-meaning as we are, as lovely as our crew is, and it is going to be heart-breaking to see businesses curtailed by a lower threshold that is almost like imposing a defunding restriction on small breweries. I don’t see how that is going to further anyone’s efforts towards innovation or new product development. It might make people more cautious. It is certainly going to make a lot of people very nervous. I do not care for gaining more profit at the cost of newer, younger breweries that are having a harder time, that to me is immoral.” Tell me the background to your Equality and Equity Policy and Better Futures initiative. “We have essentially codified this year three things that we have cared about from day one. We have made something explicit to ourselves and our customers about how we will be doing business. We have always donated a lot of money, our festival is not for profit, we have made beers every year that have put money towards charities, we just donate to charities anyway as part of our business, and I am working towards a sense of Cloudwater in the next five years being explicit about what its values are. Because ultimately we are probably going to progress towards being an employee-owned company and I am probably going to look to buy the employees in or sell my shareholding through some sort of mechanism that allows the employees to benefit from ownership in some tangible way. We are working towards making the sort of things we were doing explicit and saying 10% of our profits each year will definitely go towards funding projects or initiatives that will make a difference to the city around us and the people around us. Laying that out there codifies the work that has been happening already but without the organisational structure and very strongly firmly stated goal that there is an exact amount to get to each year. I am the only shareholder of the business and I am not looking to squeeze it for profit, I am thrilled that our money goes towards good initiatives and we pay our staff really, really well and we are enjoying our lives as a result. That is far more fulfilling than looking to squeeze every penny out of it. With our equality and inclusivity practices we are making sure that when we hire it is clear we are an antiassimilation company. I think it is a complete nonsense to bring someone into the company and require that they match your existing culture, that they just become a part of the workforce and just another operator. It is far better to be changed by your incoming staff, their perspectives, their life experiences, their hopes, their dreams, their fears, have to become yours not the other way round. So we talk a lot in the company about the ‘headwinds’, the societal difficulties and pressures people face, and by doing so we give ourselves a change internally to make sure we are not perpetuating any suffering that society levies out to people based on their gender or sexuality or beliefs or skin colour. That is very important to us.” Continued on page 35 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Big Interview: Paul Jones

What is the Wayfinder project? “I am not a capitalist, I believe we should replace capitalism with something that is better for the human race and the animal kingdom and the planet itself. So I don’t care about m making money for money’s sake. But what I do care about is that we have an opportunity to make money to fund good things. Right now we have got Lily Waite from the Queer Brewing Project doing some filming at the brewery. She is our first Wayfinder, which is a three-month residence where we work with someone to help realise their vision, by employing our skills and sharing our experiences and our platform and resources. We are working with Lily to make sure that Queer Brewing steps up from being an intermittently active brewing project to a standing on its own two feet business with a regular output next year to help it grow into something really meaningful and visible to the tens of thousands of people who are somewhere in that LGBTQ community. Lily is up two days a week, and I work with her and coach her and get her to lean in to me with all the things that are freaking her out and get her to see the enormity of this project. There isn’t a brand properly centred around the queer community, there isn’t a beer brand that is trying to make proper queer spaces where people can be themselves exist. I see that as extremely valuable. We put up £10K for each Wayfinder project and they can propose how they want to spend it, if they want to spend it on wages because they have been underfunded elsewhere that’s fine, if they want us to spend it on a community effort that is fine by me, we essentially put together something that works for each Wayfinder. But the more valuable thing we are giving Lily is the people she is spending time with and the ways we are skilling her up which is way more important than the money.” How can small brewers like yourself effectively compete with the big global players? “I think every time small brewers capture the imagination of the consumer base in any shape or form that is meaningly changing the future of beer. The short-term chances of kicking a Heineken tap off a local pub bar is going to take some doing but we have got to believe in the long-term impact of our work and of being in front of people with

values that they can measure. Small breweries that are working in ways that are supportive and delightful to their communities can definitely rely on that having some effect over time. The other thing is that we are all too busy running our breweries to come together to lobby on some of these national issues and for SIBA the visibility James Calder has as someone listening and picking up the phone and trying to understand the issues for all brewers not just those who are members of SIBA is going to bear fruit too. One of the biggest changes we could make to British brewing that could happen quite quickly is for traditional brewers to sever ties with global brands and start to support the local businesses around them.” What is coming up for Cloudwater in 2021? “Basic stuff like commissioning a new canning line, because we are almost at the limit of what we can do. We are hoping to try and repeat all the successes we have had from this year with the beers that we have made and the way we have engaged with our consumers with virtual events. Hopefully the world will start opening up and we will start to get our taprooms up and running and engage with our consumers again. I’d love us to secure a new taproom site next year. We are trying to take advantage of some more of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan facilities that are being offered. Up until this point we have been very cautious funding growth through loans but we definitely see another taproom on the horizon and also ultimately a lot of our work from here on out is going to be directed by what we end up doing with our Wayfinder project. Even though we will be seeing Lily off at the end of this year and bringing someone else in, we are not going to in January suddenly not somehow pick up the phone and see what she is up to and how we can help in any way. We are also contract brewing for Rock Leopard and also Echo so our efforts to make black owned businesses and businesses owned by people of colour in this country more visible will continue. We have got a platform and people listen to what we say so you can expect those really positive disruptions to continue from us.” | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Desk Beers

SIBA Desk Beers!

Play Brew Co Los Bandito

Over the course of countless SIBA regional events, competitions and beer shows like BeerX UK we feel privileged to be introduced to such a wide selection of inspirational ales and to meet some of the brewers behind them. So we certainly weren’t going to let 2020 deny us the beers we love, and we were so impressed to see SIBA brewers back in March change their business model almost overnight to allow us, and people just like us, to buy a wide range of genuine independent UK craft beers online. Like people across the UK we’ve taken full advantage of this new route to market and have enjoyed various members’ beers over the course of the last few months. Below you’ll find just a small selection of SIBA Staff favourites.

Rooster's One Trick Pony

(DDH Pale, 5.3% ABV)

(Sour, 4.1% ABV)

Picked by Jenna, SIBA’s Operations Administrator

Picked by Rachel, SIBA’s Head of Operations

"I got to try this beer as part of SIBA"s Digital Beer Awards and loved it - really juicy, with loads of fruit, but a nice bitter finish. The brewery's also not too far away from me which is nice - hi guys! "

"Rooster's are just up the road from SIBA HQ and this rose-lemonade tea infused sour is a proper staff favourite. I also want to say a big congratulations to Oliver for being nominated for the Brit Beer Writers Brewer of the year award - very welldeserved! "

The Kernel Export India Porter

Love Lane Brewing Baltic Haze v3

(Porter, 6.0% ABV)

Picked by Neil, SIBA’s Head of Comms & Marketing "All of the Kernel beers are so well-made and tasty but for me their Export India Porter is unbeatable this time of year. Deep, rich and toasty, with a really great balance of hop bitterness, molasses and dark chocolate. I love it."


Being part of the SIBA Team, we are more spoilt than most people by the selection of beers from small independent craft brewers we get to try during an average working year.

Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

(NEIPA, 6.2% ABV)

Picked by Barry, SIBA’s Head of Public Affairs & Policy "I'm a bit biased as I helped out on the original brew of this beer for SIBA's 40th Anniversary in March, but really think this has gone from strength to strength. Massive tropical aromas and a soft, stone-fruit flavour, this is a bang on style NEIPA and well worth a try."

Desk Beers Hambleton Ales Ginger Ninja (Ginger Ale, 4.2% ABV)

Picked by Sara, SIBA’s Company Secretary "The fresh ginger in this makes it really zingy and warming, but it's not overly bitter and the Ginger isn't over the top. It's just a really great Golden Ale and best on cask but also great in bottles if you can find it."

Thornbridge Salted Caramel Lucaria

(Icecream Porter, 4.5% ABV) Picked by Louise, SIBA’s Operations Administrator "I really like the mix of sweet caramel and chocolate with a bit of salt you get in this beer. I've admittedly got a bit of a sweet tooth but this beer is actually really well-balanced, and a great dark beer for the festive season."

Ride Brew Co Mojito Sour Fyne Ales Beams

(Saison, 5.7% ABV) Picked by James, SIBA’s Chief Executive “This was my beer of BeerX earlier in the year and having bought a case shortly after I’ve been dipping in for a bottle every few weeks - it never fails to impress. Complex of course, but also just incredibly tasty!”

(Sour, 6% ABV)

Picked by Elle, SIBA’s Operations Assistant "The Ride Brew Co London Dry Gin we had on the SIBA bar at BeerX was amazing and my beer of the event, but they don't make it anymore, so instead I've picked this new one based on a Mojito cocktail - The lime and mint works so well!"

Cloudwater Night on the Files

(DIPA, 8% ABV)

Elgoods Coolship Mango (Sour, 5% ABV)

Picked by Bex, SIBA’s Financial Controller "I love all of the Elgoods fruit beers but I think the Mango Coolship is probably my favourite. It is just so refreshing and because the Coolship beer is quite tart the fruity mango just works really well."

Picked by Caroline, Editor of SIBA Independent Brewer “At 8% this is one to savour after closing up your laptop for the day, but I had to give it a special mention because not only is it a fabulous and complex beer, the can blurb* made my husband giggle for about an hour after I treated him to a Cloudwater mixed selection box for his birthday during lockdown.” *In case you’re wondering, this is what the can has to say: “Shut your work off for the day – sign out, close it all down, and scrap any plans you had for a night on the files – instead, savour this DIPA, and imagine how amazingly ridiculous the world would be if all dogs had painted nails.” | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Business profile: Abbeydale Brewery Brewer Jim Rangerley amongst the barrel-aging programme in the "Funk Dungeon" ©Mark Newton Photography

Abbeydale Brewery Sheffield’s Abbeydale Brewery was established in the mid-1990s at the start of what would be a revolution in the world of independent craft beer in the UK. The brewery was the brainchild of Patrick Morton, who set it up with his father and runs it still today alongside his wife Sue. The brewery has expanded substantially since its inception in one unit of an industrial site in the Abbeydale area of the city, taking over a number of neighbouring units to become something of a force locally, and an important investor in its local community which is key to the ethos of the business. Another focus at Abbeydale is the importance the business places on training and developing its people, and many of Abbeydale’s brewing alumni have gone on to develop their careers at


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

other well-known independent breweries around the UK. The success of this staff development programme is in no small part due to Abbeydale’s flair for experimentation and the confidence it shows in allowing its brewing team to constantly create new beers, not just through the Brewers Emporium brand but also in the aptly named Funk Dungeon - a highly acclaimed barrel-aging programme sited in what looks like an actual dungeon at the brewery. Independent Brewer’s Editor Caroline Nodder spoke to Abbeydale’s Sales Director Dan Baxter, who himself has been with the business over 13 years, to find out more about the history of the brewery, and how it balances its cask roots with this newer funkier side…

Business profile: Abbeydale Brewery Brewery Basics

Name: Abbeydale Brewery Founded: 1996 Location: Antiques Quarter, Sheffield Owner: Patrick and Sue Morton Capacity: 500hl Brewing team: 7 brewers Staff: 25 in total Key beers: Moonshine Pale Ale (4.3% ABV), Deception New Zealand Pale Ale (4.1% ABV), Absolution Strong Golden Ale (5.3% ABV), Daily Bread Traditional Bitter (3.8% ABV) and Black Mass Dark Ale (6.66% ABV). Also produce the American Emporium range led by Heathen American Pale Ale (4.1% ABV). Current Production(hl) and split (cask, keg, small pack): 19,000hl in 2019 (Pre-Covid: 80% cask, 17% keg, 3% small pack)

How did you come to launch Abbeydale Brewery and how has the business developed since then? “The owner Pat Morton, who was originally an engineer by trade, was a keen homebrewer and he began working at Kelham Island Brewery in Sheffield. After working there for a few years he decided to set up on his own with his Dad. He bought a unit around the Abbeydale area of Sheffield and just took it from there. Since I have been here, which is 13 years or so, we have achieved double digit growth every year and that has happened pretty much organically. When Pat started it was all cask. He had a fondness for pale and American hopped beers, and he and his wife Sue particularly detest crystal malt which you’d find in a lot of traditional brown British bitters. So pretty much all of the seasonal specials we make were predominantly pale, or stouts – nothing in between. But we had a really good opportunity to experiment with all these new hops that are on the market and because we have been going for so long we have really good relationships now with our suppliers. So we get access to some really good ingredients. The change has been certainly over the last seven or eight years. We have Moonshine, which is 50% of our production, and so we have such a solid cask ale, bread and butter really of our business, that it allowed us to experiment and dabble in the craft beer market. So we invested in some kegs and some brite beer tanks and we started sending out chilled, dry-hopped carbonated beer. We experimented with a whole series of pale ales, we numbered them one to eight, and pale ale number six was the one that provided us with the best feedback. That was a mosaichopped pale ale which is now our Heathen as it is today, one of our best-selling keg and canned beers.”

What is your brewing ethos? “Our company values are to do business the right way, to look after our staff and to work in our community, with a real focus on staff training and development. We have a lot of friends within other breweries now, we do a lot of collaborations with other breweries, and about four years ago we did a beer called Four Degrees of Separation. It was a collaboration with Siren, Northern Monk and Magic Rock, which was a big hit. It was a lovely dry hopped IPA, but it was the story behind it which was most special. The brewers behind it were all exbrewers of ours - because we train and develop people we always part on amicable terms which is how we have friends all over the industry.”

What do you do differently at Abbeydale? “I would say quality and consistency, and experimentation as well. We don’t take ourselves too seriously in terms of our brand and how we

operate. And we have a very strict ‘no quibble’ policy with our customer service, if someone doesn’t like our beer for whatever reason we will just credit them or replace it – there is no point having an argument. We like to think we have quite a keen sense of identity and independence and another thing that sets us apart is our freetrade market. We have put so much effort into growing and trying to keep our market share of the freetrade. We are not chasing supermarkets, we are not chasing Wetherspoons, we are not trying to be in that low margin kind of area, so the freetrade market means a lot to us. We have 800 freetrade customers on our database, ranging from little newsagents and corner shops like those we have been targeting since lockdown, to any kind of pub or other independent outlet. We are one of the few breweries that has managed to remain true to our heartland with our cask beer, but also managed to keep moving with the new trends. We make a new beer every week – we specifically like to target the beer drinker who goes to a pub and likes to find something new every week, whilst also targeting those people who go to a pub because they like to drink a certain beer and they know that beer will always be on. So up to about four years ago as the Sales Director I would always say to the brewers ‘please produce me this type of beer, this is what consumers want right now’. But four years ago we launched our Brewers Emporium range which basically turned that on its head. Our brewers are now briefed to brew the best beer they can, under the new Brewers Emporium craft branding, and I go out and sell it. The first one we did was a Rocky Road stout, we’ve done sours, some dry-hopped IPAs and they all just few out like hot cakes.”

Tell us more about your Funk Dungeon project which has been very highly acclaimed. “It’s led by our brewer Jim Rangeley, and it grew by stealth really! Jim is a big fan or sour beer in all its forms and this is inspired by the beers he likes to drink. He took a couple of casks and diverted them into a barrel and brought it to us and said he had been working on it at home. He asked us what we thought of it. We were all just blown away by it, so he asked if he might have an area in this sort of ‘dungeon’ area the brewery where no one goes, and he did his first kettle sour. Then as a previous incarnation to the Brewers Emporium range which were a range of staff signature beers – staff got the opportunity to brew their own signature beer with a pump clip with their signature on. Jim’s was a mango Berliner Weisse, which sold very very well. So Funk Dungeon has been going officially for about four years now.” Continued on page 41 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Business profile: Abbeydale Brewery image ©Mark Newton Photography

Dan Baxter , Sales Director

Describe your business as it was at the start of 2020. “At the start of 2020 we were selling upwards of 250 barrels a week. We had contracts with various pub companies, distributed through the likes of Heineken and Trade Team for example, which was in growth. And on the keg side in July 2019 we had launched our lager, Heresy (4.5% ABV), which was also in growth. Our Brewers Emporium specials in keg were also growing and with our cans we had started packaging in cans three years ago using a contract canning company who came to the brewery. That’s where we were.”

How has the last nine months seen your business change and how are you continuing to adapt to the challenges? “Back in March it was just surreal. It was like we were all in a dream or in a film! First it was rugby and football events being cancelled, and it was only the week after we had all been at BeerX UK in Liverpool so we were all raring to go and ready to crack on with all the leads we had in our pocket and no one was able to do anything with them. Customers were unsure, they were worried about ordering. It was very surreal. Then Boris decided to shut the pubs, and he did an announcement about lockdown the following Monday and we all came to work on the Tuesday not really knowing if we were legally allowed to operate. We ended up taking advantage of furlough quite quickly, and we convened an Abbeydale board ‘Cobra’ meeting quite rapidly and decided what we were going to do. I suggested we blow the dust off some mini kegs we had and start filling them from some cask beer we had already packaged in our cold store and get them out on our online shop. They sold out in a day. So we had to quickly scramble for some more mini kegs and our little online shop went from taking maybe six orders a week to 600 orders a week. The website would

crash occasionally and we had some teething troubles but we were able to respond really quite quickly looking back on it. All our staff here rallied behind it and we started selling cans and mini kegs to the public. We tried to book the mobile canning company in for as many slots as we could, and we obviously stopped brewing as much, we brewed the occasional batch of Moonshine to keep our yeast going. We used to brew seven days a week and two or three of those days depending on trade levels we were double brewing, so when lockdown hit we were brewing twice a week maybe. When pubs closed we felt like we were backed into a corner really, with larger breweries and pubcos offering full credits to all their customers which set a precedent across the board and that really frustrated me and my sales team here.” I suggested we blow the dust off some mini kegs we had and start filling them from some cask beer we had already packaged in our cold store and get them out on our online shop.

Has the second lockdown affected you differently to the first? “Before the second lockdown happened we had three weeks of inconsistency. The Government was making changes every week. We went into Tier 2 where pubs could still operate and then into Tier 3, so we tried to plan as much as we could, and we knew we had to prepare for a second lockdown being different to the first one, which it is. On my way to work traffic now is almost what it was before, whereas during the first lockdown I’d barely pass a single car. Our discussion now is around remaining poised and fleet of foot for whatever happens next.”

Longer term how do you think the pandemic will affect the small brewing community in the UK overall? “Well we have had to shut one of our pubs for good. We used to have two pubs and the one still standing is the Rising Sun, but the other pub the Devonshire Cat in the city centre we have had to close. I think inevitably we have seen a lot of brewers large and small slowing down and ceasing production and that will impact on pubs and pub companies, so we will have to wait and see what happens after we come out of this. But pubs and other local independent businesses have shown some real innovation to make their businesses work which is good and hopefully that innovation will continue.”

Have you noticed any changes to how consumers are approaching craft beer during lockdown? “Consumers probably have shown more of a willingness to try something new. For example, a pub local to us couldn’t get their delivery from Coors one week so they said to us they wished they could buy a lager. So I said that we have a lager, and they gave it a go, and it was all they were selling throughout lockdown which was really nice. So we have had feedback from trade customers too saying that people are willing to try something new.” Continued on page 43 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Business profile: Abbeydale Brewery

image ©Mark Newton Photography

What Government support have you received as a business so far? “Through the first lockdown staff were asked what they would want to do and at the time there were a lot of people concerned about shielding and the severity of Coronavirus, which is obviously still a very major concern, but at the time people had very limited experience of it. So quite a few of the staff wanted to shield or stay at home and do their part not only for the economy but for our business as well and we gave them updates when they were off on furlough. This time round we have decided to take a different approach and because were all geared up and ready to take advantage of the JSS scheme which didn’t happen we had already started working on rotas for reduced hours so we managed to implement that plan but under the flexible furlough scheme instead.”

Is the Government doing enough to support businesses like yours, if not then what more could be done? “I am very much of the opinion that it is not necessarily the manufacturers and the suppliers to the manufacturers that need the extra support. The further up the chain the Government can take it – which would be helping the punter to be able to buy the product they want to buy – once that is resolved, pubs will start turning their lights on again and opening their doors and employing people again, and they will start ordering stock again, and then we will start brewing again, and then as soon as we start brewing again the more barley and hops we will buy. So this affects the whole chain from top to bottom if the Government just support the top.”

What have you been doing to support your local community during the pandemic? “The first week of lockdown I made a plea to our board that I wanted to be very careful selling to the public as it could be seen as treading on our customers’ toes, just in terms of local bottle shops and pubs that couldn’t operate. So I suggested a £10 pay it forward

credit scheme so for every order over £40, that member of the public could nominate the venue of their choice which could claim it back from us once things start to get back to normal. So we have ended up with about £2,500 of credits for our customers to take when they want to take it.”

What is your view of the proposed changes to SBR? Will they directly affect your business? “One of the problems with this is the lack of details where the devil always lurks. As we understand at present the changes may actually stand to benefit our business slightly, and it seems the intention is to remove the artificial barrier at 60 barrels a week which means many brewers choose not to expand beyond that. But we stand by the small independent breweries of the UK and we need to be sure they continue to get the full benefit of Small Breweries’ Relief. We believe that is absolutely critical to the progression and enhancement of the diverse brewing landscape that we are lucky to be a part of. Without SBR we would never have been able to fund the investment we needed to grow in the early days. We have been able to climb the ladder and we have no desire whatsoever to pull it up behind us.”

Are there any positives you have taken from your experience over the last nine months? “Absolutely. For the first time we have had a very real opportunity to sell directly to our end user and to chat to them. This has helped us the build relationships which has been really positive and helped us engage with the community spirit. We have heard from people not just from around Sheffield but all around the country and it has been quite humbling to receive the nice feedback we have been getting and the support which otherwise we wouldn’t get from speaking to the bar manager to place the order each week. And obviously it’s nice to hear the positive feedback but also the negative feedback is the stuff you really need to pay attention to, and the stuff you need to work on. You can’t put a price on that.”

What are you proudest of during your time at Abbeydale? “The first time we put one of our beers in can was really exciting. I don’t think Pat and I slept the night before we were so excited about what we were going to do! And Moonshine winning National Bronze in the Champion Beer of Britain competition in 2018, as it is our flagship beer and with us for 24 years it was really nice to see it getting recognised at that level. But ultimately I was just blown away by all our staff here and how we all came together when the pandemic started and we all went into lockdown people were taking on jobs they weren’t necessarily employed to do, and everyone has really had a ‘going above and beyond work till the job is done’ ethic. I am just very proud of the staff, not just at the brewery but across both of our pubs this year.”

What is your all time favourite beer? “One of my favourite beers, we actually had to take the decision to discontinue it! It is called Brimstone and it is an American brown which formed part of our core range which we retired about six or seven years ago. But we are going to be bringing it back for our 25th birthday celebrations next year so I am quite looking forward to that!”

Who do you most admire in the craft beer market at the moment and why? “We did some tours of America and visited some craft brewers over there and the experience I brought back with me from that has changed me. There was a little brewery next to some railway tracks called Wedge Brewing Company and they are in Asheville in North Carolina. They created a real experience where the sights and smells and sounds and the company you were with were just as important as the beer in your glass and it is something since I have come back that I have tried to emulate here at Abbeydale.” | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Brewer's viewpoint: Jamie Delap

Covid-19 –

a Scottish brewer’s perspective… Jamie Delap is the Managing Director of Fyne Ales, based in Argyll, and also an Elected Director for SIBA’s Scottish Region. Here he offers his own personal view on a year of turmoil in the Scottish market… “I’d like to say I remember well what the period between BeerX UK and the first announcement that pubs were going to shut felt like, but to be honest it seems like another lifetime. The day that lockdown was announced and we had to tell our team that one way or another we would look after them, but before furlough was announced, not knowing how, is definitely engraved in the memory. Lockdown 1.0 viewed from a glen in the highlands of Scotland had an added aura of unreality. We’re normally quite isolated, but the hills were still there, the cattle and deer still needed feeding, but with the brewery silent, no customers in the brewery tap and the team mostly isolating at home it felt really isolated for a while. Thankfully many of our fantastic customers moved to buying online, and our skeleton team was pushed to the limit packing orders so the days went quickly. Then as we moved into a phased easing of lockdown, we saw Scotland take a more measured approach to relaxing the rules, which meant Scottish pubs, when they were eventually allowed to open, were a couple of weeks behind England. Once we were through this phase there was a feeling of national relief as people cautiously headed out. In those heady days of July and August, the pubs in town centres were open and many seemed to be trading better, given the restrictions, than we expected. At the same time if felt like there wasn’t a parking space in the highlands that hadn’t been turned into an impromptu campsite, and it was great to see friends in campervans coming up to the brewery. The world was different, but it was cautiously optimistic. It’s worth noting that all the way through this, Nicola Sturgeon’s government in Edinburgh appeared to take a more cautious, and empathetic, approach than Westminster. Whatever one’s feelings about the rights

or wrongs of Scottish independence they enjoyed an extra level of trust and support over that given to Westminster, which still endures. This has to be very much down to style (just listen to the First Minister’s briefings followed by Prime Minister’s questions if you want to see the difference), but also it is undoubtedly easier to create a sense of ‘we are all in it together’ in a smaller country. As a small brewery owner in Scotland, and representative of SIBA, I was pleasantly surprised to be invited onto three Zoom calls with Scottish cabinet ministers, where they asked intelligent questions, appeared to understand our issues, explained what they could and couldn’t do and then took at least some actions, where they could, to support us and our customers. All the way through this, the one bright light has been our customers, who have continued to find ways to buy our beers There is no doubt though that as the halcyon days of Summer gave way to the dreich, wet days of Autumn and the second surge began, the optimism vanished. What feels like endless days of cold wet rain, has encompassed an ever-rising tide of restrictions. For better or worse the Scottish Government stayed closer to the SAGE advice and we went into tighter restrictions sooner than England. This put the industry into a strange half-life with some pubs open, but heavily restricted or even banned from selling beer, while other elements of life went on – just with none of the good bits, or so it seems at times.

As I write this, we are in a tiered system in Scotland, but as a brewery the reality is that the vast majority of our customers are closed and uncertain if they will be open again until March. In Argyll, pubs are allowed to open to serve alcohol with a main meal, but with all travel from Edinburgh and Glasgow banned, the reality is there are very few customers. There are signs of progress in the case numbers – at least if you squint hard looking at the charts – and we still hope that we may see pubs being allowed to be more open for at least a couple of weeks in December, but the reality looks like we are just at the beginning of this long dark winter. As a team we are trying to take the opportunity this time gives us to improve our processes, step up our maintenance, and be ready for whatever shape the world is in when we come out, eyes blinking, in the Spring. All the way through this, the one bright light has been our customers, who have continued to find ways to buy our beers – be it online, through independent retailers, pubs where they can or supermarkets when that works for them. Our brewing schedule has been a fraction of its normal levels – but it’s been great to reach out to customers however we can, and social media really has helped, to keep them and us connected. That, and regular Zoom sessions with beer, laughs, and other brewer friends going through the same roller-coaster of a journey have helped us to stay sane. To all our amazing customers and friends in the pubs and the industry, keep the faith – 2021 is going to be great – or at least a heck of a lot better than 2020.” Slainte. Jamie | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Business profile: Utopian Brewing

Utopian Brewing Were it not for the unwanted interference of an over-zealous local council, Utopian Brewing as it is now may well never have been founded. In the same way that William Morris, the father of the Arts and Crafts movement and the inspiration for both the name and the ethos behind Utopian Brewing, had a vision for a better society, Richard Archer had a vision for an artisan brewing operation which upheld the values Morris championed. His plan initially was to take on an empty restaurant site adjacent to the riverside pub he was then operating, the William Morris next to an old watermill in Colliers Wood in South London, and turn it into a taproom with a modest brewing facility installed in the pub building. Merton Borough Council had other ideas and planning was denied, but as one door closed another one opened, and Richard subsequently met brewer Jeremy Swainson who was working at Camden Town and was looking for his next opportunity.


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

As an experienced lager specialist, Jeremy had what was then quite a rare skillset, and Richard knew there was a major opportunity in the craft lager market – the idea for Utopian was born. But far from needing a modest conventional brewery site, to specialise in lager meant finding somewhere for all those tanks, so in 2018 Richard settled on a rural farm site in Devon where Jeremy had the space to practice his craft and the brewery had room to grow. Since then Utopian has been a leading light in the revolution of craft lagers in the UK, a champion for the 100% British ingredients it uses, and has set about educating the UK’s beer drinkers that lager is not just about one style. Caroline Nodder, Independent Brewer’s Editor, hopped on a Zoom with Richard and Jeremy to find out more…

Business profile: Utopian Brewing Brewery Basics

Name: Utopian Brewing Founded: 2017 (first brew February 2019) Location: Nr Crediton, Devon Owners: Richard Archer and Steve Cox, with around 250 crowdfunding investors Capacity: 16,000hl (7,000hl with current tank capacity) Brewing team: 3 (2 brewers and 1 technical brewer) Staff: 9 in total Key beers: Premium British Lager (4.7% ABV), British Pilsner (4.4% ABV), British Unfiltered Lager (4.7% ABV), Vienna Keller Lager (4.8% ABV) and Dark Lager (5.4% ABV) Current Production(hl) and split (cask, keg, small pack): 1,300hl (2,300hl including contract brewing) Pre-Covid – 90% keg, 10% small pack

How did you come to launch Utopian and how has the business developed since then? Richard: “I formed the business with Steve Cox, who has pubs and bars predominantly in London and the South East, and I have worked with Steve on and off in the pub business for 25 years, brewing is not really my background. So that’s where it all started from really, in the pub business. Like most pub operators you always look at the opportunities for vertical integration and it always seemed like a logical progression, it just took us a really long time to get round to it. The catalyst for it was that we had a pub site in Merton, the William Morris, and the lease was about to run out and the pub needed work anyway. So next to the pub was an Italian restaurant site that had been empty for a long time so the plan was to convert the William Morris into the brewery and covert the restaurant into the taproom. But Merton Council didn’t think it was such a good idea so in the end we didn’t end up starting the brewery in Merton, and looking back the space would have been too small, and we would have had to have had another unit somewhere else and be transferring beer between the sites so it wouldn’t have been as good as where we are now. So Steve and I did a crowdfunding round, and we have about 250 investors through that, which is a lot of friends and family and then some other individual investors. I have a lot of family round here so we chose the site in Devon which has a lot of space not only because you need a lot of space for lager but also because we wanted something we could grow into. The plan from the beginning was to have a brewery with scale. Utopian beer, everything is lager, and it was always our intention that our core range was all lager. The plan was always to have a core range of beers that would be

predominantly targeted into the traditional pubs and bars market, not specifically targeted into the craft market. And then a range of specials and collaborations that would keep the brewery fresh and interesting for not just the customers but also for the brewery team. So we could experiment and brew more experimental and less common styles. The intention was to start with keg, the biggest way to get to scale was to go into the on-trade on draught so that was pretty obvious. Then at the same time we had always had a plan to do small pack as well in the business model, and we also do a lot of contract brewing, so we experimented a bit with contract canning and mobile canning but that wasn’t a great experience for us. So we made the decision to add a canning line into the core operation and had that installed in November (2019). So we had the ability to do our own canning and were also doing that for other people as well, notably Yeastie Boys, which meant in March we were in a good position to switch to small pack quite quickly.” Everything will spend four weeks in tank as a minimum and we never deviate from those standards because we know that drives the quality.

What is your brewing ethos? Richard: “The William Morris is where the name Utopian comes from though. We love William Morris and the whole Arts and Craft movement – they were the forerunners of upcycling and into making work places a great place to work and in his book News from Nowhere he talks about a Utopian society. So the quote on our cans, ‘If others can see it as I have seen it, it may be called a vision rather than a dream’, is actually a quote from that book. We try and take a lot of inspiration for what we do from that, in terms of sustainability and so forth. Quality and consistency sits right at the top for us. Nothing goes out unless it is of a quality we are satisfied with and everything will spend four weeks in tank as a minimum and we never deviate from those standards because we know that drives the quality. Then consistency is really important too, so we are in a world where we are trying to get in to more traditional pubs and bars where you are on a permanent keg line – that is quite important to us – and if you are on a permanent line then people expect the beer to be the same when it comes out of that tap. We talk about sustainability but that should really be part of everyone’s business plan now, but it is something that drives what we do and it is important to us. We made the decision to use 100% British ingredients in all of our core beers. The driver for that was around sustainability and food miles – you don’t need to ship ingredients all around the world.” Continued on page 49 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Business profile: Utopian Brewing

Why did you decide to focus on lager? Richard: “I am not a brewer, I have never been a brewer, so my experience of beer is having beer in pubs. So the reason for lager, firstly was that it was really hard to find a decent one. We tried in the pubs to get some of the more international brands and imported lagers and we had Krusovice in tank for a while which was tinkered in from the Czech Republic, and we had Spatan which was imported, but we could see there was a space there. In other areas like IPAs it was massively congested so to try and get into that part of the market and really differentiate ourselves would be quite difficult. From a business point of view there were some really good reasons to do lager – 75% of the beer drunk in the UK is lager – and there were not a lot of people doing it. The lager segment had almost been bypassed by the whole craft beer revolution, and there are some technical reasons for that, but the other thing is, and this is where Jeremy’s hire was so important for us and has been so good for us, it is really hard to make great lager – there is just nowhere to hide! We were willing to take those challenges on and that gave us that differentiator.” Jeremy: “I came directly from Camden Town Brewery in London, I worked there for a couple of years and helped them to open their new brewery in Enfield, and before that I had spent four years in Germany. I did a three year brewing apprenticeship at a brewery called Bolten and then my brew masters in Munich at the

Doemans Academy before making the jump into the UK to go and work for Camden. I never really had a set pan to brew lagers long term, it just sort of happened. I was in Germany and came to the UK to brew craft beer and ended up at Camden, a big lager brewery, and when I heard about Richard wanting to open up an all-lager brewery hear I was like ‘Yeah, totally, ok!’” Jeremy: “I would probably sum it up by saying that we aim to brew authentic, accessible European-inspired lagers using 100% British-grown ingredients. And in the brewhouse our ethos is all about process and examining every part of that process to tweak and make minor adjustments that continues to drive the quality of the product and the consistency.”

What were the main challenges in launching a lager-only brewery? Jeremy: “A lot of the breweries our size use very similar brewhouses, and a lot of them are designed specifically for the main craft brewing market. So there were some challenges initially in working out how to do certain processes. Something like decoction mashing we really wanted to do, and the brewhouse wasn’t set up for that initially so we had to make some tweaks and get a bit creative. Apart from that the raw materials threw up some challenges – the malted barley in this country is typically malted for single infusion mashing, so the British mashing system, so because we were definitely going to use 100% British raw materials there were some challenges in finding malted barley for the process we

were using. That is something we have been working on and improving the whole time over the last couple of years.”

How have you seen the lager category in the UK evolve in recent years? Jeremy: “I have definitely noticed more smaller breweries are now producing better lagers. There are a lot of craft beer drinkers who enjoyed the IPAs and hazy IPAs now getting turned on to lager which I think can only be good for our segment. Small breweries like Bohem and Braybrooke are trying to do lager right rather than make a lager in an ale brewery. I see a lot of positive change. There are more styles of lager being brewed now than there were before so consumers are more aware a lager isn’t just gold bland and fizzy, it means a lot more. There can be dark lagers, red lagers, hoppy lagers as well as your Foster’s. There are definitely a lot of positive developments within the lager community, although one thing I do think is still an issue is a lot of ale breweries having a token lager, which quite often isn’t even actually brewed with lager yeast. I think that does a disservice to our segment but we just hope through more awareness, and as brewers learn more about lager brewing in this country the beers will improve and customers will have more choice.” Continued on page 51 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Business profile: Utopian Brewing Describe your business as it was at the start of 2020 and how it has changed since? Richard: “We had done pretty well in the South West which I think it quite typical of most start-up breweries – if you have a good local community and get into the local market, and if your product is decent and reasonably priced they will give you a chance. We were very happy with how we’d established in this part of the world and were about where we wanted to be. We underestimated how bad January would be – it is very seasonal here and in Steve’s pubs in London it was Dry January so trade died a death there too. But we were picking up very nicely again and February/March was starting to look quite good. We knew that the next phase for us was spring-boarding off our South West base, particularly into the South East and home counties. Then nightmare city hit. But sometimes when you get these disasters you need to treat them as a bit of an infection point, look at them as a bump in the road you need to adapt to. Try and find opportunities out of it. And you often come out the other side stronger. I think that was certainly true in the first lockdown. The contract brewing was certainly useful to have, so that helped. But we then set about looking at what we needed to do to get our beer out there, and we had a canning line, so we got some cans, bought a labelling machine on eBay for £300 and my kitchen turning into a labelling unit for quite a long time. We sent a load of beer to the beer writers and bloggers who maybe hadn’t tried it before, and that worked great for us, people talked about our beer and we got a lot of chatter on social media which was fantastic. So our online shop worked well, we picked up some retail customers on the back of that, and we were busy. Coming out the other side we were better than when we went in. We got better at contract brewing, and we built small pack business which we hope to hold on to even when the keg business comes back. Then pubs and bars started opening and more people knew about us. By the time we got to September we were probably doing double what we had done in September 2019 which was fantastic. We had expanded the team and that growth was putting a lot of pressure on our tanks capacity so we had to get some more tanks ordered. So once we get through this we are now set up hopefully to grow again.”

You were one of the big winners in SIBA’s first ever Digital Beer Awards and also at BeerX in March How did you find the process and what did the wins mean to you? Richard: “The most important thing with awards like that is that they are fantastic recognition for the guys who brew the beer, it is not really about me. It is recognition for Jeremy and his team. I don’t think we ever set out to win competitions, but then you win one and you think ‘maybe we should do some more?’ because it is lovely getting recognition for the

Jeremy Swainson

brewery. I thought the way the digital awards were operated and organised was fantastic, and it was great to do them at that time. Everyone was ready for something that was positive so I was over the moon and delighted for Jeremy and the team. And Beer X, we were up there, and it was special because it was our first ever award and it was for the unfiltered version of our first ever beer.” Jeremy: “In a way we live in a bit of a bubble here, we are on a farm in the middle of Devon and we don’t even have a taproom here at the moment, and we don’t get a huge amount of interaction with the beer community as a whole. So to be recognised nationally for the beers we brew is really refreshing and helps to motivate the team. It is so great to hear that the work the guys are doing in the brewery is not going unnoticed.” To be recognised nationally for the beers we brew is really refreshing and helps to motivate the team.

How important is sustainability to your business and how have you incorporated sustainable initiatives into your plans? Richard: “Some things we did in the design phase, and one of the bigger ones was to do with nitrogen. Jeremy was looking at that as he had done something similar before, and we put in a nitrogen generator so that we could

generate our own nitrogen on site which massively reduces our CO2 usage. And it is a really good example of sustainability being a thread that should run through a business, because not only does it reduce the need for CO2 to be moved around in heavy steel cylinders, it also saves us money. To put that equipment in was something like £14K but it will pay for itself in no time. A number of things you can do that help in terms of your carbon footprint and sustainable credentials will also save you money. People shouldn’t be afraid of these things which often make commercial sense as well. We also do some other things which make logical sense – we don’t use any single use plastic in our packaging, our spent grain goes to the local farm, we put a heat exchanger in our brewhouse. And then there are some things we need to do in the next phase – so a big problem for us down here is waste water. We don’t have mains drainage so we have to tanker it away and we have always had a plan for a bio treatment plant to naturally treat our water and put it straight back into the natural water courses. We also have a plan for solar energy with panels on the roof, and it is very windy down here so we would look at wind power too. Another thing we have done more recently was finding somewhere to recycle our malt bags which is pretty rare. We just want to look at everything and make sure if there is something we can do to make us more sustainable then we do it.” Continued on page 53 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020



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Business profile: Utopian Brewing

Richard Archer

What have you been doing to support your local community during the pandemic? Richard: “When we went into lockdown Jeremy and the team were really keen as we were doing ok to try and do something and give something back to the community. So we looked at options to do that, and there was a lot of high profile stuff going on then, and we didn’t just want to jump in and be doing the same thing. So we set up a relationship with something called the Devon Community Foundation, which is an aggregator for charitable funding, there are quite a few of them around the country, and they give back to local community projects. They cover everything from local scout groups to disabled transport, and all sorts of people with a variety of needs get support. So with our Rainbock which won the strong beer category at the SIBA Digital Beer Awards we donated £1 for every can sold to fund. That raised around £2,500 and we raised some additional money from cartons we sent out so we raised a reasonable amount for their Coronavirus fund.”

Do you think the pandemic has changed consumer attitudes to craft beer? Richard: “I think it has definitely changed consumer attitudes to local. To local producers and provenance. People have talked about that for a long time but I think that lockdown period massively crystalised that and reinforced that, and it has had a positive effect on breweries.”

What is your view of the proposed changes to SBR? Will they directly affect your business? Richard: “The industry is fixated with this issue right now, but I am not sure I am 100% behind everyone in how they are looking at it. Duty is a massive issue for our industry and SBR is a really good thing at the moment, we get a great advantage at the smaller end of the

segment which is there for good reasons to grow that segment and help people get started. But SBR aside, and knowing the way brewers and distribution works into the pub sector from the pub side, the most difficult time would be around 4,000hl until 10-15,000hl because as you grow you have to go into wholesale distribution so you lose margin, you are going further afield so people don’t give you the price premium for being local, so all those things are pushing on your margin to a greater extent in my opinion than the change in duty relief. For me, I think there is a massive need to flatten the curve, there has to be a transition from 50% to 100% but to help that business you need the growth curve to be flattened. But at the same time there are people saying to flatten that curve and not affect people below 5,000hl the Government needs to put more into the system and I think that is a really difficult argument to be making at this time. We are looking to grow. And for me, if I had to choose I would take a bit more pain in the 2,500hl to 5,000hl in order to get a better flattening of the curve in the 5,000hl to 15,000hl. If you can get both then fantastic but somewhere there has probably got to be some compromise.”

so as far as brewing is concerned 2021 will be about strengthening our relationships with our suppliers. We are one step closer to having malt made to specification for us which is a beer quality decision – it will cost us more money but the vast majority of decisions we make in the brewery are based on quality rather than efficiency or ease or price point. We have also assembled a good team now so next year we need to ensure they are all getting the support they need and are continuing to grow.”

What plans do you have for Utopian for 2021?

What is your all-time favourite beer?

Richard: “Largely we will be majority on-trade in keg with four or five core beers – we had three this year. We have a lower ABV beer we are really happy with and our Ten Degrees beer we want to have a big push with. We want to fully break out of the South West and then continue with what we learnt though the online shop which was that people like variety, and mixed boxes. So getting a good range through our specials and collaborations is really important to us.” Jeremy: “This year we went from two core beers and maybe two specials in our first year to putting out 10 beers this year, a couple of those being collabs. So we are going in to next year with a really solid range of beers, significantly more so than we were last year

What are you proudest of during your time at Utopian? Richard: “Recruiting Jeremy. I think the skillset match to what we needed was fantastic but also the personality match in terms of the ethos across the team as well. Getting someone like that into the team in that critical position, I could not have done better than Jeremy.” Jeremy: “We have got a small team here but the brewing team is fantastic and just seeing how motivated they are when they come into work and how dedicated they are to the beers they are making and how dedicated to making them better, that’s definitely what I am most proud of here.” Richard: “For me, who you are with a where you are are as important as the beer you are drinking. I tend to rate that side of the experience more than particularly looking out for specific beers. But one of the best experiences I have had and one of the best beers I have ever drunk was when we went to Brau last year and we went on a study tour to Bamberg and had an A U in the brewery there – when you get the experience with a beer it is hard to beat.” Jeremy: “It switches constantly for me, I never have a favourite beer but I have beers I drink regularly. There is a brewery called Moenchsambach near Bamberg and pretty much anything from them is an incredible experience to drink.” | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020




SIBA Business Awards 2021 The SIBA Business Awards 2021 will now include two new categories highlighting the extraordinary resilience shown by the beer and brewing industry in the face of Covid lockdown and social distancing measures. The new categories are for Covid Brewery Initiative and Covid Supplier Initiative and seek to reward those businesses making the best of a very tough situation for independent breweries, pubs, bars and bottle shops, and the communities they support.

SIBA Business Awards 2021 to highlight brewers and suppliers that ‘adapt and overcome’ pressures of Covid

The SIBA Business Awards celebrate excellence in the brewing industry across a variety of categories, from pump clip, can and bottle design, to efforts taken by brewers to make their business more eco-friendly, innovative or successful, as well as naming the UK’s best bars, restaurants and retailers of craft beer from independent breweries. The award for UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Taproom will also return in 2021 following its successful introduction last year. SIBA has also listened to feedback from independent beer retailers and member breweries and for 2021 we have updated the criteria for the UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer categories, with the awards now only open to independent businesses and the multiple retailer category having an upper cap of 10 locations. “2020 has been an incredibly tough year for independent breweries but what has been hugely impressive has been the ability of businesses to adapt and overcome the pressures of Covid, and the many obstacles that have been thrown at them. We are acknowledging this changing environment with the introduction of two new categories specifically relating to Coronavirus, but I equally look forward to seeing the entries across our other categories as lots of amazing work has flown under the radar this year. The independent brewing industry may be under attack on many fronts, but so many breweries are proving they can meet any challenge put in their way, and these awards seek to highlight and reward those businesses.” Neil Walker, SIBA Business Awards Chair of Judges

2020 Brewery of the Year - North Brew Co.

SIBA Business Awards 2021: Award Categories

2020 Best Marketing Implementation - Boss Brewing

Why not celebrate the amazing efforts you and your team have put in this year by entering the SIBA Business Awards 2021?


Covid Brewery Initiative Award


Covid Supplier Initiative Award


Marketing Implementation


Green Business


Best Concept Design

The presentation of the SIBA Business Awards 20201 will take place online during BeerX UK which is going digital for 2021.


Business Innovation

The UK’s favourite craft beer trade event


UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer – Multiple


UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer – Single

l Best Individual Design Brick Brewery

Best Total Concept Design: 3 Peaks Challenge Collaboration will take place from March 16th to 18th l Commercial Achievement


UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Restaurant


UK’s Best Independent Craft Brewery Taproom


UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub – City


UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub – Rural


Supplier Associate of the year (Brewer nominated)


SIBA Brewery Business of the Year (Judge awarded)

2021 and we are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Kegstar as our BeerX UK Headline Sponsor. As well as hosting the SIBA Business Awards during the show we will be offering the same great speaker content, workshops and seminars, plus tutored drink-along tastings and a virtual keynote speech, all delivered via an online portal which we'll be unveiling in coming weeks.

2020 Best Concept Design - Brick Brewery

Find full category criteria turn to pages 56-57 in this issue. The closing date for entries to the SIBA Business Awards is January 31st 2021. Enter online today at: | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


SIBA Business Awards 2021 2020 Best Individual Design -West Berkshire Brewery

SIBA Business Awards 2021: Category Criteria Covid Brewery Initiative Award – NEW Whether it is engaging with their local community in a meaningful and supportive way, or launching a new service or product which became a runaway success, this broad category is open to any brewery who has launched an initiative, service, or strategy which has proved a success during Covid. This award seeks to highlight those businesses making the best of a very tough situation for independent breweries, pubs, bars and bottleshops, and the communities they support. Covid Supplier Initiative Award – NEW This award is for entry by SIBA Supplier Associate members who have shown a commitment to supporting the independent craft brewery customers they work with, developing new ways to engage with the wider brewing community, or shown an ability to adapt to tough trading conditions. Whether it’s a new training and development initiative, or a scheme to support breweries who are struggling under Covid, this award is for supplier companies who have shown real commitment to supporting the independent craft brewing industry during Covid.

Marketing Implementation For all aspects of effective marketing and communication strategy, including general or specific campaigns, promotions, PR, social media activity, product launches etc.

Multiple entries from a brewery are welcome, but should be entered separately and any entries which contain a range of designs within a ‘concept’ or ‘brand’ should be entered into the Total Concept Design Category below.

Entries must stand out from the crowd for marketing initiative, effective communication, a PR opportunity seized, or imagination and creativity deployed in the increasingly competitive virtual world of social networking.

Best Concept Design For the design concept behind a range of beers from a brewery, or a brewery’s entire branding and design strategy.

Green Business For taking the ethics of environmental awareness and responsible business operation way beyond the norm, with either a single innovative initiative or a holistic strategy for sustainability. Entries must show how measures implemented in the brewery, such as production processes, energy economies, recycling and packaging, are minimising environmental impact to the benefit of both brewery and community. Best Individual Design For a single design of bottle, can or pump clip that clearly stands out, gains point-of-sale market advantage and ultimately drives the purchase of a brewery product. Strong traditional designs are welcome, but entries are also sought for contemporary and original artwork that puts a brewery’s beers at the forefront of the evolution of point-of-sale as an essential marketing tool.


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Entries must provide details of all aspects of the design concept and how it creates a distinct market identity, setting the brand apart in an intensely competitive field. Business Innovation For breweries that have shown true innovation in their business. This could be anything from a bold export operation getting beer in to the hands of new consumers or an internal innovation which has improved efficiency or profitability. This broad category should be entered by any brewery who believe they have done something innovative within the industry. Commercial Achievement The commercial achievement award should be entered by breweries that have experienced commercial success in one or all areas of their business. Whether it is a brewery starting from scratch or an established brewer expanding their reach, the commercial achievement award aims to highlight the most business savvy from our industry.

SIBA Business Awards 2021 2020 Green Business - Purity Brewing Co.

2020 Best Independent Craft Brewer Taproom - Salt Beer Factory 2020 UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Restauraunt - Curry Leaf Cafe

2020 Business Innovation - North Brewing Co.

UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer – Multiple For independent retailers selling beer from multiple locations. Entrants can be specialist craft beer shops, or businesses which have recently shown a commitment to promoting independent craft beer, but must be an independent business with fewer than 10 outlets. UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer – Single For independent retailers selling beer from a single location. Entrants can be specialist craft beer shops, or businesses which have recently shown a commitment to promoting independent craft beer, but must be an independent business trading from a single location. UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub – City For pubs or bars which have shown an extraordinary commitment to serving the best quality and range of independent craft beers (including cask, keg, bottle or can). This award is specifically for pubs or bars located in urban, city, town centre, or suburban locations across the UK.

UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub – Rural For pubs or bars which have shown an extraordinary commitment to serving the best quality and range of independent craft beers (including cask, keg, bottle or can). This award is specifically for pubs or bars located in rural, village, or isolated locations across the UK. UK’s Best Independent Craft Brewery Taproom For Taprooms which are located within, or in very close proximity to, working independent craft breweries. Judges will be looking for an extraordinary commitment to serving the best quality and range of independent craft beers (including cask, keg, bottles or cans) in a welcoming and attractive environment. This award is specifically for Brewery Taprooms and not for ‘Brewery Tap’ pubs or off-site ‘Taprooms’ not located within or near to the owner brewery. If you are a brewery with an off-site Taproom or Brewery Tap pub then you can enter this into the relevant Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub category. UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Restaurant For restaurants, bistros and gastropubs whose primary business is food but who have shown an extraordinary commitment to serving the best quality and range of independent craft beers. This award is for outlets throughout the UK.

Lifetime Achievement Award This award celebrates an individual who has, over the course of a number of years, made an outstanding contribution to SIBA, at either national or regional level, or to the UK brewing industry in general. Candidates need not be members of SIBA and may be nominated by members & non-members alike. Supplier Associate of the Year This award seeks to highlight the UK’s best SIBA Supplier Associate and is SIBA Brewing Member nominated. From brewing ingredient suppliers and brewery fabricators, to business consultants and agencies, The Supplier Associate of the Year is a company which has shown a real understanding of brewery needs and actively supported independent craft brewing businesses throughout the year. SIBA Brewery Business of the Year No Criteria for this documented. It is the judges decision of what is the best from all of the entries they have received at the judging.

Enter online today at: | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Business advice: Legal Malcolm Ireland

Jamie Allison

Q&A: Connected Party Rules In this article, Malcolm Ireland and Jamie Allison, both Partners at Napthens, consider the implication for any brewing business considering a merger or acquisition in the current market and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how the ‘connected party’ rules affect them… Q: If I am in business with others in the brewing sector, what should I be wary of?

If a brewery does not comply with these rules, it loses the right to pay the reduced level of beer duty.

The brewing sector has recently been perceived as an attractive home for investors. In the current economic climate we are likely to see an increase in merger and acquisition activity due to possible business distress or increased capital requirements and fundraises for aiding expansion or diversification. Many business owners will be contemplating sourcing alternative routes to funding and finding new investors, and brewery owners may wish to join forces with other breweries.

If two breweries are regarded as ‘connected’, they are in effect treated as one brewery for the purpose of these rules and so may lose the right to pay less beer duty. This applies even if, individually, the two breweries production volumes are below the small brewery thresholds.

A: Whatever the transaction proposed, businesses need to be aware of the position on ‘connected parties’.

In consequence, the regulations make it clear that SBR is restricted or potentially eliminated altogether if breweries are deemed to be ‘connected’ because their ownership is held to be by connected parties as defined by the 2010 Corporation Tax Act.

With the Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR) in mind, clarification of the definition of ‘control’ could be very important for the preservation of small breweries and those they employ. To recap on the principles of beer duty rates: Although a small brewery may pay reduced rates of beer duty, the conditions that it must satisfy to do this are: 1. Less than 60,000 hectolitres of beer should have been produced in the previous calendar year in your brewery and any connected brewery 2. Less than half of the beer produced in the brewery in the last calendar year may have been produced under licence; and 3. It must be reasonably estimated that in the current calendar year no more than 60,000 hectolitres of beer will be produced

The idea of the rules in relation to this is to prevent a larger brewery breaking its brewing operations down to smaller component parts to obtain the lower duty rates.

Unfortunately, the definition of ‘connected parties’ is complex due to both the legislation and established case law and their respective interpretation.

Each situation is therefore very subjective and can depend not just on shareholding control, but on the terms of any Loan Capital, the wording of the Articles of Association and other factors. Many breweries would like to merge but feel that they cannot do so because of their own interpretation of how SBR works. As a result, there could be many sub-optimal and distressed businesses operating at present and this runs entirely against the Government’s objective to promote and support productivity and to support the brewing sector. Different interpretations could arguably be giving market advantage to some brewers over others and adding to ‘duty distortion’ in the sector. As each person’s or business’ circumstances are different it is very important that those who are contemplating any merger or acquisition activity - or even seemingly minor investments - take appropriate professional advice before committing to any transaction.

For advice on this topic or on legal issues affecting your business, please contact SIBA Legal Helpline on 0845 6710277 North West Law firm LLP is a SIBA supplier associated and Gold Standard Sponsor. The firm has a team of specialists looking after legal requirements of clients in the leisure and licenced trade sector, with clients including Daniel Thwaites Plc and Titanic Brewery. Napthens manage the SIBA Legal Helpline which offers legal advice and guidance on a wide range of legal issues affecting your business, including: General commercial, intellectual property, corporate finance, dispute resolution and litigation, commercial property, licensing, debt recovery, employment law and HSE advice including investigations and prosecutions. Any enquiry through the helpline will receive up to 1 hour of free legal expertise (if further work is required, you’ll be advised of the appropriate charging structure). Full details of the helpline can be found on the SIBA Members Toolbox. | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020




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Business advice: Consumer insight

A thirst for something different Katy Moses, the MD at insight specialist KAM Media, has been monitoring the changing habits of beer drinkers since the first lockdown in March and has noticed some trends which should be of interest to small brewers…

In the eyes of the hospitality and brewing industry, 2020 has been an absolute rollercoaster. In the eyes of a researcher who studies changing consumer trends and behaviour (that’s me), 2020 has been one of the most fascinating, fast moving and often surprising years we’ve ever seen. Way back during the first lockdown KAM carried out some research in partnership with Brew//LDN; we had a strong suspicion that beer drinkers had changed their habits during lockdown and wanted to ensure the beer industry had the right insights and knowledge to react. But the extent to which these beer enthusiasts – people who already really “know their beers” – have been switching things up was more surprising than we imagined. We’ve been tracking this new breed of “beer enthusiast” as lockdown lifts and sets in again. For the purpose of the research the respondents are defined as “beer enthusiasts”, ie those who regularly consume beer and enjoy beer as a hobby as well as just a drink. 1. They’re actively seeking new beer experiences Beer enthusiasts are more open to trying new and different beers than ever, with 91% having tried a beer that they’d never consumed before in the last two months alone (between lockdowns.) Like many things in 2020, this level of trialling new brands is unprecedented and will, without a doubt, impact the beer industry long term. Firstly, brand loyalty is likely to be seriously affected with brands having to work harder to keep consumers coming back for more. Secondly, it opens up an exciting opportunity for new and lesser known brands to become part of a “beer enthusiasts” growing repertoire.

2. They’re changing where they source their beer The first lockdown saw a surge in support for local tap rooms and breweries as the traditional routes to market were closed to consumers. During that time, 79% said they were increasingly interested in supporting local breweries and 31% purchased more direct from physical breweries and tap rooms. This is definitely one trend which looks to be sticking with an impressive 54% of beer enthusiasts having purchased from a tap room or brewery in September/October i.e. between lockdowns.

catch up with friends’ (i.e. social Zoom call), 40% while watching sports on TV and 35% say they have consumed beer in a park during the last two months. Understanding these increasingly diverse drinking occasions will be critical to brands and operators in both the on and off trade. Understanding when, where and why these consumers are drinking different brands impacts everything from pack size to pricing and promotions.

This change will only lead to a more discerning and demanding beer consumer. It will ultimately impact where they source their beers from in the longer term.

This new breed of beer enthusiasts is definitely one to watch. Without a doubt 2020 has given the beer enthusiast an opportunity to take stock and evaluate their traditional, ingrained behaviours. They are more curious and adventurous when it comes to how they interact with the category.

The beer enthusiasts are also, unsurprisingly, keen to support pubs and bars with 88% saying they had purchased beer from a pub or bar in the 8 weeks before second lockdown. Indeed only 78% had purchased beer from a physical supermarket in that time.

The first lockdown sparked an interest in beer enthusiasts wanting to search out unique and interesting beers and to support local breweries. This latest research suggests that the thirst for “something different” isn’t going away any time soon!

3. New drinking occasions have emerged The study also showed that a much higher proportion of ‘beer enthusiasts’ are now drinking nearly daily compared with preMarch lockdown when only 5% said they drank more than 6 days a week. This figure rose to 19% during the first lockdown and in the last two months has only fallen back to 16%. But no need for a moral panic heremany are generally only drinking 1 or 2 beers a day!

The research is the first in a series of reports focussed on tracking the behaviour of UK ‘beer enthusiasts’, a collaboration between Brew/LDN and KAM Media. You can access the full report here: tradeinfo or email to receive a copy. Stay safe.

Many drinking occasions have moved out of the on-trade for obvious reasons, with 48% having drunk beer at home during an ‘online

KAM Media is a boutique research consultancy, specialising in hospitality and retail, running bespoke and syndicated customer research programmes for both pub companies and on-trade suppliers, such as Punch, Ei Group, Shepherd Neame, Brewdog, Carlsberg, Matthew Clark and Accolade Wines. twitter: @KAMMediaInsights email: call: 07841 666325 | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Business advice: Trade marks

Cameron Malone-Brown

Why failing on ‘clearance’ could mean last orders for your brand

Chris Baume

Cameron Malone-Brown and Chris Baume, trade mark attorneys at leading European IP law firm Potter Clarkson, look at why checking the market for any potential obstacles before you launch a new brand can save you a lot of time in the long run…

Clearance is a key step often missed during the creation of a new brand. Simply put, clearance is a review of the market and trade mark registers to check for third parties who may be in a position to stop you from using your new brand. This crucial step is frequently left out or left so late that the owner is wedded to the brand, both personally and financially. Committing resources to a new brand without clearing it first is like brewing without scales - you may get lucky, or you may have to ditch a huge amount of product (or worse). Many recent high-profile disputes could well have been avoided, had an appropriate clearance been carried out. We are often asked ’when should a brand be cleared?’ Since it would be expensive and time consuming to search for every new brand under consideration, we would recommend that the clearance is performed sometime before the business is financially committed to the brand, just in case it needs to be rethought. Clearance is not a long process, if performed by a legal professional, so clearing a new trade mark early should not delay production to any meaningful degree. Below, we offer some key checks that can be performed by brand owners themselves to get an initial idea of the risks posed to a new brand. These would be useful steps to take before providing a shortlist of preferred brands to a legal professional. Checking for unregistered rights In the UK, it is possible for a third party to challenge your new brand based on their unregistered rights acquired through use of a conflicting sign. In short, by using a sign (which might be a brand, trading name, business name, domain name or other indication of origin), a business may generate

rights which do not require registration as a trade mark. When conceiving a new brand, it is vital to review the market and check for third parties using the same or a similar brand. Performing checks on Google and social media is a good starting place. Whilst it may sound trivial, this simple step is often overlooked and leads to disputes which could have been easily avoided. Checking trade mark registers The UK and EUTM Trade Mark registers are free and publicly accessible. Naturally, it takes considerable training, experience and knowledge of the law to fully appreciate the risk posed by registered trade marks, but there is nothing to stop a brand owner checking online for identical or similar trade marks. It takes very little time to type potential brand names into the relevant registers and doing so may highlight a significant right that could block your new brand. Domains and social media Social media and domains are extremely important tools in the modern market, as online trading only grows in popularity. If you are considering a new brand but discover that the .com and domains are already in use and some identical Twitter handles and Instagram accounts are taken, you may prefer to adopt an alternative brand for which these assets are available. Not only might these parties have earlier rights

which could be enforced against you, but these assets are also very valuable and can be expensive to acquire, if already secured. Considering suitability for registration As touched on in our previous article, “How to File a Trade Mark”, not all trade marks are created equally. The more distinctive a trade mark is in relation to beer (or any other products covered by the trade mark application), the wider its protection will be. If a trade mark is non-distinctive (a simple picture of a pint, for example), descriptive (“FOAMY PILSNER”), deceptive (“LEMONADE”, used on beer) or contrary to public policy or morality (profanity, vulgar sexual references, etc.), you may be unable to register your trade mark. In addition, should a third party use the same or a similar trade mark, it will be an uphill struggle to enforce your rights against them, should the marks be descriptive or non-distinctive. The ability to “own” the trade mark and also to enforce it should be considered at the early stages of brand clearance. Summary The steps above should be carried out whenever a new brand is under development, to give an initial indication of potential risks. After taking these initial steps, brand owners should seek a full clearance from a legal professional, to reduce the risk of a rebrand or expensive dispute down the line.

Potter Clarkson helps companies, organisations and individuals across all sectors of business to understand, create, protect and defend the commercial value of their innovations anywhere in the world through intellectual property rights. As a full-service intellectual property law firm with expertise in patents, trade marks, designs, litigation, licensing and consultancy, the firm can provide specialist support in all areas of IP. Find out more at | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Business advice: Online shops

Maximising sales via your brewery web shop Neil Walker, SIBA’s Head of Comms & Marketing, offers some practical tips to improve customer experience and conversion from your online shop…

With more people ordering beer online than ever before it’s absolutely vital your web shop is user friendly, simple to use and makes it really easy for customers to find beers, fill their basket and order some beer. It sounds simple enough, but so many web shops get the basics wrong, with too many clicks to get a product in the basket or a long-winded checkout process. This simple guide highlights some of the pitfalls to avoid and the simple, practical steps you (or your web designer if you are so lucky) can take to maximise user experience - and in turn maximise sales. Make your first impression count Your website is your brewery’s window to the World and it’s important that as soon as somebody peeks their head through that window they can immediately see how to buy some beer! Front and centre, as soon as a customer hits the website they need to see how to get to the shop, with a clear button or a pop-up giving them a reason to click. Of course your website needs the usual ‘About us’ section, talking about what makes you tick, the beers you like to brew or how the brewery was set up – but this should be further down on the homepage or accessible via the top navigation – right now, with consumer sales so important, the shop has to come first.

Make it easy to add beers to the basket Getting the balance between a site that looks great and is easy to use is an important one, but in all of this your goal should be to allow customers to add lots of different beers to their basket as easily as possible.

Show them all of your beer as soon as possible It can be tempting when setting up your web shop to over-categorise your beers and guide people into different sections from the beginning, but actually throwing customers straight into a page where they can view all your beers and start adding them to their basket could be a better way to go. You can always allow customers the ability to filter the beers on the page by style, ABV, price, colour etc but providing that the beers are displayed with all of the relevant info even that shouldn’t really be necessary. Your number one priority is to limit the number of clicks needed to add beers to the basket, so as a rule of thumb, just show them all your beers!


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Every beer should have an ‘add to basket’ button visible or which appears when the customer hovers over the beer, and ideally they should be able to select how many of each beer they want to add. If a customer clicks the image of the beer itself they will generally be trying to find out more info about the beer, rather than add it to their basket, so make sure the site does what the customer is expecting to happen. You can show this info on a standalone page or via a pop-up, but make it as easy as possible for customers to get back to where they were before that last click. If a customer has to click on the beer, then click add to basket, then click back to the main product page, that takes three times as long as having an instant ‘add to basket’ button. Times that by multiple beers and you are likely to slow down the process so much a customer might change their mind altogether!

Business advice: Online shops Making your site work well on mobiles should be a priority It’s absolutely vital your site works well on mobiles and tablets because that is how the majority of people browse the internet – with around 63% of all retail web traffic. Interestingly though despite more people browsing via mobile the split on sales is still around 50/50, so clearly some people browse on mobile then buy on the computer – either way the site working on mobile is hugely important. Most website builders such as Wix or Wordpress are designed to be mobile-friendly, but whatever you use it is worth spending some time ensuring your buying process works smoothly on mobile as it will greatly affect conversion rates. Again make it easy to add lots of different beers to the basket quickly and do not make people search for the back button to continue shopping – as soon as they have clicked ‘add to basket’ they want to be right back where they were browsing.

Checking-out should be as simple and integrated as possible Making the checkout process quick and simple will have a huge impact on how many customers you convert and the best way to do this is by offering a number of payment options, which ideally include Apple Pay and Google Pay integration, but alternatively could allow login via Paypal, Google or Facebook. Not only do these services make the process much quicker by storing the customer’s payment and address details, but they are what customers expect from a professional, trustworthy website. If you don’t have Apple Pay or Google Pay integration on your website and are taking payments via card then just try to make it as easy as possible, ideally with all the info needed on one short submission form.

Top Tip: Display live basket number When a customer clicks ‘add to basket’ they want to know it has worked. A simple and effective way to do this is by displaying the current number of beers in their basket next to the icon. Simple, but effective.

Customers don’t care about delivery costs, until it comes to paying It may sound a little harsh, but customers do not care about how much it costs breweries to ship beer, and when buying beer online consumers increasingly expect delivery to be free over a minimum spend. It’s really important you price the beers on your website in such a way as to allow yourself the margins to be able to offer delivery at a reasonable level, or ideally offer it free over a certain amount. Customers are unlikely to bat an eyelid at an extra 25p on individual beers, but they may not place an order if they get to the checkout and are landed with a hefty delivery charge. It’s for each brewery to calculate what works for them – whether it is ‘fill a case of 24’ or ‘order over £50’ – but I would strongly recommend giving free delivery a trial and see how it helps sales.

5 Tips for a good brewery web shop 1. The shop should be first thing they see on the homepage 2. Display all the beers together on one page 3. Include ‘add to basket’ next to each beer 4. Keep the number of clicks to a minimum (integrate Apple or G Pay!) 5. Offer free delivery over a minimum spend | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Business advice: Data protection

Getting data protection right in a Covid world The team at law firm Stephens Scown have taken a look at how the pandemic has led to many businesses holding more data on their customers than ever before, and offer advice on how to handle that data within the GDPR regulations…

Businesses are preparing for a pattern of repeated lockdowns. During the first lockdown, many businesses were not prepared and consumers were forgiving of any delays or issues which resulted from the pandemic. As the pandemic draws on, consumers are becoming less patient and are demanding more from the businesses they deal with. At the same time, those businesses are starting to realise that the short-term stopgap measures they may have taken in response to the first lockdown will not see them through the long term. For example, as online trading (including click-and-collect) become ever more prominent, businesses need to ensure (and customers will expect) that they are doing so sustainably. This means ensuring that the decisions they make comply with the relevant legislation, helping to secure a positive reputation, not creating cash flow problems and building for the long term. As digital delivery becomes a larger part of their revenue, many businesses are starting to recognise that the law when trading digitally is different. More direct dealing with consumers and more online interaction means businesses also need to think about how they control their reputation. Businesses need to make sure their trade mark protection reflects their new ways of working and gives them control of their reputation online. Now more than ever it is important that making sustainable, lawful decisions about how to operate forms part of your businesses planning if online consumer trust is to grow.

Whereas before, the above may have seemed short term and the legal considerations would be overlooked, as they become more long-term that attitude needs to change. Regulators won’t allow Covid-19 to be an excuse for non-compliance and consumers also expect high standards. GDPR compliance is also becoming more relevant as delivery at a distance means more companies have more data about their customers. Regulators won’t allow Covid-19 to be an excuse for non-compliance and consumers also expect high standards.

How to follow the guidance whilst meeting your Data Protection obligations The situation will be different for all businesses, but the following key points will be universal: 1. Whenever you implement a scheme that has an impact on personal data, you need to carry out a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA). You will need to complete this before collecting visitor details, including the legal basis on which you are collecting the data; 2. You will need to have a retention policy that mandates the destruction of the relevant data after 21 days and you will need to make sure the data is destroyed securely after this period;

Track and Trace

3. You will need to make sure the data is stored securely, whether electronically or in paper format;

Whilst many businesses are forced to close for lockdown, if your business is allowed to remain open but you are required to use the Track and Trace initiative, you will need to keep your Track and Trace system in place.

4. Where data is stored electronically, you will need to check the terms of the providers you are using and ensure that these are reflected in your privacy policy (as well as conducting a PIA for such use);

The Track and Trace government guidance asks that businesses keep the names and contact details of anyone who visits their venue for a period of 21 days. This should be done in a way that works for the business.

5. Your privacy policy (as indicated above) will need to be updated. You may want to consider posting a copy on your website and making it available before people visit your venue;

An issue arises because the guidance makes it clear that this obligation does not supersede an organisation’s other legal responsibilities, including to comply with data protection legislation.

6. Individuals will be able to request copies of the data you hold about them. Make sure you have a structure in place to enable you to respond to these requests. You will also need to make sure that you are supplying the information to the correct individual and not just to anyone who may ask for the data.

For further information, including support on the documents and actions required to help you meet your obligations, please contact our specialist IP and IT team on 01392 210700 or email | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Comment: Technical focus Dr Keith Thomas

With much of the excess cask and keg beer in small brewers’ warehouses swiftly diverted into small pack at the start of the first lockdown this year, there has been exponential growth in canning even among brewers who previously sold 90% of their beer in cask. Brewlab’s Keith Thomas takes a look at the technical challenges this new channel presents and how brewers might best overcome them…

An occasionally heard mantra in the moment of Covid is “those that can survive”. Referring in brewing terms to the massive increase in interest in canning as a means of maintaining or even expanding sales and, hopefully, survival. Come the moment come the technology and suddenly a plethora of breweries are offering cans as their major packaging choice. Once derided as street fodder cans are increasingly predominant and close to matching bottles in craft brew sales. Considering their advantages it is perhaps surprising that it has taken so long for microbreweries to become adapted to cans. Lighter to transport, greater environmental credence, extensive area for package information even increasing customer acceptance and expectation. Textured labelling also has more impact than on a bottle. Or perhaps it isn’t surprising. Cans were for many years the provenance of large-scale production. Not just because of the cost of can filling technology but of can printing requiring an extensive minimum order and equally extensive space for their storage. Today this whole technology has been down-sized with small scale systems readily available to install on site and at contract packagers. Mobile canning is easily available with transportable systems to operate directly from your conditioning tanks. Canning was never so accessible, there are even single head seamers you can operate for home brewing. How difficult is canning though? Preparing beer for canning has the same requirements as for bottling or kegging. Hygiene is a priority to prevent contamination with microbes, oxygen control to prevent staling and suitable filtration if clarity is required. All of these are second nature to general beer maturation and packaging whatever the


or contamination with diastaticus yeasts are easy causes of such problems. Unlike overcarbonated bottled beer cans will initially distort and eventually tear apart at their seam. This is arguably less hazardous than glass shattering from an exploding bottle but either way beer, and reputations, are lost. container you choose. Where cans differ particularly is in the manner of their closure and the engineering of filling. The seams between the can body and the ends are particularly difficult to manage as tight seals are required. Early tin plate cans with top and bottom lids had greater propensity for problems but today’s cans have a stretched body with just a top lid to attach. Although the sealing mechanism uses a similar pressure adhesion as for bottle caps there is a greater expanse to cover and an overlapping flange arrangement to ensure tightness. Inevitably the costs of equipment are higher but increasingly more affordable. As in bottling counter pressure filling is essential to limit contamination and oxidation and with a larger fill opening cans have greater difficulty in minimising ingress than for the narrow neck of a bottle. In addition, there will be greater exposure of beer to the atmosphere between filling and sealing so making oxygen levels harder to achieve. For some products filtration is not conducted and many craft breweries are proudly promoting beers with natural conditioning and inevitable haze. If you drink straight from the can this won’t be so noticeable but will be seen clearly in a glass. It is with these drinks that can problems have potential to appear. As with bottle conditioned beer fermentation in package can occur. As with bottle conditioned beer careful management of residual fermentation is essential otherwise a flat or a gushing beer results. Mismanagement of secondary fermentation

Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

A further fault of cans is the possibility of corrosion producing leakage. Although rare, cans do have the potential of aluminium corrosion by acidic products. Beer carries this potential but is limited by a lacquer lining preventing contact between the beer and the metal. Not all lacquers are effective though as evidenced by problems earlier this year with breweries canning sanitiser for Covid-19 protection. The WHO formulation of 80% ethanol with 1.45% glycerol and 0.125% hydrogen peroxide proved too aggressive for some linings leading to leakages as linings degenerated and metal was corroded. Although cans have a high resistance to physical damage corrosion may also occur from the outside if certain bacteria colonise the surface. These species will grow if cans are kept in humid environments such as in non-porous shrink wrap resulting over time in digestion of outer surfaces, metal corrosion and leakage. Despite these rare concerns cans have raised their awareness and reception with limited resistance from consumer choice today despite past reserve. Experiments in 2016 indicated that drinkers rated beer poured from bottles to be better quality than those poured from cans. However, when the same beers were presented without sight of the containers both were judged to be of equal quality. Perceptions of cans have certainly changed since then and today it certainly seems that those who can are well positioned for the future.

Comment: Technical focus

The rise of the can Keith’s colleague at Brewlab, Brian Yorston, offers his personal view on the rise of canning based on his own experience… “Over the last few years, I have reflected on the rise of craft canning. This article is my personal thoughts on the subject as an outsider to craft canning. My experience of canning stems from my days at Vaux and has carried on over the different jobs I have had. At Vaux, on the site of old brewery workers houses, a purpose-built canning line was built in the 1980's. This line was rated at 1,000 cans per minute using a tunnel pasteuriser. Just imagine filling at a rate of 264hl per hour in a 24-hour operation? Imagine the infrastructure to brew, ferment, condition and filter at such a rate. We at that time had a contract to supply Tesco so our incessant Christmas "campaign" started in August and stopped at the beginning of December. Warehouses throughout the region were full of Norseman lager ready for the deluge the supermarkets required. All of this sounds great but we were told that we made more profit from one vehicle to our pubs than from 27 to Tesco. All of this work was stressful for us all, with very little reward. I also looked after contract canning at Wadworth and again it was a lot of work for very little reward. Organising can runs required purchasing 100,000's of cans as a minimum order and arranging a minimum of 360 barrels to be filtered and tanked to the canner. So, it was against this background that I reflected on the rise of craft canning. My conclusions can be put into three categories being technology, design and revenue. Firstly technology. It is evident that you don't need a huge canning operation to fill cans.

Small canning and can seamer machines have found their way from the USA and have been adopted by the craft brewer to fill small volumes. This meant canning can be done for a relatively modest investment. Even if you cannot afford the cost of setting up a canning line, mobile canning operators are able to come to your brewery. I saw such an operation a few weeks ago and was interested in videoing this to show to our students. The problem of can supply has to a degree been solved by labelling plain cans. I have visited a major can manufacture in north Wales and because of the scale of the operation I can understand why they simply cannot do craft size runs of preprinted cans. Having plain cans labelled off site by specialist means a small run of cans are printed to suit a particular filling run. Even if you cannot afford the cost of setting up a canning line, mobile canning operators are able to come to your brewery

This will reduce both cost and storage. Empty cans can take up a great deal of storage. It is interesting that Brewdog have now installed a KHS can labeller at their Ellon site so that they can produce "small" bespoke product lines very quickly. Look how quickly they managed to produce their Barnard Castle Eye Test beer not long after Dominic Cummings visit to the town came out as news. The second aspect of craft cans is the design. The label on a glass bottle can be a little boring but the craft canners have used the full surface area of the can to produce clever, innovative designs. Look at a supermarket shelf for craft cans and you will see how attractive to the customer the cans are. Controversially - the can is opaque so that some craft brewers get away with using cloudy unfiltered beer. In a glass bottle the hazy

Brian Yorston

beer may put some customers off the initial purchase. With a can once the purchase has been made the beer will be drunk even when hazy. This has enabled the customer to realise that cloudy beer will certainly do you no harm. The final aspect of the can is revenue. Just look at the cost per litre of the craft can in your supermarket and you will find there is a premium for the can beer. In a survey a few years ago for a beer of the same abv a craft can was 56% more expensive than a bottle. It is interesting that with the lockdown many brewers have begun to sell their beer direct to the customer and at a good premium. As an example, the cans I saw being filled a few weeks ago were on that brewer's web site being sold for £5 each. The Brewdog eye test beer will set you back over £2 per 330 ml. To me this is great that finally after selling cheap "pile them high" beer to Tesco in the 1980's, brewers through the medium of direct sale of can beer are beginning to get a better margin for their work. Let's hope this revolution for craft cans continues and prospers the brewing trade as we certainly need it.” | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Brewery news

Docks Beers launches first ever cask-only bitter Grimsby-based Docks Beers has launched ‘Humber Bitter’, its first ever cask-only bitter. Shaz Shadan, Co-Director of Docks Beers, said this about the new beer: “Over the last two years we have been busy building a reputation as a craft brewery specialising in cans and kegs, but we’ve been keen to make a modern bitter in cask for a while. Over the first lockdown we started work on Humber Bitter and we’re really delighted with how it’s come out. It’s russet-coloured, has a minty, herbal spiciness with a complex aniseed and liquorice finish. We think it bridges the gap between craft and cask in the sense that it has all the qualities of a traditional ale, with a modern twist.” Docks Beers tend to include references to Grimsby, local industry and the area’s workforce in the naming and design of their beers, and the thought process behind their first ever cask bitter was no different. Shaz explained: “We wanted to call it ‘Humber Bitter’ because the

estuary, and its iconic bridge, are synonymous with our region and it’s our link to the rest of the world. It’s a huge part of our history… and we think it’s also part of our future. Kirk Arnold at Source Four designed the eye-catching pump clip - an illustration of the Humber Bridge - in his recognisable style that people have grown to recognise as being ‘Docks’.” To mark the historic brew, Humber Bitter launched on both sides of the Humber - at the Docks Beers taproom in Grimsby and The Minerva in Hull. Jack Johnson, the brewery’s Marketing Manager, said: “Our beers appeal to everyone, not just the people of North East Lincolnshire. We wanted the launch to bridge both banks of the river. That’s why, for the first time ever, we’ve launched the beer in Hull simultaneously with Grimsby. The Minerva is a great Hull pub right on the banks of the River with a great reputation for cask beer.” Find out more at

Bluestone Brewing hosts fourth annual Community Green Hop brew day The fourth annual Community Green Hop brew day took place in September at Bluestone Brewing Company in Newport, Pembrokeshire. Over four years ago now, the brewery has bought some hop plants and given them out to their neighbours. The neighbours are asked to grow the hops and then, once they are ready to harvest, the community is invited to come together for a community brew day and BBQ. "It’s always a day to look forward to and a great chance for our community to come together. This year was a little different as we were unable to have our usual BBQ, but we still managed to have a socially-distanced get together and enjoyed harvesting the hops in the September sunshine," said Emily Hutchinson, Marketing Director. "Our wonderful friends and neighbours arrived all throughout the morning with the hops that they have been growing for the past year. We spent the day picking them and then Tom, our Head Brewer, added them to the brew in the afternoon.” Everyone who had grown hops and helped to harvest them received their own box of the finished product, a delicious one-off, homegrown, single green hop beer. In the spirit of community, Bluestone Brewing Company decided that this year, ALL profits from the green hop brew would be donated to The Watershed Foundation to support those


affected by the recent fires at Moria Camp in Lesvos. This is a cause close to the heart of Simon Turner, owner and director at Bluestone Brewing Company, whose brother Jonny has been leading a team at Moria camp on behalf of Watershed Foundation for several years. For more information go to

Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Brewery news

Hat trick of World Beer crowns for Ossett Brewery Ossett Brewing Company is toasting triple acclaim in the fiercely fought World Beer Awards (WBA). Three of the progressive West Yorkshire brewery’s core beer range won top UK awards in this highly prestigious contest – winning one gold and two silvers. Silver King (4.3% ABV) claimed gold in the WBA English Pale Ales category while premium Excelsius (5.2% ABV) was runner up with silver. Further WBA acclaim came with stout Yorkshire Treacle (4.8% ABV) snatching silver in the hotly contested Flavoured Porter/Stouts category. Originally located at the back of Brewers Pride in Ossett, the brewery was founded by Bob Lawson in 1998. Back then Silver King and Excelsius formed the original Ossett line up and were truly pioneering beers in the UK cask ale revolution. Silver King won Ossett’s first national award in 2001 as a speciality beer and Excelsius was SIBA National Champion three times over two decades of brewing excellence for both brews. Ossett owner Jamie Lawson said: “We are truly

humbled by the recognition we have received for three of our core beers, especially for Silver King and Excelsius. To have core beers in our range that continue to win awards at a national level after two decades show that we have created classic recipes which are ageless. These highly prestigious awards are a wonderful morale boost for the team following all the challenges faced in recent months to keep our beers flowing for collection and home delivery throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and since then supplying our own pubs, the freetrade, wholesale partners and pub companies.” The World Beer Awards are global awards selecting the very best from 2,200 beers across nine internationally recognised styles and promoting the world’s best beers to consumers and trade around the globe. This year judging took place by Zoom, with beers shipped to judges around the world in black wrapping. For more information go to

Northern Monkey Brew Co launches Swift Bitter

Paige Murphy, Boaters Bar Manager, CT Vice Chair Dan Visser North West-based brewing company Northern Monkey has launched a special beer to celebrate the arrival of Windermere Lake Cruises’ brand new boat, ‘MV Swift’. ‘Swift Bitter’ has been created using a new recipe and is available at Boaters Bar at Bowness. Founded in 2016 by Ryan Bailey and Liam Convey, the brewery has enjoyed success both locally and nationally, having won several awards including a SIBA National Silver award in the

dark beers category, and boasts two CAMRA accolades. Ryan said: “The aims and ambitions of the Northern Monkey Brew Co remain the same as the day we first started, which is to make great beer and take enormous pride in representing our Northern heritage. Windermere Lake Cruises fits perfectly with our love and respect for all things northern, and we’re really excited to be launching ‘Swift Bitter’, inspired by the launch of MV Swift.”

Sales and Marketing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, Jennifer Cormack, said: “We’re really excited by the launch of Swift Bitter and delighted that MV Swift was the inspiration for this new beer. It was created by Ryan and his team and launched at the Boaters Bar in Bowness to celebrate our fantastic investment for the future, and the traditionally-crafted ale perfectly reflects our own traditional roots.” Find out more at | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020



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Brewery news

Powderkeg Beer serves up three impressive industry awards for 2020 South West brewery Powderkeg’s ‘Speak Easy’ flagship session pale ale has been awarded the coveted three-star Great Taste Award for 2020. This award complements other recent national awards including the UK’s Best Premium Lager award from SIBA for the brewery’s hoppy pilsner, ‘Cut Loose’. The World Beer Award for the UK’s Best Low Alcohol Pale Ale was also awarded to the brewery’s ‘Green Light’, a ground-breaking beer. The Great Taste Awards are the world’s most trusted food and drink awards and are recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike. The judges said of Speak Easy: “Wow! Tropical nose, fruity and zesty on the palate. Grapefruit, pine and citrus with a soft bright straw yellow presentation. Orange pith and citrus rind. Fresh.” Powderkeg Beer Co-founder Jess Magill said: “The PK philosophy has always been to carve our own path. We have always been confident in our ability to make interesting and original beer, and, as such, we have never felt the need to jump on bandwagons or be the next big thing.

These awards are a great recognition that our unique session style makes not only for great drinking here in Devon, but also stands out as exceptional on the national stage.” Powderkeg’s range of packaged products has seen a significant uplift in sales since the beginning of 2020. Consumers have been taking advantage of the brewery’s online delivery service during the pandemic, ordering the award-winning brews direct to their doorsteps. With the entire range benefiting from being gluten free and the majority suitable for vegans, there is a beer to suit almost every taste. “The support from our community this year has been amazing!” said John Magill, Powderkeg’s Co-founder and Head Brewer. “It has kept us going through some challenging times and we really want to say a massive thank you to everyone for drinking the beer and supporting us. It is incredibly heart-warming to feel that everyone is standing with us. The awards give us great professional satisfaction but on a personal level it’s absolutely amazing to see so many people enjoying what we do.” Find out more at

Brecon Brewing partners with the Welsh Rugby Union to create two new beers The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has joined the Craft Beer revolution, forming a new partnership with Brynmenynbased Brecon Brewing to produce two new beers. The new WRU Gold and WRU IPA were available from a range of retail outlets for supporters to sample in time for Wales’ much anticipated return to international rugby, against France this Autumn. Brecon Brewing has also acquired exclusive ale pouring rights at Principality Stadium until 2023 as part of this new partnership and the artisan brewery is busy stocking concourse bars and hospitality areas with these new beers. The WRU IPA is a 5% ABV pale golden IPA, bursting with Citrus and Resinous aromas,

with hints of spice and black pepper and WRU Gold is a 4% ABV easy drinking Welsh Golden Ale, beautifully balanced with a floral citrus aroma and hints of tropical fruit. “Brewed with Welsh water, UK malts and UK hops, WRU Gold is the perfect home beer for all home matches!” said Buster Grant, Head Brewer at Brecon Brewing, which was founded in 2011 and quickly established a reputation as one of Wales' best known breweries. “And our WRU IPA has a moderate, balanced bitterness which makes it a very

drinkable, special beer and one to savour with the Welsh victories. We’re really proud to be working with the WRU for these two exclusive beers, and very excited to create something unique amongst World rugby, whereby the sales of beers to supporters feeds a virtuous circle which helps promote rugby at all levels across Wales. We’re hoping that Welsh supporters and Welsh rugby clubs will get behind these beers and therefore support the WRU.” For more information go to | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Brewery news

Alcohol-free brewer Big Drop unveils its Winter Specials A pair of decadent additions have been added to the Big Drop portfolio to entice craft fans and demonstrate the extent to which alcohol-free beer has advanced. Seasonal specials ‘Firesider’ and ‘Kinzig’ both weigh in at 0.5% ABV and are available in 440ml cans for a limited time only, while stocks last. Firesider is a pumpkin spiced ale, brewed with a unique blend of toasted malts, pumpkin yeast and seasonal spices - including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. As the name suggests, this beer’s subtle bitterness and flavour will warm you up from the inside. Meanwhile Kinzig (named after a river in Germany’s Black Forest) is a remarkable stout which pours like black silk with the soft aroma of vanilla. Its seductive chocolatey flavour is perfectly balanced with dark cherry undertones, reminiscent of a Black Forest Gateau.

Nick Worthington, Commercial Director at Big Drop, said: “We loved developing these two beers because they push the boundaries of alcohol-free alchemy and are just perfect for the time of year. There’s now a certain expectation that our specials will be something out of the ordinary and these really deliver on that. The results mean that any dark beer fan will be spoilt for choice this Winter and still be at their best, no matter what life throws at them.” Other dark beers in Big Drop’s existing range include: ‘Galactic’ Milk Stout, ‘Woodcutter’ Brown Ale & ‘Off Piste’ Hazelnut Porter, which are all 0.5% ABV. Collectively these beers have won numerous awards, including 2019 World’s Best Dark Beer (low strength) and 2020 World’s Best Flavoured Beer (low strength) at the World Beer Awards. Find out more at

Bedlam Brewery commemorates Dame Vera Lynn with ‘The Dame’ Award-winning Bedlam Brewery, near Ditchling at the foot of the South Downs National Park, released The Dame, a limited edition 4.2% ABV amber ale, dedicated to the memory of local resident Dame Vera Lynn, the ‘forces sweetheart’, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Dame Vera was, and continued to be, a shining example of the stoicism that became so entrenched in the British war time spirit, bringing joy to the hearts of millions of people during some of their darkest times. As a thank you from the team at Bedlam for her lifetime of national service, they decided to do what they do best and produce a beer with which people could raise a glass in her memory and by doing so, raise funds for a

worthy cause - 20p from every bottle or pint sold is being donated by Bedlam to a charity selected in consultation with Dame Vera’s family, who are supportive of this initiative. Bob Emms, Bedlam’s CEO, said: "We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Dame Vera earlier this year, who leaves so many wonderful memories of the positive messages she portrayed during a dark period in our Nation’s history. Given the challenges we’re all again facing, we thought we would produce The Dame to enable our customers to raise a glass in her memory and look forward to better times. The imagery we’ve created combines local landmark Ditchling Beacon with a field of poppies, both of which were dear to Dame Vera’s heart.” For more information visit | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Brewery news

Swannay Brewery doubles down with investment in canning line

Orkney-based Swannay Brewery has made a considerable commitment in its future by investing in a canning line. Being a predominantly on-trade weighted business - before Covid-19 over 70% of sales came from pubs and bars - coronavirus has forced the brewery to rapidly pivot to cater more to the off-sales business model. With the enforced closure of pubs and bars in March 2020, the brewery saw sales plummet to nearly zero overnight. At the same time, website sales increased by more than 2,000%, so over the course of lockdown

production was focused on smallpack (bottled and canned beer) to cater to the changed customer base, all of which had to be sent south for packaging. Swannay Brewery was nearing completion on a £1m+ expansion project when Covid-19 took hold. One of the funders of the project, the Scottish Government, via the Food Processing and Marketing Cooperation (FPMC) Scheme, agreed to vary the terms of their grant support to include the canning line, for the benefit of the brewery business as a whole in a changed climate. The canning line will allow Swannay Brewery to package

the beer it brews in Orkney on-site, instead of shipping it in bulk to the central belt, or occasionally even further. As well as being better for the environment, canning the beer where it’s made will reduce wasted beer associated with transferring between sites as well as improve beer quality by reducing the opportunities for oxygen pickup when the beer is being transferred between brewery and transport tanks. To commemorate the inaugural beer being canned, a one-off beer called Double Down was brewed. Brewery manager Lewis Hill said the investment in a canning line was exciting and daunting in equal measure: “It was always a dream of ours to be able to package our beer where it’s brewed; our changed business model due to coronavirus has made the benefit of packaging the beer where it’s made even greater so we took the plunge and made the investment. Even with the support of the FPMC scheme it’s still a bold move but one we are confident will pay dividends, for the business, our beer and the environment well into the future.” Find out more at

Windswept Brewing Co leads groundbreaking Field to Firkin project Scotland’s Windswept Brewing Co has been leading a Moray LEADER funded Field to Firkin project which has been exploring the challenge of creating a new, shorter supply chain for Moray farmers and brewers. The project is a transnational collaboration with a team based in Wallonia, Belgium. Both countries are looking to improve the price the farmer gets for his grain and ensure brewers are able to produce a low carbon footprint product with a local provenance. At the outset of the project (July 2019), Windswept hosted a team from Wallonia, who came to Scotland to discover more about local barley production and the malting process and to exchange brewing ideas and knowledge. Later that year, a team from Moray headed out to Wallonia and visited an organic farm, a malting house, a traditional mill, a whisky distillery and of course, several prestigious craft breweries including both the famous Rochefort and


also Windswept’s project partner, Brasserie de Marsinne. Back in February, a brewing competition between the Windswept brewers decided the Field to Firkin project beer. Loyal customers were invited to an exclusive tasting session held at Windswept’s own on-site taproom, where they picked the brew out of a selection of six trial beers. Customers chose a thirst quenching, Elderflower infused pale ale with an ABV of 4.5%, that would be ideal for BBQs and picnics – great news for a summer launch! The whole project ground to a halt temporarily due to Covid-19, but once production restarted the Field to Firkin project was able to continue and in July the project beer, which is named Pioneer, was launched. The next step for the project will be to analyse learnings from this trial and see whether it is viable on a larger scale. Find out more at

Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Brewery news

Stewart Brewing launches new craft beer club Edinburgh-based brewery, and Scottish Brewery of the Year 2018 and 2019, Stewart Brewing has launched a new craft beer club. The brewery will be taking on a limited number of members for the club and will send them six unique craft beers every month. The box promises no repeat beers and beers that are outside the brewery’s core range, meaning every brew will be a one-off and the box will be truly unique each time. The brewery’s owner Steve Stewart, who founded the company alongside his wife Jo in

2004, said: “With pubs being shut to beer sales, our brewers are keen to keep the creativity alive by showcasing exactly what can be brewed using different malts, hops, water and yeast. The January 6-pack that has been developed looks awesome, and the Craft Beer Club will enable the brewers to stay busy, while keeping our customers who are looking for quality, innovation and variety well stocked over the next 12 months.” The brewery has hinted at what customers can expect in their first box in January, with a German style Pilsner, Chocolate Brownie

Marshmallow Stout and an Orange and Lemon Sour all appearing in the line-up. The club is now open and accepting new members. There are two tiers of membership, with those who can collect from the brewery taproom making an annual saving on the boxes. The membership with collection comes in at £200 for the year, and the UK-wide delivery membership is just £250, meaning you could be getting truly unique beers for as little as £16.67 per month. Find out more at

Salcombe Brewery Launches two new barrel-aged porters Devon-based Salcombe Brewery Co has announced the launch of two new limited edition barrel-aged porters (750ml, 6.2% ABV ), created by ageing their award-winning Island Street Porter in a Speyside whisky barrel and a Heaven Hill bourbon barrel. The beers are available in a presentation pack for Christmas. Brewer Sam Beaman said: “Our Island Street Porter has been a huge hit since its launch two years ago and has gained a number of prestigious accolades. Inspired by its popularity, we wanted to build on its strengths and see if we could create a very special version as a limited edition gift.” Sam continued: “We aged the porter in wooden barrels for six months to allow the flavours to evolve. The barrels had previously contained either Speyside Whisky or Heaven Hill bourbon and we were thrilled with the results. The process created beers with the

characteristic undertones of our Island Street Porter of chocolate and dark cherry but with a far greater depth and complexity of flavour. And we are not the only ones who are impressed. Our Speyside Whisky barrel-aged porter has already won Gold in its category both regionally and nationally at the SIBA digital awards 2020.” Salcombe Brewery’s new Speyside Whisky barrel aged porter (ABV 6.2%) has an almost jam like sweetness that is complimented by a hint of vanilla. This sweetness is balanced against the peaty notes from the whisky, culminating with a full-bodied chocolaty finish. The Heaven Hill Bourbon barrel aged porter (ABV 6.2%) has a distinctive vanilla character from the oak that adds a rich creamy note, reminiscent of clotted cream. This smooth silky mouthfeel gives way to a gentle smokey character and a refreshing dry finish. Find out more at

Hand Brew Co acquires new site in West Worthing Sussex brewery Hand Brew - a brewery born out of the tiny award-winning Brighton brew pub, the Hand in Hand is going big, having acquired a 6,000+ square foot property in West Worthing. Managing Director and Head Brewer Jack Tavare has recently finished overseeing the installation and commissioning of an impressive new 20HL, 2 vessel Gravity Systems brewery with four 40HL fermenters and an Innovus Engineering canning line at the new site. A short walk from West Worthing train station, the building will also house a taproom with outside seating, as well as hosting brewery tours and a private bookable tasting room.

Worthing drinks nearly half of what Hand Brew Co produces, so moving to the town makes perfect sense. “Worthing's excellent independent beer scene, with its micro pubs, pubs and bottle shops has been one of our biggest supporters from day one, and we're very excited to become a part of it. We think we'll fit right in,” said Jack. The move marks such a step-change in production that the company has decided to combine the launch of the new site with a rebrand and news on local community and commercial partnerships. They have aims beyond beer too as Creative Director Clark Left explained: “When we first met to discuss the expansion, Jack didn’t

really talk about beer. He mainly spoke about the employees and the community; about supporting the arts; about supplying our own energy. We quickly became a beer company that’s not just about beer.” The Hand in Hand’s old tower brewery will remain in action, providing the kit for their small batch specials, collaborations and pilot brews. Jen Left, owner of the Hand in Hand and Events Director of Hand Brew Co, said: “It feels more important than ever that we keep this little brewery going in Kemptown, it’s been here for over 30 years and now it has a new big brother!” For more information go to | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Brewery news Brewer's Viewpoint

Gill Bullock and Jimmy Swan of Swan Brewery with 2020 and Mutation

What’s in a name? Gill Bullock, Partner at the Herefordshirebased Swan Brewery, tells us more about the strange coincidence which meant the brewery’s choice of names for their 2020 beers was somewhat prophetic… “In the distant days of Autumn 2019 we were brainstorming names for new beers and considering the beer styles for our selection for Swan Brewery for the year ahead. With swan-related puns and names a rich seam for us to mine, Bewick’s Best and Tundra were among the new ales to be added to Cygneture, Winter Swanderland and Arm Breaker. Whether or not your swan knowledge is as good as ours has become, you’re sure to be aware of the Mute Swan, one of the three swan species which make the UK their home and the only one which stays here all year round.

I expect other brewers will have customers and supporters of their breweries regularly suggesting new beer names for them and it was one such suggestion that led to Mutation being chosen. We wanted the Mutation recipe to be distinctly different to the styles we are best known for, a beer that would be an evolution, a corruption and a twist on our normal brews. Head Brewer Jimmy Swan incorporated lashings of Citra and Comet in the 5.5% ABV West Coast IPA recipe: Comet has become a Swan Brewery favourite since it featured in 2019’s 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing’s Swan Small Step and Swan Giant Leap (told you we have a deep trove of swan names at our disposal) alongside Apollo, Eagle, Orbit and Flyer hops. The next new beer name to gain approval was 2020. For once a distinctly un-swany name, for 2020, as well as being the year in question for the ale launch, it was a play on 20-20 vision, billed as a 4.1% ABV visionary golden ale featuring a new hop variety, Mystic, recently out of development. So far so good – with five brand new ales, three regulars and 12 returning specials the beer programme for 2020 was looking tasty.

The recipes were signed off, the designer briefed, the pump clips ready, the brochure printed. But we all know what happened next and by late March 2020 we, like many brewers around the UK, were reacting, pivoting, managing cashflow, furloughing staff. Brewing less than in a normal year, we had to ensure the beers we selected for brewing were going to be sure-fire hits: we couldn’t take any risks. But we were faced with one beer with a name with virus connotations and one which reminded everyone of the rubbish year we were having. We sense checked our intention to launch both beers with our Frequent Flyers – our Swan Brewery loyal drinkers. We were cautious though that this group are hungry for all new Swan Brewery beers, so in addition we ran a Facebook survey. The positive response that came back gave us the encouragement to run with both beer names and recipes in cask. As small pack became a greater part of our portfolio during 2020 we have launched Mutation in cans. Thankfully those who appreciate our beers could see beyond the names, raise their glasses of 2020 and Mutation and enjoy!” Find out more at | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Brewery news

Purity Brewing wins a further four International awards

Warwickshire-based brewery Purity Brewing Company is once again celebrating International success as its gluten-free Session IPA was named the World’s Best at the 2020 International Beer Challenge. The International Beer Challenge rewards the best tasting beers from around the globe. This year with over 500 beers from 30 countries

submitted, each beer was taken through a rigorous judging process, in a highly controlled setting of blind tastings by panels of more than 70 respected and experienced industry experts. Leading the charge, Purity Brewing Company saw its gluten-free, 4.5% vegan beer, Session IPA, pick up the highest accolade of Best Flavoured Beer in the competition; adding to its International success from last year as Best Session IPA in the 2019 World Beer Awards. Following closely behind was Pure Gold, recently launched into Sweden in 330ml cans, which won a Gold medal in the Golden Ale Category, whilst Bunny Hop and Purity’s Organic Pure Helles took medals for their respective categories. Purity’s Session IPA is a moreish, gluten-free session IPA, infused with real grapefruit peel and brimming with tropical fruit notes and hop aromas. At the start of November Purity successful launched the 330ml single can across all major Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.

Purity’s Session IPA was the brewery’s first beer that was certified gluten-free, initially released as a summer seasonal in 2018 the beer proved incredibly popular that the decision was taken to include as a permanent offering. The striking and eye-catching design was the result of working in partnership with students of the Birmingham School of Art, the can was designed by two talented students. Commenting on the recent award success, Paul Halsey, CEO and Co-Founder of Purity Brewing Co, said: “Being recognised for pure quality in a handful of award categories is always a real honour for us. We’re incredibly proud of every award we win, but to be named the World’s Best makes it even more special. Receiving such prestigious awards at an international level is the ultimate stamp of quality. With recent roll out of our 330ml Session IPA cans in Sainsbury’s, I’m so pleased we’re able to share this success Purity fans Nationwide.” Find out more at

Simple Things Fermentations launches two Christmas beers Two new festive beers from Thirsty Games finalist Simple Things Fermentations are to be available in time for Christmas. The first is a Belgian Christmas Ale (7.8% ABV), deep mahogany in colour and rich, fruity, sweet and spicy on the palate. Brewed in August with Belgian malts and yeast, lagered for two months and then bottle conditioned for a further month, festive aromas of fig, boozy banana and mulling spices burst out of the glass and confirm that this one is a bona fide winter warmer.

Stocking filler number two is the first release from the brewery’s barrel-ageing programme, a Barrel-Aged Foreign Extra Stout (7.0% ABV) matured for six months in ex-port and whisky casks. Continuing the dark and opulent theme, this brings together malt, molasses and the spirit of Highland Christmases past. The rough edges of the base stout have been worn smooth to reveal a brooding complexity that’ll hit the spot before, during and after the festive fun. Both beers are bottle conditioned and vegan friendly. Find out more at

Wold Top Brewery launches cask conditioned beers to enjoy at home The team at Yorkshire Wolds brewery Wold Top has launched a range of cask conditioned beers for people to enjoy at home during lockdown. A range of Wold Top Brewery beers, including gluten-free options and a monthly seasonal special beer that is normally reserved for pubs, are now available in 5 litre/8.7 pint mini casks. Brewery Director Kate Balchin explained the rationale for the launch of the casks: "Whilst nothing beats enjoying a beer in a pub with family and friends, our customers are asking for cask conditioned beer that they can enjoy at home. The mini casks keep for up to five days and can be bought singly, or as part of either a monthly or prepaid subscription that makes a great gift for a beer lover." Monthly cask subscriptions cost £40 for two mini casks or £35 for one mini cask and a choice of six bottled beers from Wold Top's core range and prepaid cask subscriptions start at £120 for three months and include a free gift. The recyclable metal casks keep the beer in good condition for three to five days provided it's kept cool and the top vent is closed after use. Find out more at | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |



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Supplier news

Brook House Hops partners with America’s Yakima Chief Hops Herefordshire-based hop farm Brook House Hops has recently partnered as a product distributor for the UK with Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) of Yakima, Washington in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. A 100% farmer-owned global hop supplier, YCH has served the global brewing industry for more than 30 years. Its mission is to foster connections between multi-generational family hop farms and the world’s finest brewers, which meant a synergy was found with UK independent Brook House Hops. Owned by 15 hop growers from across the Pacific Northwest, YCH is uniquely positioned to tell the stories of where great beer begins. With a company rooted in family farming, YCH not only values quality and transparency, but

also innovation and sustainability. Sebastian Nielsen, Sales & Marketing Director at Brook House Hops, is delighted with the new partnership: “Partnering with YCH is another big milestone in the growth of our business. Their team visited our farm a couple of years ago and inspired us with best practice around hop growing, storage and processing. We share the same values around quality and maintaining close relationships directly with brewers, so it is a perfect match that will benefit our customers greatly.” Despite recent set-backs due to Covid-19, the craft brewing industry continues to expand and YCH reached out due to its desire to remain committed to forming strategic partnerships with approved distributors. Maria Skalli, European Distributor Accounts Manager at YCH, said: “At YCH, we value the opportunity to connect with distributors and

breweries of all sizes, no matter where they are in the world. Local distributors are particularly well-equipped to work alongside our regional sales managers, to help us reach and satisfy the needs of breweries of all sizes and needs across the world.” By working with local distributors in the US, YCH can offer a variety of options to craft breweries big and small, to get the best hops into their beer - these partnerships also create value for brewing customers as they allow for more flexible delivery sizes, access to local YCH inventory and improved delivery times. With their existing Herefordshire and Worcestershire farms bringing brewers an incredible portfolio of UK hops, Brook House Hops is thrilled to be able to level up their US hop offering too. Find out more at

Johnston Logistics UK celebrates 1 Million orders Johnston Logistics UK this Autumn reached its one millionth order since the warehousing, logistics and fulfilment specialists’ formal establishment in 2008. With a history in warehousing stretching back over 40 years, it was the late noughties when Johnston Logistics UK was officially formed as a dedicated third-party logistics provider. In the proceeding 12 years it has now registered its 1,000,000 order through its warehouse management system. “Milestones are important in any business,

especially one which continues to grow and evolve,” says Helen Johnston, daughter of the late founder Richard Johnston. “It’s difficult to comprehend one million separate requests for the receipt or dispatch of goods but each one has been handled with care by our great team.” In addition, each year Johnston Logistics UK handles over one million individual movements of stock, such as fulfilling ecommerce orders or preparing individual consignments for retailers. Founded by the late Richard Johnston, the company began in 1978 by storing grain,

before moving on to goods including flat pack furniture and Jeyes cleaning products. Now the company boasts over 640,000 square feet of warehousing and works with a wide range of well-known and growing brands, retailers and manufacturers. Johnston Logistics UK has a particular specialism in alcohol logistics and during the Coronavirus lockdown, Johnston Logistics UK saw an unprecedented increase in orders from drinks clients. Find out more at | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Supplier news

Marsden launches new keg scale Weighing scale manufacturer Marsden is seeking to eliminate the guesswork from stocktaking with its new keg scale. In an effort to simplify the stocktaking process for restaurants, bars and pubs, Marsden has launched a scale designed specifically for weighing kegs. This lightweight, stainless steel keg scale should make determining the amount of beer left in a keg easier than ever before. Just place the keg onto the low profile scale and simply calculate the remaining contents. By eliminating the guesswork from the stocktaking process, licensees are removing human error, enabling them to accurately track their inventory. With the Marsden K-100 Keg Scale, business owners can make informed purchasing decisions and avoid overstocking or understocking their cellars. Mark Holdaway, Chief Executive Officer at Marsden, said: “We wanted to offer a device that could turn stocktaking from a time-

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consuming, frustrating task to something that is quick and, more importantly, simple to do. Licensees don’t want to be stuck in a cold cellar estimating how many more kegs they need they want to be behind the bar talking to their customers. The K-100 helps with that.” Mark Coates, Operations Director at Marsden, added: “One of the things we prioritised with the keg scale was to keep it lightweight and portable. We know that kegs are heavy, so we wanted a scale that can be taken to the kegs. At only 2.7kg, the K-100 is as light as it can be. And with a battery life of 40 hours, you can really use it anywhere you want - for checking keg weights on arrival and in the cellar.” The K-100 can also be utilised during end of tenancy sales to calculate how much the remaining stock is worth. For more information visit php/marsden-k-100-keg-scale.html

The Cotton Textile Company has spent the last few months looking at its resources and future business plans. Over the last 18 months Brexit and more recently Covid have taken a huge toll on the company’s core clients, and this has meant that their embroidery and print facilities have been operating at less than capacity. Sam and Richard, the co-founders, are committed to ensuring the company’s growth by developing new opportunities for everyone involved and have taken the decision to create a new division. The new division, called Branded Workwear, is being headed up by Pip, who has been in the garment decoration industry for many years. Richard King, Sales Director of the group, said: “We have had this year to reflect on our business, evaluating our client base and their needs. So far, the Cotton Textile Company revolved around towels and socks, until this year, when the clothing sector of the business started to bring in more enquiries. We have had a huge range of clients requesting workwear and branded uniforms, and as the workwear business started taking off, we have decided that it’s time to create a division that focuses solely on that. The range of clothing we can now offer is superb and will appeal to the marketing teams within many organisations, further cementing our position as the go to partner to ‘bring your brand to life through textiles’.” For more information go to or

Clearmark Solutions launches new and improved website Clearmark Solutions Ltd, leading UK based coding and labelling solutions provider of ICE and Zebra coding equipment, has recently launched a new and improved website. The new website includes an ever-growing resource hub containing technical guides, topical industry content, high-quality videos, the recently launched virtual demonstration room, and more. Visitors will find a new and improved format with detailed product listings making information clearer and more user friendly. The new site also has a polished and

professional new look with a technological focus and has been designed with the user in mind. It is easy to navigate with a streamlined customer journey enabling users to find useful content quickly. Chris Simpson, Managing Technical Director at Clearmark, said: “After several months in the making I am extremely pleased with the outcome of the new site and think customers and visitors will benefit greatly from the increased speed and streamlined design, not to mention the useful content, from demonstration videos to topical industry articles and more.” Find out more at | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Supplier news

Premier Systems launches BrewMan V7

Premier Systems is proud to announce the launch of BrewMan Version 7, the new web-based version of its brewery and distillery management software, used by 250 breweries and distilleries in the UK.

BrewMan V7 has been completely rebuilt to combine the features and functions that have been developed alongside Premier Systems’ brewery customers for 20 years with new modern interfaces and intuitive controls that can be accessed through your browser on any device. The key BrewMan features have all been redesigned, allowing users to calculate duty, track production, place orders, manage stock and track casks, all from their mobile. Brand new features include: ull cask tracking and traceability, all with a •F smartphone. No need to invest in scanners or other hardware. • I ntegrated functionality - the new system has no separate modules or bolt-ons, users will have access to all features from production control to duty calculation. •N ew mobile-first design and user interface

New Cider House Rules

Tony Hird, MD of Polykeg UK, talks about how one Cider Maker has shown tremendous determination to do whatever it takes not only to stay in business but to adapt and flourish in unprecedented times. “My very first meeting with Sue Vaughan, the Managing Director of Marches Bottling & Packaging/Celtic Marches Cider, did not exactly go to plan. Sue had reluctantly agreed to meet to discuss our range of one-way Polykegs. Both companies were experiencing serious problems with their existing one-way kegs and were about to stop using them altogether. My efforts to reassure Sue that Polykegs were different initially fell on deaf ears. However, after much perseverance on


our part along with some cast iron guarantees about our kegs, Sue finally agreed to run a trial with us. Fast forward six months and Polykegs were quickly growing to become a major revenue stream for the business. As Sue pointed out: “We had tried different suppliers of one-way kegs and had always experienced problems. Initially I thought Polykeg would be the same as the others, but we were pleasantly surprised. Not only are Polykegs good quality and easy to work with, but the support we receive from the Polykeg UK team made a huge difference.” Sue continued: “Polykegs allowed us to expand our export sales for draught products at a fraction of the cost of using steel kegs. We knew we were making good products with Thundering Molly, Slack Alice and Lily The Pink, our fruit cider range, as well as our Abrahall’s and Pulp Ranges, and Polykegs allowed us to sell these brands into new markets for new customers to enjoy. We also started putting beer, wine and even cocktails into Polykegs. Within six months we had grown our business considerably.” Then as we all now know the unthinkable happened. A global pandemic virtually closed down the hospitality market and literally overnight the demand for kegs had dried up. The growth had been wiped out and both businesses, along with most of the businesses in these sectors, faced a very uncertain future. It is at times like this when true entrepreneurship shines through. Many companies had to adapt and change their business model to survive. Both companies

Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

allows users to control their business from anywhere, on any device. The system starts from £50 a month with all functionality available, allowing start-ups and small businesses to focus on making great products, not filling in paperwork. Otter Beck Distillery has been one of several companies who have managed their business with a test version of BrewMan V7 for the last few months, giving key feedback to aide development. Chris Ives had this to say: “The new BrewMan system is slick and really easy to use both on our laptops and phones. The whole team have been able to quickly place orders, manage stock and calculate duty from anywhere, saving us a lot of time in the process. We would definitely recommend it to others!” Find out more at

Supplier Viewpoint

did just that. Sue had already been thinking about expanding their bottling line. When Covid-19 struck she immediately saw an opportunity to supply the off-trade with small pack. They invested in a new bottling line and as demand of off-trade products increased they were quickly able to supply what was becoming a large a gap in the market. Sue explained: “We invested in a new bottling line as Covid kicked in and it has run daily from Monday to Saturday since it was commissioned. This was a lifeline for Marches Bottling & Packaging as packaging for the on-trade in kegs and bag-in-box dropped away. Many small companies struggled to get product packaged as offtrade sales soared and lead times for contract packaging increased considerably with major contract packers. We were also able to keep our sister company Celtic Marches Cider fully supplied throughout Covid as well as many smaller producers. Furthermore, Marches Bottling & Packaging launched a hand sanitiser range at the start of Covid which has continued to steadily grow.” Since the partial easing of lockdown, Polykeg has seen a steady increase in demand from both new and existing customers. Marches Bottling & Packaging and Celtic Marches Cider are a great example of how a business can find ways to adapt and change through very difficult circumstances. Those changes have not only helped them survive but have taken them into new products and markets which will ensure their growth and prosperity for many years to come.” Find out more at

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Supplier news

Moody Direct celebrates 45 Years As a leading supplier of process solutions to the UK, Moody Direct Limited is celebrating 45 years supporting a multitude of industries including; dairy, beverage, food, brewery, ice cream, chemical, pharmaceutical, oil, gas and power generation. On 1st November 1975 entrepreneur Paul Moody began trading in pre-owned dairy equipment. The 1970’s demonstrated both challenges and opportunities for many businesses but the growth of the motorway network and supermarket expansion, allowed regional and national producers to widen and expand their customer base. This unfortunately caused many businesses with a localised customer base to suffer. Paul bridged the gap created between the factories, which were closing, and the businesses which were expanding, by sourcing the right process equipment. Over the decades, as the market evolved, this business model proved very successful and allowed for expansion into projects, service and the distribution of parts and components. This expansion together with the knowledge and experience built up over many years gave Moodys an edge over the competition, enabling it to become a true one stop shop, supporting equipment from a huge range of original equipment manufacturers. In early 2016, Paul handed over the reins to David Tomlinson and Ken Wild following a management buyout of Moody Direct Ltd. At the time of the handover David, a qualified accountant, had been with Moody’s for 17 years as Financial Director. Ken joined in 2007 after Moody Direct acquired his business, Daken Stainless Products. With two Directors, one from a sales and engineering background and

David Tomlinson, Ken Wilde and Paul Moody one with a finance background, it provided the perfect balance of business acumen, engineering, product and customer knowledge. David and Ken are supported by NonExecutive Director, Paul Gregory who has been with the business for 33 years and founded the spares and components division over 20 years ago. However, the defining quality that makes Moody Direct so successful and what it is today, is its people. Many of whom have received their 10, 20, 30 and even 35 years long service awards. Paul Moody, Founder, said: “Five years ago the company celebrated its 40th anniversary and I announced my plans to stand down. We have weathered the storm of many uncertain times, including a severe economic recession. However, I’m confident in the knowledge that Moody’s will once again weather the storm of the current challenges posed by Covid-19, with David and Ken at the helm of a team of long serving, committed, talented employees.” The product range supported by Moody Direct incorporates: Pumps, Valves, Homogenisers, Separators, Plate Heat Exchangers, Pasteurisers, CIP Systems, Filling Machines, Tanks & Vessels, Conveyor & Product Handling, Pipework, Fittings plus much more. Find out more at, email or call 01777 701141

Andy Robinson celebrates his 35th year with Moody Direct this year

Moody Direct’s first ever service van in 1985

New online support from BFBi BFBi, the trade association formed in 1907 to represent the supply chain for the brewing and beverage industry, has launched Covid and Brexit support pages to assist the industry through this difficult time. The Brexit Support page is full of information to help prepare those in the beverage industry for the end of transition, new regulations, duty rates, customs brokerage, import and export, VAT and tax and more.

The Covid Support page contains financial support links, workplace guidance documents and member company support documents. Both pages are regularly monitored and are easily accessible from the BFBi’s homepage. In addition, BFBI encourages members and the wider industry to get in contact directly with any questions that cannot be answered currently on the pages. In addition, BFBI is pivoting from physical events to hosting an array of free virtual events around various topics for their

members and the wider industry to offer opportunities to network, upskill, learn from best practices or simply to socialise! To access BFBI’s Brexit Support go to To access BFBI’s Covid Support go to For more events info and to register for online events go to bfbi-14552782347 To see BFBI’s full events calendar go to | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Supplier news

20/20 vision for 2021 Myles Pinfold from brand design consultant WPA Pinfold is looking ahead to a brighter future… “As we stagger towards the end of, let’s say, a rather eventful year, it feels like a good moment to be looking forward to a positive future rather than regretting or staying rooted in these past difficult months. Recessions occur with alarming regularity – pandemics thankfully not so frequently – and both phenomena can have a significant impact on our lives and our livelihoods. Speaking from previous experience (of recessions, not pandemics) it is in times like these that you really do need a clearly defined plan for the future and a plan needs a vision.

Supplier Viewpoint

As individual businesses, we need to be flexible and agile but without losing sight of our beliefs and values. In adversity, they are what provide us with a constant reference point to underpin our vision. They sustain us and drive us towards greater success once we reach the good times ahead. Having a truly relevant vision will help to define our future strategy, align our people and differentiate us from our competitors. Imagining what others cannot see allows us to deliver what we believe to be possible. Behind every successful brand are those passionate leaders who inspire others to envisage the future in a new way. Martin Luther King put it best of all, of course: ‘I have a dream’. Being able to articulate a

dream motivates your people and provides your brand with an enduring legacy. It’s also worth remembering that as we start emerging from a recession this is the time of greatest opportunity. Companies who have the right business plan, on market and aligned to their vision, will continue to succeed. Your vision will help galvanise your employees and incentivise your customers and consumers. We must emerge into 2021, yes wiser and warier, but with true grit and determination, and fight to secure brighter future…” Myles Pinfold is founder and strategic director of WPA Pinfold. Find out more at

Increasing online sales with packaging The team at Saxon Packaging look at what boxes, branding and cost effective solutions are available to help you boost your online sales… “The year 2020 has brought with it many challenges, and with it, the necessity for businesses to drive online sales. With over 30 years’ experience in the packaging industry, we at Saxon Packaging understand the value of packaging and the role it plays in supporting online sales. With that in mind, we’ve outlined some key points businesses should consider when it comes to their packaging requirements. 1. What is the purpose of the packaging? This could well be the most important question to ask yourself. Is your primary objective functionality or do you need your packaging to deliver a brand experience? Are you simply transporting your product from A to B or will the packaging be on display? Is the packaging for a particular event/season such as Christmas? Is this the primary or secondary packaging? Having answers to these questions will help steer you towards what style and type of packaging you will require. 2. What is going inside the packaging and how is the package being transported? The size, weight and value of the product will determine which grade of material is used along with specific substrates and print processes recommended by a packaging supplier. Whether transported via your own vehicle, courier or bulk palletised (to name a few), consideration must be given to how the pack

will perform under varying conditions as this will influence how the packaging is designed and structurally engineered. Using recommended material grades can help to protect goods that are packaged inside and save on costs that would usually be incurred via damages during transportation. 3. What style of box are you looking for? Packaging comes in many sizes and styles. Whether for gift or eCommerce, we offer up-to-date innovative industry standard and bespoke packaging designs which can be designed to fit the products perfectly, whilst increasing product protection and reducing material use and waste. From simple designs with a one colour logo and easy to open tear strips through to intricate pieces of artwork (up to 8 colour print) with multiple perforations; we are able to provide packaging and print finishes to suit all requirements with both design and financial budgets in mind. If you are unsure on which style of box is best for you, our in-house design team can examine your product, label positioning, substrate and print finish requirements and collate the information in order to produce the most cost and visually effective packaging solution. 4. Are you looking to brand your packaging? There are multiple options available to brand your packaging, whether you need packaging to stand out and resonate with consumers or if you require something more modest like a company logo and a ‘Fragile, This Way Up’ stamp mark. Your packaging, (whether primary or secondary), could well be the first impression your brand makes on customers. At Saxon Packaging, we have an array of print processes and decorative print finishes & embellishments available to produce

Supplier Viewpoint

extraordinary and basic sustainable packaging solutions to your exacting requirements. 5. What is your packaging budget? We understand the significance of keeping costs low, especially in current times. As manufacturers, we have the buying power to purchase materials at competitive prices enabling us to offer our customers products and services at a competitive rate whilst maintaining high quality standards. With a wealth of experience behind us, we are able to produce packaging ensuring performance is met; costs are kept to a minimum and an end result that we are proud to have manufactured. 6. What is your minimum order quantity? We don’t have a minimum order quantity! We have the ability to produce ‘one-offs’ and low volumes if required, but we do offer cost-effective minimum order quantities which are determined by the area of material used, material type, style of box and print requirement.” For more information call 01502 513112, email or go to | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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NEXT COURSE: MARCH 2021 Rob Smith & David Smith Rob: 07966 693097 / David: 07970 629552


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Supplier news

European Malt Company celebrates 30 years with a look back at the history of the mini keg

Supplier Viewpoint

European Malt’s Jayne Swann looks back at the development of the company’s iconic mini keg, as it celebrates 30 years… “European Malt Company this year celebrates 30 years as a supplier to the brewing and beverage industry. A large proportion of our business has been the establishment of the 5 litre mini keg, so I thought it would be a good time to look at the history of the humble mini keg! Who invented the mini keg? Well it depends on your definition of the mini keg! There was certainly a lot of influence from the UK with the Watneys Party Seven. Watneys launched the Party Seven on 21st October 1968. The Party Seven was a staple at ‘knees ups’ across the nation in the 1970s. It was one of the first bulk containers for purchasing beer cheaply. In 1968, a Party Seven sold for 15 shillings (or 75p). In today’s money that would have been about £9. * How did you open a Party Seven? A ‘Can Piercer’ was the usual tool to open small cans of beer…but the Party Seven was made of thicker metal, designed to withstand the higher pressures and so the method of choice to open a Party Seven was normally the hammer and nail or hammer and screwdriver technique! You needed to punch two holes into the top. One hole let the beer out, the other let the air in. More often than not this would result in an impressive beer fountain, covering most of the surfaces and participants at the party, or worse still a visit by the opener to A&E! What was a Sparklets beer tap? At the launch of Party Seven, Watneys offered a Sparklets beer tap designed specially for the Party Seven. You could buy it for 59/9d (59 shillings and 9 pence) and you also got a voucher entitling you to one free Party Seven. The beer tap was expensive, in today’s money it would have been just under £40. Was the Party Seven a hit? Despite its less than perfect design the Watneys Party Seven was a huge success with millions sold. The benefit of this oversize can at this time was that it was a great alternative to bringing a crate of returnable bottles to a

party that you would need to remember to collect and return or lose your deposits on. The Party Seven was a real game changer at a time when PET did not exist and it was normal, for example, to buy your lemonade in returnable bottles, delivered by a local distributor. Bringing Watneys back! The Party Seven was an extremely popular part of 1970s young working class adult culture. Fifty years later and excitement about the brand has been reignited by Nick Whitehurst, co-founder of Watneys Beer Company. London-based Watneys first began brewing in 1837, and became a household name in the 20th century for producing one of Britain’s most infamous beers; Watneys Red Barrel. The beer sold under the Watneys name today is a far cry from the notoriously bland and below-par suds it offered up in the 70s. Nick says: “The nostalgia and history of Watneys give us provenance, but what we’ve done is taken this heritage and reinvented the brand to appeal to a whole new generation of drinkers.” ** Beer sommelier Jane Peyton describes the experience of pouring from a Huber mini keg as ‘a very satisfying experience to twist the nozzle and see and hear beer pouring into the glass. I particularly like the swooshing sound as the beer fills the glass. It’s a completely different experience to opening and pouring a bottle/can for one. There is an anticipation that this beer will be shared and what could be better than having a shared experience with friends or family with a really tasty beer and knowing there are 9 pints in the cask!’ ***

Getting the PartyKeg started! In 1991 whilst working for Rudebeck, Terry Swann started selling 5 litre PartyKegs made by German manufacturer Datagraf GmbH, Heilbronn, Germany (now closed). The keg was simple but required the purchase of additional accessories so that the consumers could tap the beer. Fun to use, but a bit expensive and fiddly. As 5 litres is approximately nine pints, Terry decided to call this the ‘Party Nine’, in a nod to its British predecessor the ‘Party Seven’. Terry subsequently joined Crisp Maltings in 1996, and in 1998 another German manufacturer ‘Huber Packaging Group’ improved the Datagraf keg by inventing the PartyKeg with integral tap. The simplicity of the 5 litre keg with integral tap is the key to its success today. No additional purchases are required and a non-drip hygienic tap makes this package both an economical and user friendly way to dispense draught beer from a large take home package. The development of the mini keg In 2000 Terry visited Huber Packaging at the Brau exhibition in Nuremberg and established the agency for Huber mini kegs in the UK and Ireland with European Malt Company Ltd. When I (his daughter Jayne) joined the company in 2010 I decided the name ‘PartyKeg’ was not so relevant as my generation did not have many parties and so I re-named the container a ‘mini keg’ as it is known worldwide today. Terry, who has worked in the brewing and beverage industry for over 44 years, recalls the experience of the Party Seven first hand: “Carrying a Watneys Party Seven meant you would always be welcomed in and in the end it could always double as an ash-tray – but preferably only when empty!” I bet he never imagined his daughter Jayne would be writing about it almost 50 years later!” Find out more at References

* party_seven.php ** *** | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


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Supplier news

Vigo launches CraftCan DUO™ Vigo Ltd has added one of the latest American Beer Equipment product innovations, the CraftCan DUO™, to its portfolio for UK craft breweries. The CraftCan DUO™16 includes all the features of the standard CraftCan™ but has a ‘dual-fill’ design, in the form of two filling lanes rather than one, filling at over twice the output (up to 90cpm) of the largest CraftCan model, the CraftCan35 (up to 35cpm). In addition, as a result of the DUO’s double lane, it can fill 2 different can sizes at once. Features include: • Speeds of up to 5,400 cph (90cpm) • 16-head fill system (8 per line) with purge & pulse on the same head • Dual touchscreen PLC controls for setup & monitoring of each lane • Simple changeover between can sizes • Ability to run two seperate can sizes (one on each lane if necessary) • CE marked • I ndustry leading & patented Servo Seaming technology, allowing for real-time seam monitoring, with dual seaming stations • Space efficient (length 3330mm) •C an easily be incorporated into existing lines or supplied as a full line (depalletiser, conveyor, packing tables etc.) Vigo’s Sales Director Andy Pegman said “We’re really pleased to be adding the DUO to our range. When we introduced the standard

CraftCan to the UK market in 2016, it became an integral stepping stone for craft breweries, enabling them to start canning on a craft scale on both a smaller budget and smaller footprint than other machines the UK market could offer. The new CraftCan DUO represents an attractive offering to breweries looking to increase their throughput and efficiency without the inhibitive costs of counter pressure filling lines. It is also our best future-proof canning option for breweries looking to start canning, who need the flexibility of dual-fill throughput and different can sizes.” With 38 canning line installations under their belt and more lines on order, Vigo offers a comprehensive supply, installation and commissioning service. For more information email, call 01404 892 100 or go to

Innovus Engineering installs more than 70 new canning machines Since the pandemic began, Innovus Engineering has supplied more than 70 canning machines to customers from Cornwall to Scotland, and in Europe as well. Two distinct sectors have emerged: pubs and bars deprived of customers using a small benchtop can seaming machine to offer a takeaway or delivery service; and breweries pivoting to small pack, to overcome loss of keg sales and investing in an on-site canning line. A major benefit of Innovus canning machines is that they are manufactured in the UK, which is critical to offering on site support. The equipment is designed for robustness and ease of use. Managing Director Matthew Day explained: “We use 316 stainless steel throughout our machines, which means they’re extremely hardwearing and safe to clean with caustic or any other cleaning agents. The other big advantage is the completely mechanical seaming mechanism, with a vacuum hardened cam, to ensure repeatability and consistent seams that pneumatic seamers simply cannot achieve. Changeover between can heights is quick and easy with our change part lifters. You can swap between a 330ml and 440ml can in just a few seconds on our semi-automatic machines.” The semi-automatic 10BEVM Can Closing Machine is a mechanical bench top seamer, that packs the power and seam integrity of a high-speed rotary seamer.

The CF10 Can Filling and Closing machine, also semi-automatic, is frame mounted and supplied on castors for ease of movement around the brewery. It has independent modules for filling and sealing cans, with simple push button control and a touch screen for easy filling adjustment. Innovus’ most recent launch, the CF25, is a fully automated canning line, with labeller, date coder, depalletiser and rotary collection table options. Innovus Engineering is also now the official distributor in the UK for CMCKuhnke seam analysis equipment. CMCKuhnke has been manufacturing can seam inspection equipment for nearly 50 years and is the global leader for double seam quality control. The SEAMscan package comprises equipment aimed specifically at the craft beer market. For more information go to | SIBA Independent Brewer | Winter 2020


Gold & Silver members

Gold members Brewers Select

Dan Unwin

Silver members

Alfa Laval

Rebecca Halpin

Charles Faram & Co Ltd Any of the Team

Anton Paar Ltd

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Close Brothers Brewery Rentals

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Beer Box Shop

Simon Hulse


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Murphy & Son Ltd

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Quality, Consistency & Support

Core Equipment Ltd

Jonathan Chaplin


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Crisp Malting Group

Rob Moody

Premier Systems Ltd Sam Williams

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Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Framax UK Limited

Elizabeth Smith


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Lallemand UK

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Muntons Plc

Vanessa Makings

Paktech OPI

Nancy Baker

Pentair Food & Beverage Solutions

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Rankin Brothers & Sons

Jim Rankin

Rastal GmbH & Co KG Nick Crossley

Saxon Packaging Ltd

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Vale Labels Ltd

John Riches

Vigo ltd

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SIBA contacts

PO BOX 136, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5WW

SIBA Head Office: 01765 640441

SIBA Team James Calder Chief Executive Sara Knox Company Secretary/ Directors Assistant Rachel Harriott Head of Operations Neil Walker Head of Comms & Marketing Barry Watts Head of Public Affairs & Policy Rebecca Kirby Financial Controller Louise Henley Operations Administrator

Board of Elected Directors Existing members wishing to contact your regional representatives can use the relevant regional e-mail addresses listed below. For individuals, just type Chairman of SIBA Ian Fozard

East Ian Rydings Marcus Beecher Richard Naisby

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Jenna Barningham Operations Administrator

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Elle Spencer-Blanchard Operations Assistant

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All General Enquiries contact


Winter 2020 | SIBA Independent Brewer |

Guy Sheppard Paul Arrowsmith

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Exe Valley Brewery Red Rock Brewery

Corvedale Brewery Boss Brewing Company Ltd

Our specially crafted Genuine Brewflex® hose assemblies for brewing are designed to not only meet stringent food hygiene standards and obligations but also help to minimise unnecessary and avoidable costs commonly caused by improperly recommended hose solutions.


Poorly maintained hoses can burst under pressure during a CIP regime. Caustic in eyes, boiling water being flushed through or loose fittings detaching from the hose can cause serious injury to employees and operators.


Hose liners can delaminate over time, especially if the wrong one is used, & (if not maintained) the microscopic particles can bypass filtration systems, into your beer, damaging product integrity.


HACCP. HSE, FDA 21.CFR.177.2600, EU Food Regulations (EC 1935/2004), Food Safety Act, Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP’s), SALSA Audits, 3A Sanitary Standards, 3.1B Material Traceability.

Get in touch now for your FREE HOSE HEALTH CHECK T:+44(0) 1753 570 099 “A hose is not just a hose…”

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