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ISSUE 115 WINT ER 2 0 1 9 /2 0








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TO THE WINTER ISSUE OF THE SIBA JOURNAL. As 2019 draws to a close and we prepare for what is going to be a big year for SIBA and its members, we thought we’d take a look back over the last 12 months at some of the people and businesses that have been leading the way this year. It has been another challenging year for the UK’s small independent craft brewers, with continued uncertainty caused by Brexit and financial pressures from an increasingly competitive beer market. Our SIBA British Craft Beer Report, released in March, showed for the first time that there are casualties in our part of the sector, with more small breweries closing than opening for the first time in the previous 12 months. And it was also the year that ‘big beer’ really woke up to the opportunity in this part of the beer market and started to focus on ‘crafty’ marketing strategies, emphasising ‘local’ and ‘hand-crafted’ credentials. This is undoubtedly a threat, but it also goes to prove how successful SIBA member breweries have been, how they have led innovation in the market and excited a new breed of beer consumer that is looking for something different, something of quality that is made by a business that shares their values. Where SIBA members lead, ‘big beer’ is now following. Looking back on the 2019 issues of the Journal I have been extremely lucky to have interviewed some incredibly inspiring people who really encapsulate what the independent beer scene in the UK is all about. No two breweries are the same within the SIBA membership and it is this wonderful diversity that makes SIBA such a great network to be part of. Collaboration and the exchanging of ideas is at the heart of what all the brewers I have met and spoken to do, and it is how the beers they produce continue to get better and better. I have a huge respect for all of you out there who are continuing to grow your business in uncertain times through your sheer hard work, determined focus on quality and understanding of your own local markets – you are the true heroes of 2019! For us at SIBA, 2019 has also been a big year, with a new Senior Management Team now in place (see page 7), including our

Society of Independent Brewers PO Box 136, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 5WW Tel: 01765 640 441 www.siba.co.uk Email: riponoffice@siba.co.uk

new CEO James Calder, who we feature in our Big Interview in this issue on pages 30-37 giving his perspective on his first six months in post and his hopes for SIBA in its 40th anniversary year in 2020. Elsewhere in this issue, we feature some of the people and businesses that have really shone in 2019. Our Meet the Brewer section features Ross Hunter from Surrey Hills Brewery in Dorking who lifted the trophy this year at CAMRA’s GBBF as the Champion Beer of Britain winner with his beer Shere Drop (see pages 21-27). Our Guest Columnist on page 29 is one of the best known voices on Beer Twitter, the author, beer sommelier, and frequent beer collaborator Melissa Cole who gives us her views on the highs and lows of 2019 and what she expects from 2020. Another big name from the last 12 months is Wild Beer Co, which is the brewery most often name-checked in 2019 by my interviewees as a business that continues to inspire them. I interviewed founder Andrew Cooper for our Business Profile feature (see pages 46-53) to find out how Wild Beer Co has made such an impact with its range of barrel-aged beers, sours and fruit styles, very much leading a revolution since launching in 2012. Finally, we visited The Netherlands and Brouwerij de Molen for our Around the World feature this issue (see pages 40-45), to find out more about this international brewer who’s imperial stouts have become a benchmark in the beer world.

The next issue of the Journal, to be launched at BeerX UK in March 2020, is going to be a very special bumper issue, celebrating SIBA’s 40th anniversary year. Please send me your usual updates, news and views – but I’d especially like to hear your thoughts and memories of SIBA over the last four decades. Email me at caroline.nodder@siba.co.uk, before the deadline for submissions on January 20th. Happy reading!


CAROLINE NODDER EDITOR, SIBA JOURNAL caroline.nodder@siba.co.uk

Editor: Caroline Nodder (caroline.nodder@siba.co.uk) 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 (darren@wearema.co.uk) Studio Manager: Jon Hardy (jon@wearema.co.uk) Advertising Manager: Claire Rooney (claire@wearema.co.uk) Managing Director: Dan Rooney (dan@wearema.co.uk)

Printed by: Printwize, 9 Stepfield, Witham, Essex CM8 3BN

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.




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2019/20 ISSUE 115






PAGES 21-27

NEWS 9-15 72-75 80-87 88-97

8 17 29 39 71



All the news from SIBA HQ


The winning beers from the North West and Scottish regional competitions


The latest from our Brewing Members around the UK


News and views from SIBA’s Supplier Associate Members

21-27 30-37 40-45 46-53


James Calder introduces SIBA’s new Senior Management Team


Ian Fozard looks ahead to 2020, SIBA’s 40th anniversary year


Barry Watts looks at recent political events


Author and Beer Sommelier Melissa Cole looks back on a big year for beer


Lyall Dew from Sixpenny Brewery considers the highs and lows of the last 12 months



PAGES 40-45




Brewlab’s Dr Keith Thomas on probiotics

SIBA MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS What SIBA is delivering for brewers


Ross Hunter, founder of Surrey Hills Brewery in Dorking, tells us about his winning year


SIBA’s CEO James Calder looks back on his first six months in the role and ahead to plans for 2020


We learn more about The Netherlands’s iconic Brouwerij de Molen


Wild Beer Co founder Andrew Cooper on his passion for fermentation







Everything you need to know about the 2020 event

Advice on law, digital, finance & cellar management

Premier Systems and Brewers Select








Listing of our key sponsors

Introducing two of SIBA’s team members

Contact details for key SIBA staff



ONE 01733 889100


A l l yo ur brewing ingredie nt s


Meet Your New


SIBA SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM SIBA has had a lot of positive changes over the last 12 months and a large part of that has been the appointment of a new Senior Management Team (SMT) who are leading SIBA’s staff team in achieving the trade association’s key strategic directions. I thought as we look back over 2019 and ahead to an exciting 2020 now would be a good time to introduce any new SIBA members to our SMT and highlight the areas in which they are Delivering for Brewers. Cheers!

James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive

Rachel Harriott SIBA Head of Operations Rachel oversees SIBA’s Commercial and Operational activity including managing the SIBA Operations team based at SIBA’s Head Office in Ripon, and all SIBA beer and event logistics. If you have any questions regarding SIBA’s Operations activity open to you as a SIBA Member, or would like to find out more about member services such as cask repatriation, FSQ, beer competitions or Beerflex then drop a line to the team via riponoffice@siba.co.uk

Responsible for: Commercial Operations, Logistics, Beerflex, FSQ

Neil Walker SIBA Head of Communications & Marketing Neil looks after SIBA’s marketing, press and communications activity including internal member comms such as the SIBA websites and Brewing in Brief, as well as external press and publicity. If you have any questions regarding promoting your business through SIBA Beer or Business Awards, making best use of the Assured Independent British Craft Brewer seal, or how to make best use of social media, press, or marketing then drop Neil a line via neil.walker@ siba.co.uk

Responsible for: Communications, Marketing, Press, Events

Barry Watts SIBA Head of Public Affairs & Policy Barry is SIBA’s man in Westminster, leading on our Government lobbying work and ensuring the voice of independent brewers is heard in Parliament, as well as keeping our members the right side of new legislation and policy which affects your business. If you have questions regarding Small Breweries' Relief, the proposed Deposit Return Scheme, beer tax, or how you can better engage with your local MP then email Barry on barry.watts@siba.co.uk

Responsible for: Government Lobbying, Public Affairs, Policy, Legislation





SIBA AT 40 By the time you read this we should know the result of the General Election and know whether we have achieved much needed political stability or a further period of uncertainty. All businesses desperately need a stable environment – we live in hope! SIBA celebrates its 40th Anniversary next year. We all owe a huge debt to those pioneers who had the vision to start our organisation and to those who have helped SIBA move forward over the last 40 years - the next issue of the SIBA Journal will revisit many of SIBA’s achievements over that time. For now, I’d like to concentrate on what SIBA is doing for our members today and on the back of this, because I believe that SIBA membership has so much to offer, I’d like to encourage all SIBA members to aim to recruit just one new member in 2020. That would really transform our organisation. It would give us a much more powerful voice within the industry and also help us move towards a completely sustainable future, free of the need to generate commercial income to support the organisation. It is easy to forget the many benefits that members enjoy for what is, I believe, a modest annual subscription – for the smallest brewer it is equivalent to just the cost of one pint of beer in a pub each week! To name a few of the many member benefits – BeerX UK (the UK’s biggest and best beer trade show), Government lobbying by skilled professionals, FSQ



accreditation (a stepping stone to SALSA), free legal advice via the SIBA Helpline, our Annual Benchmarking Survey, free tools to support your business (HACCP, Labelling Guidelines, Product Costing), discounts on trade purchases and many more. That list doesn’t include beer competitions, which are free to enter unlike just about every other industry competition. Our competitions are evolving and improving – SIBA South East Director Jaega Wise is working with the Competitions Committee to create higher standards of judging and feedback for members in line with the US BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Programme) guidelines – this will be trialled at the South East Keg Competition to be held in partnership with the London Beer Alliance in February 2020. And Beerflex, our unique scheme for smaller members to sell beer into otherwise unattainable places is also evolving – good progress is being made in ensuring that flexible and ethical pricing will be adopted by all purchasers during 2020. In simple terms this will mean that brewers are able to specify the price at which their beer is bought – of course this can never guarantee that a sale will occur but this change will deliver what members have asked for. I believe that the biggest challenge our industry faces is the decline of cask beer – it has been said that cask represents the pinnacle of the brewer’s art and this decline is a huge challenge. We continue to debate why cask is in decline and SIBA will be devoting considerable energy to this in 2020, working with industry partners to try to reverse this trend. I’d like to add a few thoughts as to what all brewers can do to assist this initiative. Served in good condition, great quality cask ale is the original ‘premium product’ and we have a huge opportunity

to raise its profile if we work together. Here are some ideas: We can help our customers understand that differential price points for differing types and strengths of cask beer are sensible and will maximise their profitability from selling cask. We can help better their understanding of correct temperature and serve and, now that CAMRA has relented, we can encourage the use of cask aspirators in slower moving outlets. We can help beer drinkers better understand and appreciate that cask beer requires extra care and attention in the cellar and offers greater depth of flavour and fulfilment than other beer. We can encourage the pairing of cask ales with food and explain why they work well together. By improving our point of sale labelling and products and encouraging the use of “try before you drink” samples, we can help our customers maximise their cask throughput. We can promote the fact that supporting ‘local’ beer and breweries provides local employment opportunities and reduces the cost to the environment through reduced ‘beer miles’ and a lower carbon footprint. So, here are two challenges to all members for 2020 – Recruit a new SIBA member and devise your own local campaign to help reverse the decline in cask. SIBA will be producing material that can help you in these endeavours, Good Luck! Cheers


IAN FOZARD CHAIRMAN ian.fozard@siba.co.uk


The SIBA Business Awards are open for entries – with a new category for taprooms! The SIBA Business Awards will once again be presented at BeerX UK in March and are open for entries until the end of January 2020. For the first time the 2020 Awards include a new category for the UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Taproom, following huge growth in the number of breweries opening their doors and serving beer on-site.

introduced in response to the success of the beer market in the UK and the growing importance to recognise those businesses going the extra mile. The awards are unique in that they are judged by those from within the industry rather than publications or other awards bodies looking in.

The 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. The independent craft beer retailer, bar and restaurant categories were

SIBA Business Awards 2020 Categories • Commercial Achievement • Best Individual Design • Best Concept Design • Supplier Associate of the year

• UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Restaurant • Best Independent Craft Beer Promotion • UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Taproom


Entries are now open online for the 2020 SIBA Business Awards and you can find full details of the criteria for each category plus the online entry form by going to: www.siba.co.uk/business-awards/




20 •

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a winner?



• UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer - Multiple


• Business Innovation


• Green Business

• UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer - Single


• Marketing Implementation


“The SIBA Business Awards seek to acknowledge the most forwardthinking, innovative and successful beer businesses and have evolved yearon-year to include categories which best match with the direction of the independent craft brewing industry – one of the most exciting sectors in the UK. The quality and quantity of entries has gone from strength to strength in recent years so if you believe your business is the best in the UK at what you do then I would urge you to take a look at this year’s awards, they’re set to be the best ever.” Neil Walker, SIBA Business Awards judging chair.


A big thank you to all those SIBA Members who completed the 2019 Cost Benchmarking Survey! Thanks to all those brewers who participated in the 2019 Cost Benchmarking survey being carried out with the support of SIBA Associate Supplier members, accounting firm UHY Hacker Young. The survey gives participants a unique insight into how you are performing against your competitors. All businesses need comparative information to assess how they are performing against their competitors. By participating in this unique survey of the UK independent craft brewing industry you’ll gain valuable

knowledge never before available. This should enable you to target improvements in your business performance. All participants will receive a free copy of the SIBA Benchmarking Report by email (non-participants will be charged £100 for a copy of the full report).

Email rebecca.kirby@siba.co.uk for more information and thank you also to UHY Hacker Young for their partnership and support.





Our independent craft brewers need clarity on deposit returns

SIBA Chief Executive James Calder wrote a recent article in BusinessGreen on the proposed Deposit Return Schemes outlining the impact such a scheme could have on SIBA member breweries and his concerns about the proposals: “Britain has stood at the forefront of the craft revolution in beer. Our country’s independent craft brewers constantly innovate to bring drinkers new, exciting and refreshing beer styles from fruity saisons to Double IPAs to our bars, pubs and bottle shops. Small brewers are also continually seeking ways to make their breweries more sustainable and are conscious of their environmental impact. From water recapture, reed bed technology, thinner glass bottles and better use of spent grain, our craft brewers lead the way. This is why there is much in the Government’s proposed Environment Bill, introduced as part of the Queen’s Speech, that is of interest to brewers. We recognise that the time has come for a radical shift in the way we tackle waste. More needs to be done and recycling rates are not as high as they could be or as high as other European countries. This Bill is ambitious and intends to introduce measures through a deposit return scheme, recycling and extended producer responsibility, that will fundamentally change the way we all produce and consume products.

Given how interconnected our markets are – where beer brewed in Cornwall can be enjoyed in Aberdeen – we need a fully thought out system that considers all the issues in their totality to maximise efficiency and to minimise waste. However, and what concerns our brewers, is that this isn’t going to be the case. With Scotland ploughing ahead with their own Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) planned for 2021, we do not know whether the one planned for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (expected in 2023) will be interoperable with the Scottish scheme. As small businesses which are capital and people intensive, independent craft brewers need certainty. At first a DRS sounds pretty straight forward. For who can grumble at handing over a deposit for each plastic and glass bottle and every can of drink and then get it back when they return it to a shop? Surely this will help drive recycling and encourage us all to change our behaviour? However, such a scheme is much more complex and the ways in which businesses and consumers will have to adapt is massive. Brewers, under the Scottish proposals to fund the scheme, will have to pay registration fees of hundreds of pounds and producer fees which vary by container and could be between 1.5p5p per can and bottle. In addition, the only comprehensive way to achieve the scheme is to have a new label on each container sold in Scotland, potentially with a barcode, which can be accepted by Reverse Vending Machines – designed to collect returned deposits. Space on labels in finite and some of our members don’t even have barcodes on their labels. Then there is the impact of dealing with returns in small brewery shops and tap rooms. For a small business, cashflow is king and our brewers need to know where they stand. While global beer brands can more easily adapt to costs, small brewers cannot. There is a fear that breweries based in London, Bristol and Manchester may stop selling their beers in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness because of the costs – inevitably reducing the choice and availability of independent craft beer in Scotland. Given that the Environment Bill will also introduce changes to extended producer responsibility – it needs to work together with a DRS to ensure that there is no ‘double taxation’ on products that are recycled, where products have to pay



through both schemes. No one wants to see the closure of breweries or the reduction in the choice and variety of beer. But we need to ensure that changes to tackle waste work for the whole of Britain. MPs debating the Queen’s Speech and looking at the Environment Bill should give consideration to how we can make it a success. In our opinion, we need a single scheme across all of Britain or a completely inter-operable systems based on the same principles. Differing requirements would be a disaster for manufacturers and cause confusion for consumers. Recycling rates may not go up as much as desired and the potential for fraud across borders will be high. Any scheme should have a de-minimis threshold so that small producers do not have to pay for expensive infrastructure, costs and fees due to the disproportionate burden it would place on them. We also need to adopt an evidence-based approach which shows that when recycling rates go up, consumers benefit and small producers, such as brewers, are not harmed directly.

We also need to be understood what problem we’re trying to solve. With effective kerbside collections already in place, we wouldn’t want to undermine this. It is products used on-the-go and plastic containers that are littered most frequently and the most visible elements. Perhaps a scheme should, at least initially, focus on plastic waste, allowing lessons to be learnt. Small businesses also need time to prepare and require a timescale which is realistic. Independent craft brewers want to do their bit for the environment. They care about sustainability and improving the impact they have on the world. Now is the opportunity to get this right for our brewers and for our country, but only if we have a scheme that’s properly designed.”


Love Beer London: SIBA South East collaborates on a new craft keg beer festival aiming to be force for good A new beer festival in London King’s Cross is set to bring together over a hundred of the best breweries from across London and the South East, in an exciting three day charity beer festival. ‘Love Beer London’ is a new collaborative project between the London Brewers Alliance, SIBA South East, and Craft Beer Cares, who are helping to run the festival and donating all of the event proceeds to The Benevolent – a trade charity that provides help and support to current and former employees of the drinks industry and their families. Jaega Wise, Head Brewer at Wild Card Brewery in Walthamstow and an Elected Director for SIBA South East, said about the upcoming festival: “Over the last 10 years the brewing scene in London has gone from strength to strength and in my opinion is now one of the most exciting beer cities in Europe, with more breweries

springing up in communities across the Capital every few months. With Love Beer London we are bringing together all of the best breweries from across London and the South East into one huge new beer festival, serving a broad range of beer styles of the highest quality in an amazing event space just behind King’s Cross station. It’s the first time that SIBA have partnered with the London Brewers Alliance and we’re hugely excited about the broad range of craft breweries and beer styles that will feature at the festival, so as well as modern hop-forward IPAs and Pale Ales there will be lots of traditional bitters, porters and stronger English ales, as well as speciality and mixed-fermentation beers. It genuinely will have something for everybody.” The event is also aiming to be a force for good, as well as showcasing good beer, enlisting Craft Beer Cares to run and staff the event with volunteers and donating all proceeds to charity. All of the organisations involved – SIBA, London Brewers Alliance and Craft Beer Cares – are not-for-profits and it means the event itself can have a positive impact on the industry, as well as serving the very best beer that London has to offer. The festival is running across three days from the 13th-15th of February, with sessions on Thursday 13th 17.30 – 23.00,

Questions regarding your branding? SIBA are here to help With alcohol labelling back in the trade press (is it ever out?) we want to remind members that we are on your side and if you have any questions regarding your labelling, or if a complaint has been submitted to the Portman Group regarding one of your products, then we are here to help. We are just a phone call or email away and will not only advise but help fight on your behalf to get the best possible outcome. SIBA are also making the strongest case possible that the high quality beers made by SIBA Members are not in any way similar to the high strength, low quality drinks such as super strength ciders that are to blame for much of the problems around alcohol in the UK, and which are the real target of the new 'immoderate consumption' guidelines regarding products containing more than 4 units in an unsealable container.

Again, any questions drop us a line! Email: membership@siba.co.uk

Friday 14th 11.30 – 16.30, Friday 14th 18.00 to 23.00, Saturday 15th 11.30 – 16.30 and Saturday 15th 18.00 – 23.00.

Tickets are priced at £12 per session and include a branded glass, with beer set to be priced at a very reasonable £2 per half pint, with some High ABV exceptions at £3 per half pint. For more information or to buy your ticket visit www.lovebeerlondon.co.uk

Struggling to locate missing containers? Check Spa Trak Log in to spa-trak.co.uk to see where your containers are in order to arrange collection. All possessing yards (except Kegwatch Clearing yards) can hold containers not bearing the SIBA orange label for a minimum of 28 days before requesting uplift by Kegwatch. It is vital that brewers check Spa Trak weekly to ensure containers are collected before 28 days in order to avoid any unexpected uplift charges. This timescale should also allow sufficient time for queries to be raised with possessing yards who may be holding containers which have potentially been collected from trading accounts in error. Containers uplifted after 28 days (not bearing a SIBA orange label) are recharged to brewers by NCRNet.

For log in details please email admin@kegwatch.co.uk.





SIBA Orange Labels Brewers should use SIBA orange labels on all containers being directly delivered to pubs.

Do you know of any companies or premises holding large numbers of containers? Whatever the size of your brewery, delay in getting your containers back, or losing containers altogether, represents a massive cost to the industry.

SIBA are continuing discussions with third party companies and requesting increased dray briefings on the incorrect uplift of SIBA orange stickered casks. If these briefs are to work SIBA need as many of their brewing members using the orange labels to increase their visibility out in the trade.

If you wish to order more labels please email orangelabels@ siba.co.uk batches of 500 are available for £32.50+vat and if applied to clean dry containers will last up to 6-8 washes.

If empty containers are left at retail premises for too long, licensees want them out of the way, often leading to them being incorrectly collected by another supplier or becoming a potential target for metal thieves. SIBA is actively working with the industry and brewers to try to ease the burden of this issue on our members.

Please help us to identify and contact these companies – please send any information you have to containers@siba.co.uk – all details provided will be kept confidential.

Windswept Brewing Co and Cairngorm Brewery win overall Golds at the SIBA Scotland Independent Beer Awards beer competition with Wolf – a dark and strong Scottish ale named after the Wolf of Badennoch, infamous for burning down Elgin cathedral in 1390.

Windswept Brewing Co and Cairngorm Brewery have taken home the two top spots at the coveted SIBA Scotland Independent Beer Awards 2019. The prestigious awards, this year hosted by Arran View Brewery in Dreghorn, are judged in a blind tasting by brewers and beer experts and seen very much as the brewers’ choice awards in the industry. Windswept Brewing Co in Lossiemouth took home the overall Gold in the cask

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Nigel Tiddy, Managing Director of Windswept said: “We’re overjoyed to win this prestigious award for our Wolf beer at the Scottish independent beer awards. It’s great to get this recognition and see our beers doing so well and it’s great for the guys who brew our beer to such a high quality and consistency. Being awarded the overall champion shows we are doing the right thing and providing a quality product that people enjoy drinking.” Cairngorm Brewery based in Aviemore swept the competition with seven awards including the overall Gold in the Bottle and Can competition with Black Gold – a stout with a smooth sweetness and a dry finish. David Dingwall, Head of Sales at

Cairngorm Brewery accepted the award: “We are over the moon to receive this coveted award for Black Gold and see our beers receive seven awards at the SIBA Scotland Independent Beer Awards. At Cairngorm Brewery our fantastic team works hard to produce high quality beers and we are thrilled to see our beers recognised in this way.” SIBA’s Competitions Chairman Guy Sheppard was on hand to present the awards and had this to say on the quality of entries this year: “All the beers entered into the Scottish independent beer awards this year were of immense quality and there was tough competition for the top awards. Congratulations to all our winners and in particular Windswept and Cairngorm who managed to take Gold.”

For the full list of winners and photos from the event go to pages 74 and 75.

All SIBA Tools including the HACCP Tool, Traceability Tool and detailed Health & Safety Tool, previously charged at £50 each, are now available to all Brewing Members FREE of charge. In addition, alongside our costs benchmarking survey we're going to re-jig, improve and re-launch the brewery costs calculating tool. Also free for brewing members!





Blackedge Brewing Co and Hawkshead Brewery win overall Golds at the SIBA North West Independent Beer Awards Blackedge Brewing Co and Hawkshead Brewery have taken home the two top spots at the coveted SIBA North West Independent Beer Awards 2019.

home the top award in the Bottle & Can competition, winning overall Gold with Route 590 – an IPA named after the Cumbrian west coast road, A590.

The awards were held at the Macron stadium in Bolton, and are judged in a blind tasting by brewers and beer experts and seen very much as the brewers’ choice awards in the industry.

Brewer Alex Routledge accepted the award on behalf of the team: “We’re really pleased to be named overall champion for our Route 590 IPA. Our team works really hard to make the best beer possible and its fantastic to be recognised for the hard work we put in.”

Blackedge Brewing Co in Horwich, Lancashire, took home the overall Gold in the cask beer competition with their West Coast golden ale – a 4.1% beer brewed with west coast pacific hops. Director and Head Brewer Wayne Roper accepted the award saying: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed to win this coveted award for our West Coast golden ale. This is the second year that our beer has been recognised at the awards and I wish to give full credit to everyone who has helped produce this beer and to making the SIBA event happen.” Hawkshead Brewery in Cumbria took

SIBA’s Competitions Chairman Guy Sheppard was on hand to present the awards. He said: “Every year the beer just gets better and better and the standard of brewing on display at the SIBA North West Independent Beer Awards was exceptional. Our judges had a really hard time choosing the winners. I’d like to congratulate Blackedge and Hawkshead for winning the overall champion Gold – the top award on offer.”

Attended a recent beer competition? Tag yourself in our photos on Facebook! Wherever possible we upload all of the competition photos to our Facebook page so why not take a look and then tag you or your colleagues in the photos? /SocietyOfIndependentBrewers

Also check out our Instagram! We try to give a behind-the-scenes look of events via our Instagram, as well as sharing some of the best photos of our members' beers featuring the Assured Independent British Craft Brewer logo.

For the full list of winners and photos from the event go to pages 72 and 73.


Use the SIBA Independence seal! The SIBA Assured Independent British Craft Brewer seal is open and free to use by any SIBA Brewing Member. You do not need to have the FSQ to use the seal and we would encourage every single SIBA member to download and start using the seal today. If you can't yet add to your cans, bottles or pump clips then why not add to your website or social media?

Logos can be downloaded via the Toolbox at www.siba.co.uk, or if you have any questions email our Head of Comms & Marketing Neil Walker via Neil.Walker@siba.co.uk

SIBA Practical Guide to Labelling As part of our 'Delivering for Brewers' member benefits initiative the SIBA Practical Guide to Labelling is now live on the Member's Toolbox.

If you have any questions regarding the guide please email membership@siba.co.uk

This guide sets out exactly what you should be showing on your bottle, can, cask and keg labels including what is mandatory by law and what is advised - ie best practice.

You can download the guide via Toolbox and all of the most important symbols have also been made available via the Toolbox Filing Cabinet, so to view the Labelling Guide and the various symbol files please visit toolbox.siba.co.uk and click Filing Cabinet > Artwork & Logos > Packaging Symbols.

The guide includes advice on allergens, recycling, alcohol units, best before dates and a range of other symbols and information which affect packaged beer products.




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The View from Westminster


In his first column for the Journal, SIBA’s new Head of Public Affairs and Policy Barry Watts updates you on some of the things that SIBA has been doing in Westminster (and beyond) on your behalf.

Deposit Return Schemes An issue that needs to be on every brewers’ radar are the proposals for Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) in the UK. In essence it would mean that shoppers will have to pay a deposit for the container they buy which they will get back when they return it. It’s an initiative which has a worthy aim – to reduce our impact on the environment and to encourage recycling – but its fraught with complexity and cost. In September the Scottish Government announced the details of its proposed scheme, scheduled to come into force by 2021. It will see a 20 pence deposit charged on every plastic and glass bottle and aluminium can. This will not only impact our 60 members in Scotland but also those who sell beer into Scotland (directly or via wholesalers). As it is currently proposed, brewers will have to be registered to sell in Scotland, pay producer and registration fees and in all likelihood have a separate label and barcode. We’ve been making your voice heard, talking to Members of the Scottish Parliament and officials, to explain what impact it will have on small brewers. If you want to write yourself, there are example letters on the SIBA website www.siba.co.uk/deposit-return-schemescotland/ Separately in London, the Government announced its Environment Bill as part of the Queen’s Speech. This will include a DRS for England, Wales and Northern Ireland planned for 2023 which may or may not be inter-operable with the Scottish scheme. We have been meeting with DEFRA officials to explain the difficulties faced by brewers who need certainty and are less able to absorb costs than Global brewers.

We have been meeting with DEFRA officials to explain the difficulties faced by brewers who need certainty and are less able to absorb costs than Global brewers.

Small Breweries’ Relief review At the time of writing this (October), the Treasury are still considering its response to the SBR consultation earlier in the year, which saw 500 of you give your views. We expected an announcement as part of the Autumn Budget – which was scheduled for November 6th but politics is in such flux at the moment that this has now changed. Over the last few weeks we’ve been holding back to back meetings with the new ministers, their teams and MPs to make the case for small brewers. This has included meetings with Number 10, the Chancellor and Ministers. It is vital that we keep up the pressure and I would encourage you to write to your MPs and let them know why SBR matters. If you want help making contact or inviting them to visit your brewery do get in contact with me.

Labelling With our attention totally focused on Brexit, it often appears to me that we are less alert to changes in Brussels which continue to affect our industry and our lives. One recent example is the announcement by the Brewers of Europe on labelling. The group and its members signed an


agreement to include ingredients and energy values on all beer bottles and cans in the EU by 2022. While many craft brewers in the UK already voluntarily do this, the way the organisation is set up means we don’t get a seat at the table. With only one trade body per member country being allowed to join, it means that they are less representative of the views of independent craft breweries. With this in mind, Shane Swindells (SIBA Director and owner of the Cheshire Brewhouse) and I went over the Brussels to make your views heard. Labelling can be more complex for small brewers, where the inclusion of fruit and other specialist ingredients can alter the calorie content over time. Even though the UK is planning to leave the EU shortly (and may have left by the time you read this), we should not forget the importance of continuing to engage with other organisations and partners across Europe and beyond. This is why SIBA is working with other independent craft beer organisations to form the Independent Brewers of Europe.

Get in touch I may be new to SIBA but I’m not new to brewing or craft beer. It’s important for me to learn more from you as brewers on the front line so I can represent you to the best of my ability to politicians and to Government. Please do get in touch at any time if I can help you or if you want to learn more about what we are doing to make the case for independent craft beer. 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@siba.co.uk or 07977837804.



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Membership Benefits BRITISH INDEPENDENT BREWING GOVERNMENT LOBBYING BREWERS’ VOICES ARE BEING HEARD SIBA continues to lobby on behalf of members and upped its game during 2018/2019 pushing forward the SIBA Proposal on Small Brewers Relief, meeting more politicians and policy makers to make sure brewers’ voices are heard. Following a duty freeze in January 2019 which could have seen Britains brewer’s be hit by £100m, SIBA will continue to defend SBR at current levels whilst lobbying for positive reform.

BEER AWARDS SIBA INDEPENDENT BEER AWARDS SIBA’s Independent Beer Awards take place throughout the UK, with 8 Regional competitions and a national final held at BeerX UK each year. As well as gaining valuable local and national press coverage, award winning beers have the opportunity to participate in the SIBA Taste of Champions catalogue which will raise the profile of your business and products to a number of leading retailers both in the on and off trade.

SIBA offers brewing members a wide range of benefits. If there are any membership benefits you would like SIBA to investigate, then please email your ideas to membership@siba.co.uk

Here is a reminder of just some of SIBA’s current membership benefits: COMPLIANCE

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.


As well as our existing range of SIBA Member Benefits we are going to be launching new tools, benefits and opportunities throughout the year with our ‘Delivering for Brewers’ initiative. Watch this space!

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.





NEWS & COMMUNICATIONS KEEPING MEMBERS UP TO SPEED Every quarter SIBA Members receive a copy of the SIBA Journal 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, the SIBA Journal is your portal to the wider world of independent brewing. Weekly you also receive ‘Brewing in Brief’, which drops into members’ email inboxes to give a snapshot of the weeks industry news, SIBA internal news and important dates for the diary!


SIBA’S ‘Assured Independent British Craft Brewer’ seal can only be used free of charge by all SIBA member breweries like you who are independent, relatively small, and brewing quality beer as assured by the SIBA Food Safety & Quality standard. 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. If you have any questions email neil.walker@siba.co.uk

BEERX UK FREE ENTRY TO THE UK’S LARGEST INDEPENDENT CRAFT BREWING TRADE SHOW BeerX UK is the UK’s biggest and best independent craft brewing event, with a huge trade-only showcase of awardwinning beers, an ever expanding trade show of hundreds of the best beer industry suppliers, as well as a packed schedule of seminars, panel debates and workshops. Brewing & Not Yet Brewing Members are entitled to 1 Free of Charge Ticket to SIBA’s Annual event BeerX UK – BeerX UK 2020 11-12th March is certainly not to be missed!

PROMOTION MARKETING SIBA BREWERIES The SIBA Team work with selected Trade Shows and industry events - such as Imbibe Live, Ei Road Shows, the British Guild of Beer Writers Dinner, The Michelin Guide Launch - in order to raise the profile of our members and help engage the right people with the fantastic independent craft beers you brew.





er, first as 80s – Homebrew 19 dmi e th om Fr then at ter University as nc La at t en a stud uation home after grad Triple fff ainee Brewer at Tr – 04 20 – 2003 shire Brewery in Hamp ey Hills Founder of Surr – 05 20 – 04 20 wns where te in North Do si st fir on y Brewer n 2005 production bega under of – Owner and Fo 2001 – Present t site on en ewery at curr Surrey Hills Br tate, Dorking Denbies Wine Es Beer of CAMRA Champion of er nn Wi – 2019 ere Drop Britain for Sh

One of the high points in any brewer’s career has to be winning the Champion Beer of Britain Award at CAMRA’s annual Great British Beer Festival, but doing just that last summer has certainly not changed Ross Hunter or the brewery he founded back in 2005, Surrey Hills. Just the opposite is true, and Ross is more determined than ever to put his own local market at the heart of everything he does with the business, ignoring the temptation with a big win like that to fulfil the inevitable national orders that come in on the back of it. Local is everything at Surrey Hills, with 95% of the brewery’s beers travelling less than 15 miles from the brewery on the picturesque Denbies Wine Estate outside Dorking to their destination in the county’s beer-led local pubs. Those that sell the beers are evangelical about it, and, says Ross, this means that they keep it well and ensure Surrey Hills maintains the quality that is the focus of the operation. The local community has embraced the brewery and its beers so wholeheartedly that Ross and his team don’t have to employ the usual sales and marketing techniques others need to keep sales up.

Ross is extremely modest about his achievements at Surrey Hills, but you can hear the passion in his voice for the beers and business he has created, a passion that started to burn in him even as a young boy growing up in Guilford visiting local pubs with his father and siblings. He knew even at that age, when he was allowed just a sip of his dad’s favourite beers, that he wanted to learn how to make it. And that dream was realised in 2005 when he found a remote site in the North Downs and turned a derelict farm building into his first operational brewery, founding Surrey Hills and starting his brewing journey. Now on its second site near Dorking, the brewery quickly grew by word-of-mouth and is still producing the same style of pale hop forward ales loved by locals and licensees alike. Caroline Nodder from the SIBA Journal spoke to Ross about his big win, and what the ethos is behind the beers he brews…






As with so many good ideas, Ross Hunter first came up with the concept of starting his own brewery while sipping beer in a pub garden. The difference here, though, is that Ross was only a young boy at the time, trying a sip of his father’s beer, and wondering how he could make such a thing when he grew up. He explains: “It started very very early for me as a young child. I am one of four kids and we used to go to the pub with my father – the classic bottle of coke and a bag of crisps in the garden! And we were all allowed a sip of his beer even at a young age, and my brothers and sister used to screw their face up but I would take a big mouthful and think ‘I want to make this when I am older’.” That spark of an idea stayed with Ross throughout his later teenage years and by the time he was a student at Lancaster University he was already playing around with a home brewing kit and making his own beers from scratch. “After I graduated I applied to breweries for work but they weren’t really too keen – they felt I was over-qualified and I’d get bored quickly,” says Ross. “So I ended up picking up other work until I felt I was in a position to start my own brewery. It finally got to the point where I felt the bank would take me seriously if I asked for a loan so I went for it!” This was 2004, and after successfully applying for a loan, Ross began looking for his dream site in the rural countryside of Surrey, near where he grew up. He also went to work for a six month stint on the brewing team at Triple fff Brewery in Hampshire where he supplemented his knowledge as a small scale home brewer with hand-on experience and training in how to translate the process into a larger scale operation.

“I ended up spending about six months with them,” says Ross. “I was confident in brewing beer, but it’s one thing cleaning pots and pans at home and another thing cleaning a massive vessel. I had no concept of how to do that and the information on that sort of commercial cleaning aspect of brewing was pretty scarce at the time. “I had a picture in my head of a rural location for the brewery so I ended up cold calling about 20 farms close to where I live, and it wasn’t going too well finding the right premises. But there is an estate nearby that had a derelict agricultural building and farm site they didn’t really know what to do with and they asked me to go and have a look at it, so that was where it all started.” Ross first saw the site in 2004 but the dilapidated state of the building and remoteness of the site meant it was 2005 before he was able to brew his first batch of beer there and Surrey Hills was born. He says: “The highlight of my career was probably breathing life back into that derelict agricultural building and converting it into a brewery. The state it was in, there were times when I just couldn’t see how it was ever going to be an operational brewery so making it useful was very very rewarding. “That original site was a beautiful site on top of the North Downs, very remote, and we had the kit built and put in there and then the brewery grew really by word-ofmouth. And in 2011 we out-grew that first site and we moved to our current site which is on Denbies Wine Estate just outside Dorking.” As a self-confessed ‘control freak’, Ross had a clear focus from the start on the brewing process, quality and consistency,

and a strategy for the business that was just about as local as you can get – 95% of Surrey Hills beers are still sold within 15miles of the brewery. “We try to brew beers that hit the right balance between flavoursome and drinkable that people in the region enjoy,” says Ross. “We are very much known for our pale, hop forward cask beer – that is our raison d-être and what people associate with us.” Not much has changed since the early days in terms of that strategy, and the local market, both pubs and drinkers, has embraced Surrey Hills to such an extent that the business has not had to look outside its heartland with national distribution or export, even now. Says Ross: “We are genuine lovers of beer and pubs and I think that shines through in everything we do. Something that is probably slightly different about us is that we don’t push our beers through sales or marketing at all so we don’t do any sales work or ring any pubs. The outlets that come and order their beer through us are genuinely enthusiastic about it and so they are inclined to keep it well and also evangelise about it once they are selling it.” The current brewery site on the Denbies Wine Estate has a modest shop and onsite taproom which is popular with locals, but the majority of Surrey Hills’ beers are still sold through traditional pubs in the local area. “I am very happy to be here because beer and pubs is my life really,” says Ross. “The biggest thing that excites me about what I do is seeing and hearing customers enjoying the beer, particularly if they don’t know you’re there! If you’re in a pub and you hear people talking about the beer, that gives me a real buzz.”

Continued on page 25 WWW.SIBA.CO.UK



MEET THE BREWER While Surrey Hills’ local market has changed little since the brewery was founded, Ross has seen some major change within the wider brewing sector in the UK and beyond, and is passionate about the growth in the number of styles and breweries now producing quality beer in the craft part of the market. He adds: “It is fair to say there have been massive changes. Huge diversification in beer styles which has resulted in lots of new and exciting breweries opening. What a time to be alive! Compared to almost 15 years when we started there are just so many exciting beers and breweries around. “Consumer tastes are changing a bit, it is fair to say many beer drinkers are now looking for more variety, and you can see that in the number of draught beers available in outlets. It hasn’t really affected what we brew yet. Unusually we have only actually produced seven different beers in 15 years. But we will move with what our customers demand us to brew – we very much see ourselves as servicing the local market, so as and when demand for different styles of beer comes along we will brew them.” The 30bbl kit at the brewery offers room for growth, but Surrey Hills has no major plans to grow above the 5,000hl of beer it is currently producing each year. This breaks down roughly into 55% Shere Drop (4.2% ABV), 30% their session ale Ranmore (3.8% ABV) and 15% made up of seasonal and collaboration beers. The business is still 96% cask beer with 4% in bottles. “We have a relatively large kit so it would be quite easy to expand if we wanted to, it is just whether we want to or not,” says Ross. “For me the whole dream has been a wonderful thing and I don’t have any current plans to grow massively if I am honest. Even if the Small Breweries’ Relief limit wasn’t there I still don’t think we would look to grow significantly more, maybe slightly but not massively. It is more about remembering why you did it in the first place. I think a lot of people are obsessed with growth, growth, growth, which I don’t think is always the answer to being happy.” This is a refreshingly honest assessment from a man who throughout our conversation is very self-deprecating and humble. The big news of 2019 for him and the team at Surrey Hills was Shere Drop being named as CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain in August – a huge achievement for any brewer – but in typical style Ross has certainly not let the win go to his head! Instead, he prefers to remember what makes his business so successful – the loyalty of his regular customers: “There has been increased demand for Shere Drop but we are very much focussing on our long term loyal local customers. So we haven’t been shipping beer around the country even though the demand is there. “We certainly didn’t expect it, it was a complete surprise! We have been in the final stages of judging in all but one year of our existence which in some ways means more to me, because it shows a consistent quality of our products. In 2010 we got a Bronze in the overall Champion Beer of Britain and I thought that was our highlight. But to then go on to win it was a big shock! It is a huge honour, when you see it up there alongside amazing beers from the past and present, and although I am not very comfortable being in the limelight it was an amazing experience and it meant so much to the team.” This focus on the local market has also produced some interesting partnerships and collaborations, in particular the brewery’s close ties with a local micropub and beer shop in Dorking called Cobbett’s. Ross explains: “We have very much integrated into the beer community locally, and there is an amazing micropub and beer shop in Dorking that helps foster that. We do collaborations with them actually. They approached us about what was supposed to be a one-off but we’ve actually done 14 versions of it now and it has become very much a part of the local beer environment.”

Continued on page 27 WWW.SIBA.CO.UK





So successful was this collaboration that Cobbett’s came back to Ross with a proposal this year to visit Brouwerij de Molen in the Netherlands [see pages 40 to 45 for more on Brouwerij de Molen in our Around the World feature] for a special three-way collaboration on an Imperial Stout – an initiative which Ross says was a real highlight of the year for him


“It was a real honour to be brewing at a brewery that regularly features in the top 100 breweries in the World,” says Ross. With a team of only six at the brewery, Ross remains quite hands-on in the business, although with such a small geographical market he has made a conscious effort to put resources into deliveries rather than marketing and sales. This means his team personally deliver their beers, giving them direct access to their customers and helping to ensure quality at dispense. He says: “We see delivery as a very important part of our operations because it is our main contact with the pubs. We have got people that know what they are doing delivering our beer so they can always answer questions when they deliver at a pub, whether those questions are coming from members of staff or their customers. It is a good opportunity to spread the word!” With the craft beer market in the UK exploding in the 15 years since he launched Surrey Hills, I ask Ross how he perceives those changes and if there are

any of the newer trends that particularly excite him.

ploughing their own furrow and making waves.”

“For me the exciting thing is seeing more people getting into beer, particularly younger people,” he says. “I am looking forward in 2020 to seeing even more people enjoying beer, and from my perspective visiting more breweries and trying new beers, as well as revisiting some old favourites.” Indeed, exploring other breweries and beer styles and visiting different countries to understand their beer cultures is clearly something that plays to Ross’ passion for the whole industry, and when I ask what his favourite beer is and where he would most like to drink it, he takes inspiration from the Czech Republic. “Right now I wish I was enjoying a pint of Pilsner Urquell just inside the front door of a little bar in Prague called Plzenska Jelinkova Pivnice.”

You can see why this aversion to fads and the latest trends has stood Ross in good stead while building up a quality long-term business like Surrey Hills, and it is other similar brewers, who share Ross’ obvious passion for the true craft of making consistently good beer, that he has surrounded himself with.

But while Ross enjoys sampling a range of styles, both old and new, being produced by other brewers he has very much stuck to a similar range to the one he started with at Surrey Hills, well suited to his local drinker, and a calculated strategy very much born of the advice he was given when he was first starting out. “I got given advice from many quarters when I started out and one of those pieces of advice was ‘don’t follow trends’,” he explains. “Jumping on a band waggon is not always the right thing to do. The people who are setting the trends are


“One of the guys who is really my hero is Rob Jones, who set up Pitfield and Dark Star many years ago,” says Ross, when asked who he most admires in the sector. “He has always been very helpful to me. And the other one I’d mention is Alex Brodie who has now officially retired from Hawkshead Brewery. He created what I would consider to be a world class brewery in a manner I admire and he is also really broad-minded about beer, generous with his time and gives advice freely, so he is a true hero.” Finally, we discuss where Ross sees himself and the business being in five years’ time, and he is characteristically circumspect about the future. “Keeping a steady hand on the tiller and doing what we originally set out to do which is supplying quality beer to the local market,” he smiles. “To be honest in five years’ time I’d probably like to be sitting in my local with a pint of Ranmore!”




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2019: A Year in Retrospect There are very few beer sector commentators who have been as prolific in 2019 as Melissa Cole, who fills Beer Twitter timelines across the UK and has been a champion for issues such as diversity and beer and food pairings as well as travelling the Country for a series of exciting and unusual beer collaborations. So who better to talk us through her year in beer, as we look back on what 2019 will be remembered for… “After 20 years or so of writing about the beer and pub industry, there’s always a danger of thinking you’ve seen it all, and sounding like a sad old fart to boot, but there are definitely some interesting parallels between when I first entered the industry and now - I guess that’s why they are called revolutions, because they keep on coming around! Surprise big beer buyouts like that of Fuller’s, big pub chains being eyed up and a whole new genre of craft breweries - but instead of hop-forward ales, these ones are dedicating themselves to lager, which is definitely a step up on the last big attempt at innovation in lager 20 years ago that laughably involved a rotating glass and ice crystals.

Chill Out Speaking of cold things, one of my favourite developments of 2019 has definitely been the burgeoning emphasis on cold chain. For far too long the health of beer in transit and storage has been ignored. Treating your beer with respect even after it has left your brewery is not only a matter of professional pride, but also of consumer respect and education. If you keep telling beer drinkers that subpar beer is what they should expect to be drinking then, sadly, drink it they will (more on that later). But it’s also sensible business, if you know that there’s nothing wrong with a keg or cask when it leaves your brewery and that it is going to be treated well during transport then you can successfully challenge complaints from both trade and consumers alike and will save hugely on credit notes and social media management alike.

Crowding Out One of the things I’m also glad to see being weeded out is the devaluation, or plain under-valuation, of beer by some elements of the industry. Making beer for

Top Five Predictions for 2020 1 Lagers will continue to grow 2 Saison to make a comeback 3 Two high profile breweries will sell and one will float 4 Cask beer facing a make or break year 5 American breweries will continue to eye the UK market


should be fully QC’d as well - I don’t care what the hype train says, be professionals, have some pride.

Communication is Key

£50 a cask is simply not sustainable for virtually any brewery, in fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s not sustainable for anyone.

Which brings me to ‘soft’ skills, because I really, REALLY want to talk to you all about the virtual lack of anyone sending out press releases any more, seriously, what is that all about? Social media is almost literally the only place I can ever hear about new releases in the beer world any more, which makes it very hard to write about 99% of your beers in long lead titles or, frankly, at all.

But it also sends out the message that cask beer should be cheap, and it should really be anything but given how much time and effort is expended at both ends of the transaction, in the pub and the brewery, and if it isn’t stamped out, it will see cask continue to cede ground to keg.

I barely have to take my socks off to count the number of businesses that have sent me an actual, physical press release with a useable image attached on a regular basis in the past year and yet beer writers constantly get attacked for only using ‘supermarket brands’.

Train to Gain

Annus Heriblis

Which brings me to my regular plea about training. We absolutely 100% have to do something about the paucity of training in the industry, it is simply unacceptable. I cannot think of another specialist product industry the world that fails so routinely to train its staff. Whether it’s Beer Academy, Cicerone or IBD qualifications, if you don’t invest in staff then why should they invest in you? There have been so many studies over the years that prove the more you train staff, the more they will stay with you. And whilst we are on that subject, pay your staff. The underpayment, and overwork, of people in the brewing industry is beginning to border on the obscene at times. And have the hard talks with your people, make sure they are, at the very least, surviving, the amount of horrifying hand-to-mouth posts I see on social media from folks in the industry is really worrying.

Taste and Waste Whilst we are talking about training, sensory panels and taste testing is either not happening enough in the industry or people really just don’t care. We really do need to talk about how flawed some beers are that are being released into the market and set the record straight on a few things: hop trub is not what makes a hazy IPA, stop making snow globes. DDH beers should not taste of diacetyl or burn like diesel. Unfinished beer should not be leaving your brewery and it


There’s no two ways about it, 2019 has definitely been the year of the woman when it comes to the beer industry. With sexist branding slowly being eradicated, or at the very least made unwelcome, and women winning multiple awards and accolades. Yes, it’s been a long time coming but finally big moves have been made to signal that sexism is no longer welcome in the beer industry and I couldn’t be more delighted. However, we still have so much to do in improving diversity as a whole. The beer industry is still the bastion of the white guy, a lot of whom are my friends, but you simply can’t deny that beer has a palpable and very visible problem with employing and attracting people of colour and members of the LGBTQ+ community as both employees and drinkers." Melissa Cole’s passion in life is getting people to learn as little, or as much, as they want about what she considers the finest social lubricant known to humankind - beer. As a Certified Cicerone© and Beer Sommelier she is regularly invited to judge beer competitions Worldwide, and is also recognised as one of the UK’s leading experts in beer and food pairing, and cooking with beer. Last year saw the publication of her latest book The Beer Kitchen on the subject, The Beer Kitchen. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCole








2019 has been a big year for James Calder, who took over the CEO’s role at SIBA in June, as well as for the SIBA members he serves. Previously in charge of SIBA’s public affairs, James is no stranger to the world of politics and came from a background in lobbying for various sectors including accountancy and financial services before joining the beer industry. Already a keen home brewer, James has a real passion for the brewing process and a love of cask ale, and he has spent a large part of his first six months in post visiting SIBA member breweries and attending regional meetings and competitions around the Country to talk to brewers and get to know first-hand exactly what the challenges facing them currently are. Having appointed a new Senior Management Team (see page 7) to help him implement SIBA’s plans, James has



underlined a clear focus on members, and improving the support SIBA gives to them to help them grow and protect their businesses. The new Delivering For Brewers initiative, which James and the team launched earlier this year, aims to provide exactly that, with free tools like the labelling guide already available to members and much more to come in 2020. Next year will be a huge milestone for SIBA as it reaches its 40th birthday, and James will be continuing to put SIBA members at the front and centre of everything the organisation is planning in the next 12 months. The SIBA Journal’s Editor Caroline Nodder caught up with James to find out more about those plans and how James views the current and future challenges for SIBA and its members…



What was your background before you joined SIBA and how did you first get interested in beer and brewing? “I’ve mostly been in the political field, but I’ve done a lot of other things too, like farming and working in pubs many years ago. I started out my ‘proper’ career working with an MP, then spent a number of years lobbying Government on behalf of transport, charity and financial services clients. I then moved ‘in house’ to lobby Government for the accountancy profession through the days of Panama Papers, LuxLeaks and the whole corporate tax avoidance/evasion scandal. That gave me a firm footing in campaigning and comms to join SIBA in 2017, where I led SIBA’s lobbying. I was made Chief Exec of SIBA in June this year. My love of beer and brewing comes from spending far too much time in the pub. People talk about their ‘gateway’ beer and mine was pints of Lancaster blonde in university and pints of Brains in my local pub, the Owain Glyndwr in Gwernymynydd, North Wales. I’ve been a keen homebrewer for a number of years, too.”

What have been the highlights of your first six months as SIBA CEO? “Crikey. I think launching our Delivering for Brewers initiative - which so far has included a comprehensive labelling guide for cask, keg, bottle and can, making all our business tools free for SIBA Members, as well as pushing out into new markets for members with our hugely successful Michelin Guide event. Those are great examples of the kinds of thing SIBA can and should be doing for members. The guide and our business tools alone are hugely useful, informative, and easy to use – and could save every brewer £100’s

if they use them. I do also love attending regional meetings and competitions, as well as visiting as many brewers as possible in person. It’s the place where I can really understand what is happening out there. I’m known to enthusiastically bang the table when I get riled up about something. I hope my enthusiasm comes across in the right way. Another highlight is going to 10 Downing Street to discuss Small Breweries’ Relief. It’s vitally important that brewers’ voices are heard in places like that.”

as motions) to their regions, for debate and discussion at the AGM. Day to day SIBA is managed by me and the ‘senior management team’. Rachel Harriott looks after members and operations, including commercial. Neil Walker heads up communications and marketing, including the Assured Seal and our external events. Barry Watts covers off policy and public affairs (which was my old job). The whole team is speaking to brewers every day, listening and trying to improve things and make better decisions.”

Have you made any changes to the organisation or its strategy since you took the CEO role?

How do you divide your time in your role as CEO?

“I haven’t and don’t intend to change anything major whilst I continue to get my feet under the table, but I do think myself and the new Senior Management Team [go to page 7 to meet the new team] around me have brought in a fresh outlook, and want to help empower members to bring about the change they want to see within the organisation. SIBA for me is about getting the basics right – listening to brewers and suppliers, fighting on the issues that matter, delivering real value and improving communication between SIBA and the brewing community.”

How are decisions taken within SIBA and what role do members play? “Members are absolutely integral. Whilst it may not seem like it all the time, SIBA is a representative democracy. We have eight regions, each region has three elected directors. These elected directors are brewers who sit on SIBA’s board. It’s their role to engage with their regions, listen to the issues and bring that to the board for discussion and action. We’re now entering the period where members can put forward resolutions (formerly known


“No two weeks are the same! I live in London and work from home for part of the week. SIBA’s office is in Ripon, in North Yorkshire, so I normally spend a couple of days there a week working closely with the operations and finance teams. Other than that I am meeting industry stakeholders, pub companies, other trade bodies and regulators. I also spend time attending regional meetings and competitions, in Parliament or being the ‘face and voice’ of SIBA at industry events.”

What do you view as the key challenges for your members at the moment and how are you approaching these at SIBA? “It’s got to be commercial, right? It’s increasingly hard for brewers to make and sell beer at a sustainable price. That means defending SBR is vital. It means securing ethical, flexible pricing from pub companies as it is vital brewers get paid a fair price for a fair firkin. It means trying to help members cut down their costs by issuing helpful guides and new joint purchase schemes.

Continued on page 33 SIBA JOURNAL WINTER 2019/20


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THE BIG INTERVIEW A few years ago the brewing industry was more relaxed, more convivial. As things have got harder and the global brewers and retailers have stepped up their game, it’s gotten harder and harder. That’s the biggest challenge for brewers and it is one SIBA has to be (and is) on top of.”

You have a background in lobbying, how do you view the current political landscape for your brewing members? “I write this in late October, just as Boris is trying to secure (for the second time) a General Election. Brexit is obviously a huge concern for members – which is why we’ve published a guide on preparing for a no deal scenario. When we wrote that earlier in the year it was as relevant as it is now. The Government are right in the middle of a review of SBR. So whilst Brexit dominates everything, the day-to-day mechanics of Government do still trundle on, albeit slower than they did. I don’t want to be too partisan but if the Labour Party were to come to power they also present some challenges for us. They’ve committed to mandatory health and ingredient labelling on cans and bottles. I often get asked the question, what’s the more difficult situation, the commercial one for brewers or the political? Short answer is they are both hard!”

The potential review of SBR has been a major issue for SIBA this year. What do you expect to see happening with this in 2020?


“I expect to see a Government realise that withdrawing relief for the smallest brewers would be completely anti-business. SBR needs reform above 5,000hl as it’s holding back growth but it can’t come at the cost of taking from the small to give to the large. I don’t want to nail my colours to the mast and predict exactly what the Treasury will do, but they have a lot on their plates at the moment and they know where small brewers stand and what we want.”

The SIBA Membership is very diverse, how do you embrace all the different voices you represent? “Everyone seems to focus on size being the biggest determinant, so I’ll start with that. Most SIBA members are below 1,000hl – about 50% of them. 85% are below 5,000hl. That tells me that when SIBA has a potential issue where it pits larger against smaller (like SBR) we have to (and we do) side with the majority. SIBA also represents a significant amount of cask (it’s around 65% of all the beer SIBA members make). But as consumer tastes and habits change, we have to embrace keg, can and bottle as formats too. That’s not to say ‘abandon cask’ – far from it! Like I said in a recent interview, cask, keg can and bottle – it matters little. What is important is the beer and the people and businesses behind the beer. The third big split is probably geographical – urban brewers and rural, and the broad North/South divide. This is probably the least important of the three, but it’s one I still pay attention to. My Grandma had a saying “you have two ears and one mouth, so use them in proportion”. It’s a mantra I try to live by. Not everyone will be happy all of the time when it comes to SIBA representing a diverse range of brewers and interests. But if we listen more than we talk, that’s half the battle.”

How do you see the market changing for brewers in the coming year? “I think we will see further consolidation in the big managed, tenanted and leased pub market. I think we will see more money being poured into ‘craft beer’ by the globals. Why? Because ‘our’ segment is the only bit growing, it’s the only exciting bit and the globals have realised that if people are drinking less, less often, then they drink better. That should be us. We need to

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work together to counter that by using the assured seal to ensure that consumers know what ‘real craft’ is. Only 2% of consumers think craft beer can be made by a global. But a lot more than 2% drink craft brands developed or owned by the globals and don’t know that they are. That’s a huge problem that needs fixing, fast.”

What are SIBA’s membership criteria and what qualities do you think make a good small independent craft brewery? “To be a SIBA member you need to be independent (by HMRC definitions) and brew less than 1% of UK beer total (currently around 440,000hl or there about). You also need to be approved by your peers at a regional meeting and attend a couple of meetings, too. A small independent craft brewery does a couple of things. It cares deeply about the product it sells. It cares about the people who work there and it tells a story. It reinvests back into the beer and into the people. A brewery doesn’t need to have a taproom or shop, but in this day and age it makes sense to! Above all, it makes great beer and creates an enjoyable environment and feeling in all of us.”

What are your plans for the organisation for 2020? “It’s pretty simple. I want SIBA to be continuing to fight for brewers on the issues that matter (SBR, DRS, access to market, against the influence of the globals) and deliver real value through new membership benefits. Guides, packs of tools, competitions, the assured seal, FSQ. If you’re a brewer and you think SIBA should be doing something different or better in 2020, drop me an email.”

It is SIBA’s 40th anniversary next year, how will you be celebrating that?

What is SIBA doing to help its members get better access to market?

“We have some plans to brew a beer from each decade that SIBA has been in existence, celebrating each decade in a different way. We’ll then serve these at BeerX UK 2020. There will also be some audio visual looking back at what SIBA has achieved, as well as a special Edition of the SIBA Journal covering the last 40 years SIBA and looking to the future of the industry and the organisation. Our 40th Anniversary isn't just be about the past. We should use the 40th anniversary to look forward and think about the beer industry we want to see in 10, 20 and 40 years from now.”

“We’re in the process of speaking to every PubCo in the UK to secure ethical, flexible pricing for our members. Access is great, but it has to be at a price that is sustainable, too. But brewers (and SIBA) have to look outside this, too. Only 31% of the pubs in the UK are pubs owned by a big PubCo. Only 11% of the on-trade licences are PubCo pubs. Only 4% of all the places that can sell alcohol in the UK are PubCo pubs. So let’s get market access in restaurants, hotels, gig venues, music festivals, too.”

What are your plans for BeerX UK in 2020? “We want to make BeerX 2020 the biggest and best yet. More seminars, more debates, more interactive sessions. More masterclasses for brewers to learn from. More and more fringe events, which are now a hugely popular part of BeerX. If you would like to see something at BeerX that you haven’t before, let me or one of the team know.”

What trends in the beer world, in terms of styles and flavours, are exciting you at the moment? “I’m not much of a follower of trends, to be honest. Brut IPA’s and pastry stouts will come and go but a decent pint of cask, a decent can of pale ale or a bottle of something bretty and Belgian will always be there and will always be enjoyable. Sorry if that’s a disappointing answer!”

It is a very competitive market at the moment, how is SIBA helping its members stand out from the crowd to consumers? “We’re doing things like the partnership with the Michelin foundation. If we can get top tier restaurants to realise beer can work in that setting, then other restaurants will pick up on that too and it’s developed a new market for SIBA members to be in. We want to do a big push on the Assured Independent British Craft Brewer seal this year; establishing it as a proper kite mark and recognisable like the US seal, or like the red tractor here. We want to do events, conferences and festivals, like the SIBA/LBA keg festival and competition in London to expose more people to more great beer. People care about small, independent and local and SIBA needs to be at the forefront of pushing that to consumers.”

Continued on page 37 WWW.SIBA.CO.UK



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Diversity in the beer world is something that has been the focus of much discussion this year. What are your views on this and what has SIBA done to encourage more diversity in beer? “I came from the accountancy world which was overly grey, male, pale and stale. Over there, I helped push the organisation to sign up to the ‘women in finance’ charter. Brewing is better, but not where we need it to be. SIBA in its members survey will again be collecting data on diversity in the brewing industry to understand where we are, and the trend. We’re also working towards getting much more involved in the brewing apprenticeship trailblazer. It’s all very well talking about it but unless new people can be brought through the pipeline then we aren’t doing our jobs properly.”

What is your view of ‘beer Twitter’ and the various controversies it has sparked this year? “Beer Twitter is a magnifying glass for the beer industry. Muck about with it for long enough and you’ll find an angle that magnifies the sun and someone gets burnt. But it’s also a way to focus in on something you need to. It’s easy to be outlandish and it’s easy to use throwaway words people regret later on. We’re all here to be sociable and enjoy a beer, not slag each other off. It’s a hugely powerful tool and I love it though, don’t get me wrong; I use it every day but I think ‘beer Twitter’ is often dominated by a few of the same voices. The old 1% getting 99% of the airtime, when the 99% don’t get heard. I do think initiatives like #LetsBeerPositive and #Tryanuary are the things we should focus on. Just be nice to each other and if there are significant differences or arguments between people, pick up the phone and sort them out like grown-ups rather than airing the dirty washing in public.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of your role at SIBA? “I like walking my dog, spending time with my wife and my ‘real’ (non-beer or political!) friends and cooking. My wife and I are big foodies – we try and cook something proper (that grandma would recognise as food, ergo Michael Pollon’s rules of food) every night if we’re at home. I swim and I rock climb. If I have an evening to myself, I will dust off the PS4.”

Who do you most admire in the beer world and why? “I admire people like Steve Dunkley (aka @BeerNouveau). He’s been a big SIBA critic but that doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. People like him are the heart and soul of the beer industry. Eccentric, hugely generous (with beer and time), vocal, active within the industry and he brews great beer. He’s got a genuine passion for the craft and the life. I admire people who work incredibly hard to deliver a nice experience for their customers. There are many, many more like him up and down the UK.”

What is your favourite beer and where would you most like to drink it? “Too difficult to pin down so I’ll say this: • Something double IPA DDH’ish at home on a Friday night with something Asian and spicy to eat. • A great pint of well kept (colder than ‘normally’ accepted, 10 or lower) cask next to a fire in a pub on a Sunday, with a roast dinner nearby. • A bottle of cheap, but exactly what you need at the time, ice cold lager (something like a Cruzcampo) on the beach in Spain.”






review of 2019 Lyall Dew is the Head Brewer and Brewery Manager at Sixpenny Brewery, in Sixpenny Handley in Dorset, formerly Waylands Brewery. Here he takes a look back at the key trends and challenges in 2019 and gives his perspective on what has been driving sales in his area of the market this year…

Beer trends “It is clear that the Pale Ales have been a big hit in pubs this year - no longer just for summer drinking either. Hop forward styles still hold their place in the market and we have adjusted both of our core pale ales to have a more forward aroma. However, it seems (certainly in our area of East Dorset) that traditional styles are still the bread and butter of pubs, with our Best Bitter outselling the other beers combined 2:1.


There has also been a great demand for bottled beer this year, with more people taking beer home with them rather than drinking so many in the onsite Tap. Similarly, our bottle sales have remained high in village stores and local shops and farm shops where canned beers are yet to really make any ground. Perhaps the resistance to can or 'craft' beer remains. It certainly wouldn't fit our traditional ale styles which still remain popular in the bottle/can marketplace. Lots of large pubs still seem to have keg products for ease and will happily run three or sometimes four NEIPA's or hop forward pale ales, without stocking a more traditional style, which seems odd in the current marketplace of choice. There are even craft bars which offer no cask at all which is a shame but perhaps reflects the change in drinking habits. People have definitely become more discerning about what they drink, but are happy to try new and unusual styles. Many of our regulars have commented that they like the variety of the modern beer scene, but are getting bored of the offerings of 'another hop forward beer' and that they continue to return to our Tap to drink premium

traditional cask ales that they can 'drink all day long' rather than sample in 1/2s or 1/3s. Cask has gone up and down all year, but we have had a stronger and busier summer than ever, with production up by 20% through the season LfL. Our hope is that as people begin to tire of the continued innovation and development of beer away from its traditional roots, that cask will hold its own and flourish. Indeed, we have seen a significant increase in younger drinkers of cask ale, although still of the hoppier or golden pales.”


Business trends “Our Taproom has gone from strength to strength and over the summer period we were forced to increase our output storage in the cellar and install a second, outside bar to manage the demand. Drinkers are becoming more interested in drinking beer from the source and doing brewery tours to learn more about what makes breweries unique. Drinkers care more. Local micropubs have also seen a significant rise in popularity; the everchanging selection of beers keeps the venue feeling fresh and exciting which is great for drinkers, if a little frustrating for brewers who need to find regular trade to keep things running. However, drinkers still don't seem to agree on the term 'craft', but it is evident that there is a 'cut-off' between breweries and businesses that can uphold the classification. Brewery owned pubs seem not to fall into this category (perhaps due


to the range offered?) and brewery size seems to be a point of validation for the term. For example, one customer cited that Beavertown and Brewdog; once at the pinnacle of the Craft Beer scene in the UK, are now 'too big' and 'too corporate' to be classed as 'craft'. Independence and size seem to be the main criteria for perceived quality which is great for small breweries, but with the advent of new, wackier styles each week (pastry stouts, ice-cream IPAs) this is not necessarily a good thing for drinkers; particularly if your flight of three 1/3s comes to over £5... (The average price of a pint in the UK remains well under £4).”

Sales “Word-of-mouth and the voice of drinkers seem to be king. Countless sales calls or emails to pubs are more-often-thannot returned (if at all) with terse and short replies of 'we'll call you'. The beer market is so saturated with breweries that landlords have a job to work out what to have in their cellars next, so their negativity towards cold-calling is understandable. However, they seem to be listening to the drinkers, both though conversation and their drinking habits. Our beer has successfully replaced and exceeded sales of larger breweries in four local pubs. Not through sales focus and heavy discounting, but through the wordof-mouth of impressed drinkers. One pub in particular that started by taking a single pin (36 pints) of our Best Bitter a week in the Spring is now putting in an order for three firkins a week. Good beer sells and drinkers are keen to vote with their feet.”

Is the pub trade dying? “Pubs will continue to close if landlords are forced to pay extortionate rents to Pub Groups, focus too much on margins and not quality and fail to think about what their drinkers want. Too many pubs have too little choice and end up buying cheap beer to make more profit or rely on food sales to offset their losses. Keg should be a style choice not a necessity because cask can't be kept or doesn't sell.”


















Brouwerij de Molen in the Netherlands is an absolutely iconic part of the European craft beer scene, well known for creating imperial stouts that have become a benchmark in the beer world and with a tasting room often visited by UK brewers looking for ideas and inspiration. The brewery was named after the historic windmill around which is sits, with ‘Molen’ translating as ‘mill’. Well ahead of the market in its experimental thinking, it launched in 2004 with a particular focus on barrel-ageing, as well as a drive to pair beer with food in its on-site restaurant. Founder Menno Olivier was also ahead of his time when it came to the community focus that is now so important to both brewers and customers, starting the business with one special needs employee, Bob, who is still working at the brewery today. In 2019 Molen now has 14 special needs employees from the local area who work on the brewery production line, all of whom have a mentor to support them. This ‘precious department’, as the brewery calls it, is a wonderful reflection of the ethos behind the business, and is embedded in the culture of the brewery. With annual production now around 12,000hl, the brewery exports worldwide and also attracts over 3,500 beer lovers to its Borefts Beer Festival every September. The SIBA Journal’s Editor Caroline Nodder spoke to Brouwerij de Molen’s Petra Postuma to find out more…





Brewery Basics







When was the brewery founded and how has the business developed since then? “With 12 years of brewing experience behind him, master brewer Menno Olivier started a brewery and tasting room in his garage in Bodegraven called ‘De Salamander’. When in 2004 the local windmill ‘De Arkduif’ became available the brewery was able to grow. The brewery was renamed Brouwerij de Molen for obvious reasons (‘Mill’ translates as ‘Molen’). It was also the start of a beer-focused restaurant, tasting room and beer shop. Menno started brewing beer styles that were very uncommon in the Netherlands in those days. Like the stout that won gold at the Great British Beer Festival in 2005, also the start of his international recognition and success as craft beer pioneer. In 2009 John Brus made his entrance as Menno’s partner in crime and together they composed the next phase for Brouwerij de Molen. In 2011 the new brewhouse was taken into operation. It is located 60 metres along the road from the windmill. Today in 2019 a team of 18 people, including Menno and John, work to brew the beers and deliver them into the customer’s glass.”

What are the ethos and values of Brouwerij de Molen and its beers? “In April 2016 we published ‘The Four Sails of Brouwerij de Molen’. It was - and is - a mission statement for the future and highlights our values regarding craft-beer. Because a windmill without sails loses its character, its drive, its attraction and unique quality, we have defined our ‘four sails’ as



1. No concessions to taste, balance or ingredients. 2. Always keep experimenting and innovating. 3. Collaboration and sharing knowledge with other leading craft-beer brewers. 4. Trying to be an ambassador to the craft-beer scene, which in our opinion means quality and diversity above all else. Today these four sails are our base and source of energy still. Incorporated in our brew planning, the recipes, our festival, the contacts in The Netherlands and worldwide, our vision on innovation and experiments. It’s the base that drives us daily and that continues to lay the foundation for our exciting future.”

How many beers do you now produce and in what formats? “In 2018 we produced about 80 different beers, and that’s about ‘normal’. Besides the core range (always in stock) and the socalled service range (usually in stock) we make it our business to engage in making new recipes and barrel-ageing all kinds of beers in all kind of barrels and we do collaborations all the time.”

What do you do differently at Brouwerij de Molen? “Difficult to say, maybe just stay headstrong and convinced about our vision for the beer, beer styles, ingredients, artwork, attitude about trends etc.”



Brouwerij de Molen has a workshop that employs special needs workers, how did this come about and what is the aim of this initiative? “When Menno started in 2004 in the windmill, he started from get go with the first ‘special colleague’: Bob. He is still with us. His mentor visits once a week. With the growth of the brewery this precious ‘department’ of our brewery grew as well. On an average there are 14 people per day at work with their own mentors. They are part of the identity of Brouwerij de Molen although we don’t make it too obvious in our market communications. In present day it, for example, even influences our choice of filling line: we didn’t want to make it too automated otherwise there would not have been enough work left for these guys.”

You are one of the leaders in barrel-ageing in your market, a trend that is very big in the beer world this year, what are your plans for this part of the business in 2020? “We have an average of 600 to 700 barrels in our ‘barrel-ageing cathedral’ as we call it. Our plan is to continue with around that number (this also depends on the number of ‘good’ barrels we can find). We only use them once, some of them twice. More is not always better! And we want to be able to keep our standards up there like we want and are used to.”

You have a tasting room and café at the brewery. How has this retail side developed? “The tasting room (and restaurant) started simultaneously with the brewery. The actual brewery was even located there from 2004 until 2009. Now it is just up the street from the brewery. There are 20 taps that serve a lot of Molen beers but not exclusively because the guys that run it are beer geeks as well and want to offer a wide range of domestic and international beers. They are allowed some headstrongness as well!”

You have a focus on beer and food matching, how important is this to your business? “All these years we have found it to be a lost opportunity for all these chefs, ignoring beers for food pairing and focusing just on wines. We think that a lot of the beers in the market match fantastically next to dishes or can be used to prepare dishes. We think it is absolutely marvelous that more and more chefs now are discovering the possibilities and starting tasting and experimenting.”

The Borefts Beer Festival is hosted at the brewery, how did that come about and what are the aims of the event? “It started as a sort of friendly protest to a commercial bock beer festival (in short BBF) that was organised on the same weekend in Amsterdam. Or village Bodegraven is called Borefts in local slang so we called our festival Borefts Beer Festival (BBF). Also it had a nice familiar ring to it concerning the Great British Beer

Continued on page 45 WWW.SIBA.CO.UK



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festival, GBBF. The aim at the time, and still our goal, was to have interested people be able to taste awesome beers from all over the world. Because the craft beer revolution had not started in the Netherlands, these beers were hard to come by. That first year in 2008 we had about 550 visitors and seven guest breweries. Today our maximum number of visitors at the brewery and grounds is 3,500 visitors on both days. We have been sold out previously (pre-sale only) for the last few years. At the last festival we had 25 guest breweries.”

How has your home beer market in the Netherlands developed in recent years? “It has been quite a struggle lately. When we started there were about 80 breweries in the Netherlands, including the macro breweries. Today we are approaching 700 registered breweries. Half of them are gypsy breweries. We never had our own sales and distribution and some of the other ‘new’ breweries started with that from the start. We just wanted to make great beers, for people who love great beers, that was what it was all about. Marketing has been a dirty word for years. So the domestic market has always been part of our big challenge. For a while our marketing slogan, translated, has been something like: ‘Dutch craft beer heritage, worldwide known…abroad’!”

Which markets do you export to and how has this side of the business grown? “The growth in the number of breweries, like in the Netherlands, has happened all over the world. Some parts of the world are ahead, some are following behind. At the moment Russia and China are among our growing markets. Currently still about half of the volume gets exported, the other half stays in the Netherlands.”

What current challenges do you face as a small brewer? “Distribution in general and distributing our specials in particular. Because of the ridiculous number of specials it is sometimes hard to get the specials everywhere where people want them.”

What is your view of the UK beer market? “The wonderful thing about the current market in the UK is that there’s a beautiful mix of classic lagers, traditional family owned brewers with corresponding bitters, pale ales, stouts, IPA’s. And all this next to the newcomers brewing New England IPA’s, sours, American versions of English style beers and so on. The available variety is huge which is great. However, also the UK

market seems to be flooded right now. The number of breweries and imports grew faster than consumption of those beers. It’s getting more and more difficult to operate in this market. This is not unique to the UK. This happened and happens in many other countries as well, including the Netherlands. What’s unique to the UK however is Brexit. Who knows what this will do to the UK market domestically, but also import and export? Fingers crossed!”

Does the brewery work on any collaborations with other brewers? “Always. At our brewery, with Dutch and visiting foreign brewers and while travelling all over the world to join festivals and Tap Take-Overs.”

What’s new at Brouwerij de Molen for 2020? “Hopefully some cans. Well kind of new. We already did an experiment a few years ago, filling the cans elsewhere at that time. But we were not convinced of the quality of cans and we had to fill too large volumes. But some parts of the market keep asking for cans so we are researching the possibilities for some of our beers again. Years have passed, techniques have improved. We will stick with the lower ABV beers though. We don’t think that, for example, our barrel-aged beers would thrive in a can. We state a best before date of 20 sometimes 25 years and we don’t think a can would last that long. Or at least, at the moment we are not willing to take that risk!”

Where does the brewing team get their ideas and inspiration from? “It is the chemistry of the people, the travelling over the world, sharing knowledge and experience with other breweries. But also a general curiosity for new experiences with tastes, colours, ingredients from everywhere, not just beers.”

What have been the highlights of 2019 for the Brouwerij de Molen team? “Well the absolute highlight of every year is that time in September when we meet old and new friends at our Borefts Bier Festival. It’s a humongous effort for all of our team members weeks before and after the event. The day before the start they are joined by a team of about 35 volunteers. Quite a few of them have helped us with all 11 editions. It’s humbling to see so much loyalty and goodwill from these heroes that go out of there way for four solid days!”





RUNNING WILD A meeting of minds between Andrew Cooper and Brett Ellis back in 2010, when they were both working at the Bristol Beer Factory, led to the founding of one of the most creative and inspirational breweries in today’s market, Wild Beer Co. Both Andrew and Brett were captivated by the wild and sour beer movement which had already taken hold in the US market at that time, but had yet to make a mark in their home market in the UK. This style of highly creative brewing appealed to the pair, and in 2012 they launched Wild Beer Co from a remote farm in Somerset with a focus from the outset on using wild yeasts and barrel-ageing to produce a premium product that would enable the craft beer category to become far more like wine in terms of the pricing ladder it commanded.



Seven years on and Wild Beer Co is respected industry wide for the energy and creativity it has brought to the sector, and has been a driving force behind the growth in sours and wild beers we now enjoy here. In many ways Wild Beer Co products are far more aligned with the wine market from which they draw inspiration, and the brewery has been able to tap into the high end restaurant industry, pulling in drinkers who are more usually seen sipping wine than beer. In 2019 Wild Beer Co was cited by numerous interviewees in the Journal as their most admired brewery, so it was only right that for our final issue of the year the Journal’s Editor Caroline Nodder spoke to Andrew Cooper to find out more about his inspirational business…

Brewery Basics



Tell me a bit about your background and the background to launching the business. “Back in 2010 Brett [Ellis, the Brewing Director] and myself were working at the Bristol Beer Factory together and the two of us started creating ideas around brewing with different yeasts and barrel-ageing. We could see how the industry was moving in the US and other parts of the world and at that time people weren’t really doing much with barrels in the UK, and no one was making any wild fermented or sour beers in the UK. So there were two sides to it. One, we could see the business opportunity in that we felt the craft market would continue expanding and evolving. And secondly, we both had quite foodie backgrounds and we could look at it from a chef’s point of view and see that there were a lot of pub chefs making beer very well and very competently but not necessarily very flamboyantly or incredibly creatively and taking things to the next level. We felt brewing with wild yeast was the equivalent of taking your cooking to Michelin standard and that was the final frontier of brewing for us – brewing with wild yeasts and barrel-ageing and taking the process from making two week beers to what you can create by giving beers years to mature and evolve. That to us was incredibly exciting and it was what our whole business and ideas were based around.”

What did you find was the immediate reaction to you bringing such different beers to market in the UK? “There was definite interest in someone doing something different and bringing wild and sour beers to the market at that time, and bringing them to the market looking different as well. So that was very much embraced by the craft fans, and we were able to sell beer all over the country quite quickly into small wholesalers who were looking for the next thing and the new thing. Then equally it was very hard in some less developed markets where it was quite a scary proposition. From day one we always had some pale ales and IPAs in our portfolio because we knew that the market wasn’t really ready for someone who just had wild and sour beers. We felt beer in this country generally didn’t have a ladder. Virtually any other product you can think of has a pricing ladder, and beer has always been a mass commodity product drunk in volume, so in trying to create a more premium market and premium products you have got to have a ladder to take people up. You have got to

be able to start people off on something and get them to know and trust your brand and then take them further – especially at that time at least. Making the jump straight from best bitter and cask ale is a big leap. We are in a very different place now. It has moved so fast and multiplied so quickly that there are now plenty of small breweries able to start up just doing wild and sour beers. That is an exciting thing.”

How would you describe your brewing ethos? “For us it’s always about quality and improving. So whatever we are making we are trying to make it better than before, improving our techniques, always learning, always trying to find ways to improve what we do. If we’re creating new things it’s about trying not just to innovate for the sake of it but innovate to improve in any way you can think of really. We have brought out some beers over the last year with some different yeast strains, taking learnings from winemakers. That has really helped us improve a lot of our saison style beers. It is about constantly looking for ways to make beer that are creative and original, always trying to use the best ingredients and always trying to learn and improve by looking outside of beer at food makers, drink makers and seeing what we can take in terms of technique or ingredients.”

You are one of the leading players in the market in terms of fermentation and barrel-ageing, how does this make you different to other brewers and what challenges has it presented? “We have definitely made a lot of rods for our backs over the years! Because that side of things isn’t a side project, it is at the core of what we do, the whole business has been set up to do that, so if you compare it to a lot of other breweries it is very different. From day one we had Brettanomyces in the brewery alongside pale ales, so we set the whole business up to be able to deal with that and understand that and be scared about that and have respect for that. Yes, if you looked at a lot of other breweries they wouldn’t see things in the same way, but being over seven years into it now it is just normal for us. There were things we separated from day one and things we didn’t. If you ask any brewer can they clean a tank properly you’d hope they’d say yes, can they kill yeast, well yes! So can they kill Brettanomyces,

Continued on page 49 WWW.SIBA.CO.UK





well yes you’d hope so! So we shared tanks, we do less of that now because the tanks got bigger and the risk got higher, but we always had the attitude that if we follow SOPs that are designed to kill Brettanomyces and other wild yeasts we should be able to do that and work it through. As long as we have the respect for it and follow our own rules we (touch wood) haven’t really had any issues in that realm. The issues we’ve had, which at times all breweries have, haven’t come from the obvious places you’d expect in a brewery like ours.”

How are you seeing consumers embrace your more experimental beer styles? “When we started off we took inspiration from the US and from various other markets around the world where we had seen people be more interested in those kinds of beers. In this country we’d already been on a journey with food in that respect, and wine in that respect, so it was about learning from other food and drink markets about how you talk to people and how you show them what you do. We have always gone to a lot of not just beer festivals but food festivals, and we did things like the London Wine Fair for a good few years. We took our beers, that had different inspirations and weren’t just your usual pale ales, to those sorts of events and did a lot of dinners pairing with food and tried to approach it a bit differently. We tried to show that our beer is not just about volume and drinking pints of something it is about taste and flavour and pairing with food. All of our beers were packaged in either 330ml or 750ml bottles, so not the 500ml or big cans, it is always about trying and taste and flavour and not about drinking it in volume. One of the things we focused on was occasion – our beers are made to be drunk with different foods or at a special occasion, it is not just about volume. We worked hard to get into lots of high end restaurants and we have always been very inspired by chefs and their approach to balance in their dishes, and we take that into account when making our beer. Making sour beers that were not just about being sour but were balancing that acidity and that brought out other flavours and characters and not just focusing on how sour the beer can be.”

Do you foresee consumer tastes changing over the next few years? “We will always look at what is happening in the market, but for us it is about what is getting us excited. So at the start of this year we got talking to a lot of fruit producers and we spent the summer creating beers with great fruit that we managed to get hold of. We have really focused our year on that, not necessarily because we expected a trend to happen because of it, but because we thought it was exciting and quality and when we started discussing ideas around the various fruit we could get hold of we had lots of ideas and thoughts around it. You can get caught up worrying about what’s happening in the market and what other people are doing and sometimes forget what you’re all about. I don’t think you can ignore the market, but equally we like to make our own path to follow.”

What are the main challenges you are facing as a small brewery at the moment? “Route to market is incredibly difficult at the moment. There is an independent retail market that is absolutely obsessed with new product, which I think at times is to the detriment of the industry in general. And developing products and evolving products and gradually making them better as you get to know them is a really important part of it so it gets hard to keep following the obsession with new. Then with the huge number of breweries and huge number of beers out there, there is obviously pricing issues and things being really pushed down on price. And there is a lot of general competition with people trying to get business, keep business, grow business. It’s a tough old game at the moment!”

How have you seen the market change in 2019? “I wouldn’t say there have been any major changes, but it has been the year that the supermarkets have really embraced craft beer, giving a lot more shelf space to it this year and embracing the whole 440ml thing and the collaboration thing, so that has taken those sorts of beers to the mainstream. It will be really interesting next year to see how that develops and if that has worked for them and if they keep following that track.”

Continued on page 51 WWW.SIBA.CO.UK




WE HAVE ALWAYS TRIED NOT JUST TO GO TO BEER EVENTS, SO WE GET INVOLVED IN OTHER THINGS AND LOOK OUTSIDE THE BEER BUBBLE FOR NEW CUSTOMERS AND INTRODUCE OUR BEER AND OUR BRAND TO PEOPLE AT DIFFERENT EVENTS. What is new at Wild Beer Co for 2020? “Nothing crazily new. We have had a year of consolidation and we had a few new team members join us in crucial positions, so we have been focusing on improving our core beers a bit – there are a couple of those we are going to be tweaking into next year. We have also got lots of barrel projects which we started this year and lots that we will be releasing through next year that we are quite excited about.”

Are there any mistakes you’ve made that you have learned from? “Every single day!! I think you look back in hindsight and it is easy to ask why you didn’t do this or that, but you make decisions in your business every day and you try to do the best you can at that time. We are a company and group of individuals who try to be pretty decisive and crack on with things, so that means we are naturally risk takers in many way. I don’t think we would have started this business when we did and how we did if we weren’t. That means we are also forever learning and forever making mistakes, but we try to embrace that and try not to make the same mistake twice and try to improve every day.”

How do you ensure quality and consistency in your more experimental beers? “There are different strategies for different beers. But with our barrel-aged beers we approach it a bit like a wine maker would. We are quite happy to say that a 2019 vintage of something is 10% or more than last year’s vintage for this reason or that reason, and as long as you get your language right and you explain to the consumer why and what and how, then it can be seen as part of the romance of what we do rather than being seen as a negative.”

You have one retail site already, what plans do you have for this side of the business? “We have one bar in Bristol and we would foresee doing more in the future. It is about picking the right time, when you have enough time and enough energy to give to it and do it well. We are not a big company so we haven’t got the resources to do lots of it but we would like to do more in the future.”

Your Truck Bar is an interesting mobile concept, what was the thinking behind that? “We have both a container and truck, and the container tends to go out for longer periods, for a month or two into different places. So last year we were outside the Tate Modern with that and it is about to go up to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park over Christmas. Then the truck tends to be more for festivals and short-term events. We have always tried not just to go to beer events, so we get involved in other things and look outside the beer bubble for new customers and introduce our beer and our brand to people at different events. So we felt having something that was bigger and bolder and brighter with a bit of fun around it was a great way to showcase ourselves. We are based in rural Somerset, we haven’t got an arch you can come and visit, so that makes it a challenge to find ways to meet the public, so for us it has been about trying different ways to do that. People can’t come to a brewery tap so how do we take our brewery to them and meet the consumer? The truck is a nice fun way of doing that.”

What are your views on the future of Small Breweries’ Relief? “The curve is incredibly harsh on businesses that are trying to grow and you really do need a fair bit of money behind you to get past the steep parts of the curve. It is hard going in that area. We are still the same brewery with the same kit, we have expanded

Continued on page 53 WWW.SIBA.CO.UK



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lots of our equipment, but essentially there aren’t huge economies of scale anywhere between 5,000hl and 20,000hl and that steepest part of the curve is in that range. It is such a heavy burden around the business and it is such a shame they make it so hard for a business to grow from what is really a very small business at 5,000hl to going up past 20,000hl to 25,000hl when you tend to be in a much better place.”

What were the highlights of 2019 for you? “We brought out our first authentic spontaneous beer this year. We’ve brewed with lots of yeasts from fruit skins in the past, so yeast from our local area, but this was our first authentic coolship release that had been three years in barrel in the making, and that was a very exciting moment for us. We have also put a lot more of those beers down over the last couple of years ready for release in the years ahead. That has been a big part of our wild side this year. Then through the summer we ran a fruit beer campaign and brought out lots of beers with fruit in them in lots of different guises. That has been a great project to have been involved in this year. And every year we have a beer and cheese festival at the brewery and this year was our first dry one at our fifth attempt and that made a huge difference – we have record numbers at that this year.”

How do you see the structure of the UK brewing sector evolving in the coming months and years? “I think it’s going to be incredibly hard. It is probably bubble bursting time in the not too distant future. The reality of growing a small brewery is that it’s very expensive and very hard to do because at every stage you need more equipment, you need better equipment, you need more people, and at small scale your head count is very high. I don’t think the quality is necessarily there across the board for a lot of businesses to necessarily survive. Equally the reason the whole craft movement started was about not just increasing variety, but quality, and if your focus isn’t enough around quality then you are going to struggle, so it is a bit inevitable.”

How important are sustainability and environmental issues to your business? “I don’t think there is a single business in the country who won’t be taking that seriously now. For us in where we are and what we do it is generally about small steps. There are solar panels on our roof and we are next to a dairy so we have a water programme with the dairy. Our packaging is glass, cans an cardboard so like

many others we try to reduce our plastic use and that side of things. In the future we can only look at ways to improve that and we have done some research in terms of things like power and a little AD plant and things like that, so we are aware we need to carry on looking to make changes over the coming years on that side of things.”

Are there any new beer trends that excite you currently? “We are more focused on what we are doing. Carrying on down the route of making interesting, exciting, layered, complex barrelaged beers. There are some mixed fermentation beers using wine yeast we are working on at the moment that are going to be quite exciting into next year, and for next year we have a few ideas for others we have been quietly working away on.”

What international markets are particularly inspiring you at the moment? “There are pockets of stuff all over the world. We are quite lucky in that we get to travel around quite a bit and we see exciting breweries doing interesting things all over the place. I don’t think there is one market at the moment that stands out in leading the way on that but we are always interested and excited to see great and authentic wild beer producers out there. It is our real passion.”

Who do you most admire in the sector and why? “We have always loved The Kernal for the beers they make, and the way they plough their own furrow and stick to what they love doing. We admire people like Beavertown who have grown a great brand and a great business. And in our barrel-ageing part of the world we admire people like Burning Sky who are fantastic. And there are various examples of people we have worked with around the world, people like Cascade in Oregon and breweries in Europe like Lindheim have great businesses with a great ethos and they are lovely people.”

What is your favourite beer and where would you most like to drink it? “Modus Operandi - like any parent they will deny their first born is special but… your first born is special! That was the beer that inspired the brewery so that is very special to us. It is a beer that works incredibly well with food so having that beer in a great restaurant with a great chef cooking the food is a highlight for us.”




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SIBA is very pleased to be hosting BeerX UK for a third year running at the ACC Exhibition Centre in Liverpool. The two day event will take place on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th March 2020 and is open to SIBA member and non-member breweries alike, as well as representatives from brewing industry businesses and the media. Featuring a packed schedule of expert workshops, panel debates, networking opportunities, an expanded exhibition from suppliers of products and services, and the SIBA AGM plus a trade-only beer showcase exclusively featuring award winning independent craft beers in cask, keg, bottle & can - BeerX UK 2020 is back bigger and better than ever at the fantastic purpose-built Exhibition Centre Liverpool. All this within one massive space.


Its location in Liverpool gives easy access to more than 5,000 hotel rooms within a 20 minute walk of the Exhibition Centre, good transport links from most major cities in Britain and across the world from Manchester Airport; and plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants to socialise in after a hard, but enjoyable, day's work at BeerX UK

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CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF SIBA BeerX UK 2020 marks the momentous occasion of 40 years of the Society of Independent Brewers and there will be various celebrations happening across the event, including an exclusive launch of 5 yet-to-be-revealed collaboration brews on Tuesday 10th March – the night before doors officially open. With a beer from each decade of SIBA’s existence, and a brand new beer launched for 2020, the event will be free to attend for all SIBA members and a true celebration of 40 years of fantastic beer. The SIBA Journal itself is also being relaunched with a special commemorative “40th Anniversary Issue” featuring a look back over the last four decades of independent brewing and ahead to what the future holds for the industry.

MORE PANEL DEBATES FEATURING THE INDUSTRY’S TOP COMMENTATORS Our two panel debates in 2019 were some of the best attended and most positively received features of the event, and as such we are doubling the number of live panels for BeerX UK 2020, with two now taking place each day. These will feature some of the most prominent commentators and experts in the industry and are once again set to be a highlight of the event that are not to be missed.

Beer X has been a really great event for the North; so often industry shows and events happen in the capital and the great brewing cities of this area can feel a little ignored; so this is a chance for those who can’t always make it south to interact with suppliers, put faces to names and have a get together with people in the industry that we don’t often see. It is also a chance to try beer from some breweries that we may not see around so often and celebrate the diversity and quality of the UK brewing scene. COLIN STRONGE SALT Beer Factory BeerX is a great opportunity to meet or catch-up with other brewers and suppliers from across the country. The trade seminars are informative, wide-ranging and particularly useful for us, as a relatively young, growing business. This, and the chance to sample some of the many fine beers produced by our peers, make it an event we always look forward to. JEREMY ALTER New River Brewery


Tickets for Brewing Members and Supplier Associates can be booked online at

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WHAT’S NEW AT BEERX UK FOR 2020? 2020 The UK’s leading online beer channel ‘The Craft Beer Channel’ are joining the BeerX UK team as Official Partners and hosts of both the SIBA Independent Beer Awards and SIBA Business Awards 2020.



Led by journalist, presenter and beer sommelier Johnny Garrett, the Craft Beer Channel are set to revamp the awards presentation for 2020 and help to further improve what have become the key beer and business awards in the industry. We are also moving the awards onto the stage where the AGM takes place and aligning this with the bars (see the revised floorplan) meaning that the huge digital screen used for the AGM can be a part of the awards, making it much easier to see the information on winners and runners up.

BEER QUALITY ABOVE ALL ELSE WITH NEW CELLAR SYSTEM For a number of years we have utilised SIBA’s Mobile Cellars to keep the beer served at BeerX UK, and sampled in the beer competition judging, in tip-top condition. These cellars do a fantastic job but the sheer scale of the event means that the distance between the beer containers and the bars is much longer than we would like. Long lines are not ideal and whilst we think beer quality has been excellent over the last few years we are bringing in a new cellar system for 2020 which we feel will improve beer quality even further. Each bar will essentially have its own self-contained cellar and cooling system in its centre, meaning the length of line between the beer and your glass will be as short as physically possible – meaning better condition and optimal serving temperature. Just another way that we are ensuring BeerX UK is the pinnacle of beer in the UK and a chance to show off your award-winning beers at their absolute best.


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land, Australia, Spain, nsure is sold in farmyard yeast strain – Voss Kveik – and its centred our aroundbeer the unique Norwegian cules. This yeast delivers strong notes of marmalade during fermentation which is old storage and have aired in the bold, orange colour of the design. Didsbury shop this year, – 8.0% t Heaton MoorDIPA soon), inDouble IPA

BEERX UK 2020: THE SIBA BUSINESS AWARDS ARE OPEN FOR ENTRIES! The SIBA Business Awards will once again be presented at BeerX UK in March and are open for entries until the end of January 2020.

years, and we have now is exciting to becraft part of bar and restaurant categories were The independent beer retailer, introduced in response to the success of the beer market in the UK and re proud to be partto recognise of those businesses going the extra the growing importance mile. The awards are unique in that they are judged by those from within modern beer. This or other awards bodies looking in. the craft industry rather than publications . cter of our city - and our The 2020 Awards include a new “UK’s Best orge relationships with



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 ecofriendly or to support their local community.

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are one of our best nchester, and set a l. • UK'S BEST INDEPENDENT CRAFT BEER RETAILER - MULTIPLE burban bottle shops The SIBA Business Awards seek to acknowledge the most • UK'S BEST INDEPENDENT CRAFT BEER RETAILER - SINGLE forward-thinking, innovative and successful beer businesses and • UK'S BEST INDEPENDENT CRAFT BEER RESTAURANT al beers, haveaccessible evolved year-on-year to include categories which best match with the direction of the independent craft brewing industry – one • BEST INDEPENDENT CRAFT BEER PROMOTION the most exciting sectors in the UK. The quality and quantity fferings,of and regular • UK’S BEST INDEPENDENT CRAFT BEER PUB OR BAR – CITY of entries has gone from strength to strength in recent years so if you believe your business is the best in the UK at what you do • UK’S BEST INDEPENDENT CRAFT BEER PUB OR BAR – RURAL out the then year. We are I would urge you to take a look at this year’s awards, they’re • UK'S BEST INDEPENDENT CRAFT BEER TAPROOM to be the best ever.” Neil Walker, SIBA Business Awards judging chair. closelysetwith such a community focused business.” THINK YOU’VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A WINNER?

• BEST INDIVIDUAL DESIGN The SIBA Business Awards 2020 will for the first time ever feature an inspired byaward water and the extensive water treatment with Calcium Chloride used to for the UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Taproom, following huge • BEST CONCEPT DESIGN credibly soft mouthfeel in this beer. These salts growth in the number of breweries opening theirform doors cube-shaped and serving beercrystals and the on-site. ASSOCIATE OF THE YEAR explores the ionic bonds that form between calcium cations and chloride anions •onSUPPLIER a

Entries are now open online for the 2020 SIBA Business Awards and you can find full details of the criteria

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BUYING A RETAIL SITE The current economic climate is not without its challenges, but it is also creating a number of opportunities for brewers, one of which comes in the form of favourable deals from high street landlords struggling to find occupiers for empty units. Having received a number of enquiries through the SIBA Legal & Business Helpline from brewers exploring opportunities to launch “pop-up bars” or similar concepts, in this issue Malcolm Ireland, head of leisure & licensing at Napthens solicitors, provides a brief guide to some of the practicalities to consider: The people: Make sure you have the right people in your business to make the step from selling predominantly wholesale alcohol, to selling alcohol retail. The two propositions are very different. If retail is new to you it is wise to retain a good, experienced manager at the outset. Having somebody capable who can take on some of the responsibility for running a bar will help prevent you from ‘taking your eye off the ball’ with your core business - making beer. Research: Often a brewery will open units fairly close to the brewery so you may well know the area, but if the unit is trading before you take it over, visit it on numerous occasions, on different days of the week and times of day. Visit other comparable sites in the area. They will be your competition and it is a good idea to understand their offering and what they are doing to get people through the door. Take advice: Have professional advisers on hand. That includes a solicitor and an accountant as a minimum. They will be familiar with the processes and common pitfalls and will help to steer you in the right direction. If you don’t feel you can afford professional advice then you should question whether it is the right time to take the financial risk of a new venture. Plan: Prepare a business plan with a projected cash flow and try to be conservative on the variable costs. For example, it is very difficult to know before starting to trade how many staff you will need on each night of the week. It is better to overestimate the cost and decide not to take on the site because the numbers don’t add up, than it is to underestimate,

Malcolm Ireland, head of leisure & licensing at Napthens solicitors

take on the site and then find you are losing money. You should focus on what expenses are really justified to attract the market you are aiming for. So, if your aim is to be a ‘beer shrine’ with a good food offering - is the cost of a Sky subscription really necessary at the outset? Negotiate: Negotiate on everything. For a lot of suppliers the price they suggest at the outset is not the lowest price they are willing to work for. Seemingly small discounts can add up to a significant amount when all the expenses of starting out are added together. Get funding: Make sure you have properly considered how start-up costs are going to be funded. If you intend to use bank funding then speak to your bank at the start to make sure your expectations are realistic. If you engage with your bank early and properly explain your intentions to them, they can help you to formulate a business plan which is more likely to meet internal credit requirements. You solicitor or accountant can also help you with your plan and you may find that they have relationships with banks which can help make the process smoother. Be objective: We have seen situations where a brewer has had a sentimental connection to a particular site and a decision to take the site on has been led by that - rather than a justified business case. Remember, this is business and taking on a retail unit and getting it wrong can be detrimental to the existing brewery business that you have worked hard to build.

For advice on this topic or on legal issues affecting your business, please contact SIBA Legal Helpline on 0845 6710277. Napthens is a SIBA Supplier Associate 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 manages 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.




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SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BREWERIES FOR 2020 AND BEYOND As we come to the end of 2019 and look ahead to the coming 12 months, one of the areas to keep a close eye on is the fast changing area of social media. Here, Matt Jones from Inapub takes a look at what might be coming up in the digital world for 2020 and beyond… In the past year, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have grown and changed the ways in which businesses can use them. The growth of ‘live’, video posting, Instagram stories and the decrease in organic reach have all had an impact on how you can use social media. Businesses have had to adapt to this to get the best out of their Social Media. In 2020 there will be even more changes and trends which breweries should be aware of. Here we go through these changes and what you should consider in your business to keep on top in the year ahead. Google Pebble and Amazon Alexa are both tools which have become more and more a part of customers lives over the past two years. It is estimated the voice search could account for as much as 30% of all UK searches by the end of 2020. This will start to feed more and more into search rankings, as the sites which Google, Bing and other search engines will all start to promote websites which are optimised for this kind of search. When searching on a laptop you might type “Breweries near me”, but on voice search it would be ask as “what breweries are near my location”. Breweries should now look to update the way they use their websites, and how they phrase content on their websites, to ensure they appear higher in the search results. In a big change to the direction of Google, the platform is also integrating the impact of social media into the rankings of searches much more. Due to competition between Facebook and Google for money, until recently Google did not factor in Social Media activity in a significant way in their rankings algorithm. This will change for them and other search platforms in 2020. The trend will be that these will now have a greater impact on where your business appears in a search. This adds an extra level of potential reach to anything you are already posting. Google may also allow you to measure these metrics to see how the activity for your Facebook page itself can affect your position in searches. It could also mean that your Social Media has a greater impact on your search rankings than the effectiveness of your website. Instagram usage is expected to continue to grow in 2020. In 2019 the number of UK users passed 24 million. In 2020 it is expected to surpass 26 million. Any business which is not already using Instagram is missing out on a huge group of consumers. Instagram also has the ability

to reach more people organically. Facebook and Matt Jones from Inapub Twitter are continuing to reduce their organic reach making it harder to reach customers. Instagram is also doing this but at a much slower rate meaning you can reach many more people per post than other platforms. Further to its higher levels of reach Instagram is the platform which is expected to offer users and businesses more options to get the most out of it. Instagram is expected to integrate with Facebook messenger and Whatsapp over the next 2 years. This transformation process has already begun. The platforms have not specified exactly how this will happen, but once complete it is thought that it will help businesses reach customers with more direct messaging. Similar to IGTV, Instagram has also recently launched Threads. This is an extension of Instagram which works in a similar way to Snapchat. Users can message select people with their images and messages. The business tools for this will be unveiled in early 2020. All of these tools are designed to help you reach people in a more personalised way. If you have not heard about TikTok already, you will do soon. This is a growing smart phone based app based on short form clips and videos. Tiktok has a young user based but will start to grow across all ages throughout 2020. The platform allows users to add soundtracks from major labels to their own videos which they can share with their friends. Brewers can use these effectively if they use it to show their brewing process or any other aspect of their business. If you think this could work for your business, downloads it and get familiar with it now as it will likely be something you come to need over the next few years. These are just a few of the many changes expected to come into force over the course of the coming year. As Social Media is one of the primary ways you communicate with customers, being aware of the new ways it will speak to them is key to breweries. These trends will mean that what you are doing now, may not be as effective as in a little as one month’s time. Instagram and Google changes should be something you should particularly think about. Ensure you are up to date with the Social Media so you can always keep your customers up to date.

Inapub is the leading supplier of digital marketing solutions for Britain’s pub and beer trade, offering news, advice, training and website services. If you’d like to know more about how Inapub can help grow your business, email sales@inapub.co.uk or visit www.inapub.co.uk. Matt can be contacted at mattj@inapub.co.uk or on 07387 099 674.




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FINANCING A NEW CANNING LINE In uncertain financial times such as these, there can be a benefit to financing the purchase of equipment such as a canning line rather than outsourcing the process. In this issue, Patrick Carberry from Moorgate Brewery Finance looks at the uplift such a purchase can bring to your business… With Brexit uncertainty ongoing, the brewery sector and many other industries are unsure how they might be affected and what the future holds. Many companies are beginning to save for rainy days and holding back on spending. During these uncertain times, our brewery customers have learnt for themselves that financing purchases where you would normally outsource saves money. Financing your equipment also helps to increase your sales and business productivity. When you bring the equipment in house it will enable your company to grow even through these unpredictable times.

Why should breweries purchase their own equipment? Many breweries in the UK currently outsource their canning to external companies, with an average spend often being many thousands of pounds per month, even for smaller breweries. However, this can result in a brewery having to organise their working week around the availability of the external providers. Having your own in-house canning line allows you to take back production control (and quality control), meaning you don’t have to rely on other companies. A brewery can then take on additional or last minute orders based on their own decisions and factors, not those of others. As well as production benefits, there are many important financial advantages of owning your own equipment, but the immediate hurdle is that these canning lines have a fairly hefty price tag. Financing the purchase of a canning line is a great way to overcome this, whilst getting all the financial and production perks of owning the equipment. Monthly repayments on owning your own canning line are nearly always less than a brewery is spending on external canning and bottling services; taking this leap will also reduce the long term costs of your business. With a canning

Moorgate Brewery Finance’s Patrick Carberry

line on finance, you get to keep more of your margin in your beer, and you get to see the benefit on day 1 because the repayment costs are spread in line with the revenue generated, as opposed to a large upfront cash outlay. In a time where businesses are looking to stand out from their competition, financing your equipment will put your brewery one step ahead of your competitors. Finance will also free up cashflow which you can spend elsewhere in the business, maybe on those small repairs you’ve never had the funds to help you fix, or adding that extra shine to your tap room. The reduced costs and increased canned sales means your equipment essentially pays for itself and is one less thing for you to worry about, so you can focus on the next aspect of your growing business.

How can Moorgate help? We have recently helped a brewery finance a canning line when they had previously been outsourcing – the finance for this canning line costs them only £1,247 per month, this purchase has allowed them to save £3,700 a month by moving this in house. Not only has this company now saved on costs but they have also been able to increase their monthly revenue by an £6,450 per month; all due to increased production rates and increased canned sales.

What can happen next? Choosing the finance option for brewing equipment not only helps to save your business money but will increase the long term value of your brewery. We will work with you, and your accountant, to structure the finance to allow for the correct capital allowances and /or tax deductibility so the net cost to the business is as low as possible. Moorgate Brewery Finance have done this, and are doing this right now, for some of the biggest and most exciting breweries in the UK. Call us today for a friendly chat, we’d love to hear from you.

If you would like to find out more information or discuss further, please contact Patrick Carberry at Moorgate Brewery Finance on 01908 92 62 62.




We ensure products are served exactly as you intend them to be We serve the wide-ranging technical requirements of the UK drinks industry at every level – from small independents to major brand owners – always delivering great ROI and peace of mind. We offer supply, installation and maintenance for: • Cask and keg beer dispense

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03.05.2019 00:49:59



SAVING ENERGY IN YOUR CELLAR Steve Lakin, National Customer Relationship Manager at Innserve, explains how by making smart yet simple investments in energy saving products, you can make significant contributions to your profit and the planet. There are a number of cost pressures affecting brewers with retail sites currently, including direct payroll costs, business rates and operational costs. Due to rising utility prices, operational costs are considered the most common concern in the trade. But whilst times are proving taxing, there are ways to mitigate the effects of the financial squeeze and still maintain energy efficiency and quality. Some of the most interesting, innovative and simple methods of saving money today are being driven by climate change and the desire, and need, to limit energy consumption. As such, one area in which perceptive operators can take control of rising overheads is to invest in energy saving measures. While energy costs may only be a small percentage of turnover, reducing this expense can directly increase revenue without the need to increase sales; money saved on energy goes straight to the bottom line. The cellar is the engine room of any pub, taproom, bar or micro pub, and is where the beer begins the final stage of its journey before reaching the customer. It is also a significant, yet often underestimated energy user. In fact, such is its impact on energy usage, the cellar typically accounts for between 5-15% of a retail site’s energy cost largely due to cellar equipment operating all day, every day. There are several ways you can reduce your energy bills in your retail sites: by regularly servicing or replacing ageing or energy-intensive equipment; by installing energy saving lights or remote lighting systems; by optimising room and water temperature; and by raising awareness among staff. The initial concern is that many of these are considered ‘big ticket items’, or they require significant behavioural change. So, while such upgrades will drive savings in both pounds and carbon emissions, it will also cost time and pounds to implement or install. It is the investment of time and money that often prevents operators from fully leveraging their energy savings potential. In any pub or bar, keeping the coolers or fridges running all day, every day, is a must. Nobody wants a drink that is warm, cloudy or past its prime. Unfortunately, this equates to significant energy usage and, of course, increased carbon output. In fact, the shift from ales served at room temperature to a customer preference for a much colder product has had a

huge impact on the energy consumption in pubs and bars over the last few decades. By investing in Steve Lakin, National Customer smart yet simple energy Relationship Manager saving measures such as energy saving monitors, operators won’t just be reaping the financial rewards of improved energy efficiency, but they will also be benefiting from a substantially smaller carbon footprint. Thankfully, all this doesn’t mean you are fated to footing ever increasing high energy bills forever and emitting large amounts of CO2. In the last few years, a number of energy saving products have been developed that are affordable, simple to apply, and effective in use. One such product is an intelligent power socket for beer and soft drinks coolers and ice makers. This type of device is designed to indicate power usage and savings made in consumption, which can be expressed in GBP based upon KWH unit costs. Operators making use of this simple plug-in solution can expect average savings of 30-35% on electricity bills – or up to £150 – per cooler per year whilst also substantially reducing their carbon footprint. There is even energy monitoring technology which works based on a process of continuous learning. These devices can be set to ‘learn’ mode during initial setup and within one or two weeks they can record and establish the power usage pattern of the coolers. Once this system has completed its primary assessment period, the unit is then programmed with the establishment’s opening hours and switches to ‘optimising’ mode. This allows the monitor to gauge the optimum time to switch off the load completely without compromising its operation or functionality. For coolers, this means a full ice-bank at opening times, whilst making energy savings during quiet periods. This has been somewhat of a game changer for many establishments, taking the guesswork out of cellar temperature management and the added environmental benefit of a reduced carbon footprint. The benefits of a proactive approach to cellar management and employing the latest technology, therefore, are many: Improvements not only in drink quality, extensions in line cleaning intervals and reductions in wastage, but ultimately, boosts in bottom line profitability.

Innserve services more than 80,000 licensed and unlicensed premises across the UK. For more information about the company’s products and services visit www.innserveltd.co.uk.








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The CANPRO filling system is a state-of-the-art, high-speed, mechanically controlled can filling system designed around proven European counter-pressure-gravity filling technology and can seaming technology. The CANPRO is designed to fill beer in a variety of can sizes and volumes offering today’s craft brewers a wide range of flexibility. The CANPRO filling systems achieve filling speeds ranging from 80 cans per minute with (330ml cans) up to 600 cans per minute while delivering very precise fill levels, very low O2 pickup and minimal product loss. Please contact us at info@moravekinternational.com for further information. Moravek International Limited Pure Offices, Kestrel Court, Harbour Rd, Portishead, Bristol BS20 7AN

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PROBIOTICS: MICROBES IN YOUR By Dr Keith Thomas of Brewlab, Sunderland


Would you swallow a brewer’s beard? Brewing beer from the microbes in a brewer’s beard is perhaps hard to swallow for some drinkers. However, incorporating personally isolated microbes to a live food product certainly catches drinkers’ attention, but perhaps in return limiting sales to a somewhat select market. It does, also, provide thought on the value on the microbes in the live beer we drink. As a food these should be GRAS – generally recognised as safe and so consumable with no ill effects. Of which the standard brewing yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is included. Indeed, its production of alcohol, acid and flavours provide the well known benefits to beer character and enjoyment. With increasing interest in wild beers containing potentially wild microorganisms is there a potential for live beer to be hazardous, or, alternatively beneficial? Well, there certainly are some hazardous yeasts around, some, such as Candia species, with fairly close evolutionary links to our workhorse Saccharomyces brewing yeast. In fact a quick internet search of most yeast species will turn up some medical case report of infective anguish. Brewer’s yeast itself can have its off days with occasional cases of auto-brewery syndrome appearing in the press reporting individuals at the mercy of spontaneous brewing in their digestive system. While painful due to the gas produced autobrewery syndrome also raises blood alcohol to hazardous levels for working and driving. Colonisation of your gut with brewing yeast is, fortunately, not a common complaint but arises most often after a heavy dose of antibiotics eliminates your normally dominant microflora. The lesson for such circumstances is to keep fit to minimise antibiotic use and, if antibiotics are prescribed to limit beer intake to filtered or pasteurised brands. More serious is the potential for infection of pathogenic yeast. To date any such cases are particularly rare and most common when defences are critically low through immunological and chemotherapy treatment. Ironically it is just such conditions which it can be claimed that wild brewing could provide benefits. Specifically through probiotic microbes being introduced to the digestive system. The value of

these has been progressively recognised over decades but now increasingly taken into mainstream treatment as both increasing general health and counteracting specific infections – most spectacularly Clostridium difficile. Probiotics get great promotion in yoghurts and have valid mechanisms of action in counteracting undesirable and pathogenic microbes. Effective probiotic microbes adhere tightly to gut surfaces so excluding other microbes, they stimulate gut responses against infection and, in producing acid and certain fatty acids, inhibit other microbial growth. This particularly applies to bacteria but is increasingly now recognised in yeast. Does this mean that our brewing yeast is a benefit? Well this depends on the strain. S. cerevisiae is, perhaps, less effective than other yeasts investigated, particularly S. boulardii which is commercially cultured as a supplement to animal feed. However, some strains of brewing yeast may be active. We just don’t know which yet. The commercial requirement for a microbe to be defined as probiotic is for it to survive through the digestive system into the lower intestine in sufficient numbers to be effective – around 1 to 10 million cells per ml. As may die during the passage through the stomach this requires both a resistant physiology. Lactic acid bacteria have particularly good survival rates, yeast less so. However, research continues and it is likely that some brewing yeast will be effective so it is an area to keep in mind. Of, course we aren’t looking to say that standard beer is healthy per say due to the effects of alcohol. However, low alcohol beers may be particularly worth promoting for benefits beyond their ethanol lack. Nutrition and diet is a continually dominant personal concern and the contribution of all elements relevant to health. The microbial community of our digestion system is increasingly seen as important with suggestions that we are greatly depleted compared to our prehistoric ancestors. One novel view is that this may be due a decline in the number of maggots in the diet as the microbiome of maggots is closely aligned to our own – possibly due to our eating maggoted food as we evolved. Processed food contains limited opportunity for maggot ingestion and while we may not wish to include maggots in our brews could beer offer an alternative source for a suitable probiotic balance?




North West Region Cask Winners


SIBA North West Region

Overall Champion of the Cask Competition

Cask British Dark Beers (up to 4.4%)

Cask British Dark Beers (4.5 to 6.4%)

Samantha Faud, Napthens presents Shaun, Mark & Wayne, Blackedge with the gold award

Nigel Hoppit, SPAsoft presents Steve Briscoe (proxy) with the gold award

Peter Lawley, Murphy & Sons presents Stuart Hurst, Hophurst with the gold award

GOLD Blackedge Brewing Company Ltd West Coast  4.1 SILVER Hophurst Brewery Ltd Porteresque  5.5 BRONZE Spitting Feathers Old Wavertonian  4.4

GOLD Spitting Feathers Old Wavertonian  4.4 SILVER Blackedge Brewing Company Ltd Black Stout  4.0 BRONZE Beer Brothers Ltd Hop Chocolate  4.3

GOLD Hophurst Brewery Ltd Porteresque  5.5 SILVER Big Bog Brewing Co Peat Bog Porter  4.9 BRONZE Keswick Brewing Co Dark Horse  6.0

Cask British Bitter (up to 4.4%) Sponsored by

Cask British Premium Bitter (4.5 to 6.4%) Sponsored

Cask Session IPA (up to 4.3%) Sponsored by

Cask Premium PAs (4.4 to 5.4%) Sponsored by

Beth Eaton, Charles Faram & Co presents Wayne Roper, Blackedge with the gold award

Beth Eaton, Charles Faram & Co presents Steve Hebblethwaite, Keswick with the gold award

Beth Eaton, Charles Faram & Co presents Gordon Hurst, Big Bog with the gold award

Ray Morrissey, CBBR presents Stuart Hurst, Hophurst with the gold award

GOLD Blackedge Brewing Company Ltd West Coast  4.1 SILVER Coach House Brewing Co Dick Turpin  4.2 BRONZE Lancaster Brewery Northern Hemisphere hop  4.0

GOLD Keswick Brewing Co Keswick Special Bitter  4.8 SILVER Barngates Brewery Red Bull Terrier  4.8 BRONZE Big Bog Brewing Co Swampy  4.7

GOLD Big Bog Brewing Co Hinkypunk  4.1 SILVER RedWillow Weightless  4.2 BRONZE Donkey stone Brewing Co. Ferris Muler  3.7

GOLD Hophurst Brewery Ltd APA   5.2 SILVER RedWillow Wreckless  4.8 BRONZE Donkey stone Brewing Co. Kaihe  5.0

Sponsored by

Cask Speciality Light Beers

Cask Speciality Mid to Dark Beers

Cask Strong Beers (6.5% and over)

Ray Morrissey, CBBR presents Craig Nicholson (proxy) with the gold award

Ray Morrissey, CBBR presents Stuart Hurst, Hophurst with the gold award

Ray Morrissey, CBBR presents Shaun, Blackedge with the gold award

Peter Lawley, Murphy & Sons presents Mark Dickman, Blackedge with the gold award

GOLD RedWillow Shameless  5.9 SILVER Bowness Bay Brewing Steamer IPA  5.7 BRONZE Melwood Beer Company Without A Net  5.5

GOLD Hophurst Brewery Ltd Milkshake IPA  4.5 SILVER Wily Fox Brewery Hothouse Zinger  4.5 BRONZE Big Bog Brewing Co PADI  3.7

GOLD Blackedge Brewing Company Ltd Black Port  4.6 SILVER RedWillow Breakfast Stout  5.6 BRONZE Hophurst Brewery Ltd Salted Caramel Porteresque  5.5

GOLD Blackedge Brewing Company Ltd Nuclear  7.2 SILVER Big Bog Brewing Co Quagmire Reserve  6.5 BRONZE Moorhouse’s Brewery Black Cat Reserve  7.0

Sponsored by


Sponsored by


Sponsored by

Murphy & Sons Ltd

University of Bolton Stadium 10th October 2019

Charles Faram & Co Ltd

Cask IPA (5.5 to 6.4%) Close Brothers Brewery Rentals




Rankin Brothers & Sons

Rastal GmbH & Co KG

Close Brothers Brewery Rentals

North West Region Bottle & Can Winners


Overall Champion of the Bottle/Can Competition

Bottle/Can British Dark Beers (up to 4.4%)

Bottle/Can British Dark Beers (4.5 to 6.4%)

Karen Edwards, CEO Bolton Lads & Girls Club presents Mark, Matt & Alex, Hawkshead with the gold award

Karen Edwards, CEO Bolton Lads & Girls Club presents Mark Dickman, Blackedge with the gold award

GOLD Blackedge Brewing Company Ltd Black  4.0 SILVER Keswick Brewing Co Keswick Bitter  3.7 BRONZE Bank Top Brewery Dark Mild  4.0

Karen Edwards, CEO Bolton Lads & Girls Club presents Stuart Hurst, Hophurst with the gold award

GOLD Hophurst Brewery Ltd Porteresque  5.5 SILVER Hawkshead Brewery Dry Stone Stout   4.5 BRONZE Seven Bro7hers Brewery Sling It Out Stout   5.5

Bottle/Can British Premium Bitter (4.5 to 6.4%)

Bottle/Can Session IPA (up to 4.3%)

Bottle/Can Premium PAs (4.4 to 5.4%)

Bottle/Can IPA (5.5 to 6.4%)

Nigel Hoppit, SPAsoft presents Phil, Weetwood with the gold award

Nigel Hoppit, SPAsoft presents Phil, Weetwood with the gold award

Barry Watts, SIBA presents Ben Sweeney, Bank Top with the gold award

Barry Watts, SIBA presents Matt Clarke, Hawkshead with the gold award

GOLD Weetwood Ales Oregon Pale 5.0 SILVER Keswick Brewing Co Keswick Special Bitter  4.8 BRONZE Coach House Brewing Co Post Horn  5.0

GOLD Weetwood Ales Southern Cross  3.6 SILVER RedWillow Weightless  4.2 BRONZE Bollington Brewing Company Resonance  4.3

GOLD Bank Top Brewery Palomino Rising  5.0 SILVER Donkey stone Brewing Co. Kaihe  5.0 BRONZE Beer Brothers Ltd Gunslinger 4.7

GOLD Hawkshead Brewery Route 590  5.6 SILVER RedWillow Shameless  5.9 BRONZE Bollington Brewing Company Eastern Nights  5.6

Bottle/Can Imperial IPA (6.5% and over)

Bottle/Can Session Lager & Pilsner (up to 4.4%)

Bottle/Can Premium Lager & Pilsner (4.5 to 6.4%)

Bottle/Can Speciality Light Beer

Dave Sweeney, SIBA Regional Director presents Ben Jones, Joseph Holt with the gold award

Sponsored by

Beer Box Shop

GOLD Hawkshead Brewery Route 590  5.6 SILVER Hophurst Brewery Ltd Porteresque  5.5 BRONZE Joseph Holt Ltd Humdinger  4.1

Sponsored by

Beatson Clark

Barry Watts, SIBA presents Matt Clarke, Hawkshead with the gold award

Dave Sweeney, SIBA Regional Director presents Phil, Weetwood with the gold award

Dave Sweeney, SIBA Regional Director presents Ben Jones, Joseph Holt with the gold award

GOLD Hawkshead Brewery Unfashionably Late 7.4 SILVER Blackedge Brewing Company Ltd Nuclear   7.2

GOLD Weetwood Ales Kuhl Lager  4.2 SILVER Donkey stone Brewing Co. Cotton Clouds Craft Lager  4.0 BRONZE Love Lane Brewing Lager  4.4

GOLD Joseph Holt Ltd Diamond  5.0 SILVER Hawkshead Brewery Lager 5.0 BRONZE Brimstage Brewery Woolyback Lager   4.5

Bottle/Can Speciality Medium to Dark Beers

Bottle/Can Sours/Spontaneous

Bottle/Can Strong Beers (6.5% and over)

Steve Briscoe, SIBA Regional Director presents Lee (proxy) with the gold award

Steve Briscoe, SIBA Regional Director presents Mark Jackson, Hawkshead with the gold award

GOLD RedWillow Breakfast Stout  5.6 SILVER Northern Monkey Brew Co. Ltd Film Club   6.0 BRONZE Beer Brothers Ltd Dunkel Storm 6.5

GOLD Hawkshead Brewery Key Lime Tau  6.3

Bottle/Can British Bitter (up to 4.4%)

Nigel Hoppit, SPAsoft presents Ian Thompson, Cumbrian Legendary with the gold award

GOLD Cumbrian Legendary Ales Loweswater Gold  4.3 SILVER Donkey stone Brewing Co. Bray  4.0 BRONZE Dent Brewery Aviator  4.0

GOLD Joseph Holt Ltd Humdinger  4.1 SILVER Beer Brothers Ltd Hefeweizen  5.0 BRONZE Hophurst Brewery Ltd Mango & Passionfruit Milkshake IPA  4.5

Steve Briscoe, SIBA Regional Director presents Ben Sweeney, Bank Top with the gold award

GOLD Bank Top Brewery Herkules White Walker  6.5 SILVER Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery Imperial   8.2 BRONZE Manning Brewers Ltd Creme Bearlee imperial   9.0



Scotland Region Cask Winners


SIBA Scotland Region

Overall Champion of the Cask Competition Sponsored by

Murphy & Sons Ltd

Cask British Dark Beers (up to 4.4%)

Cask British Dark Beers (4.5 to 6.4%)

Beth Eaton presents Charmain McClymont with the gold award

Beth Eaton presents David Hannah (proxy) with the gold award

Arran View Brewery, Dreghorn 17th October 2019

Nicholas Brading presents David Hannah (proxy) with the gold award

GOLD Windswept Brewing Co Ltd Wolf   6.0 SILVER Kelburn Brewery Cart Noir   4.8 BRONZE Merchant City Brewing Chocolate Stout   4.5

GOLD Windswept Brewing Co Ltd Wolf  6.0 SILVER Sulwath Brewers Ltd Black Galloway  4.4 BRONZE Windswept Brewing Co Ltd Hurricane  4.5

GOLD Sulwath Brewers Ltd Black Galloway  4.4 SILVER Merchant City Brewing Unit 1 Red Ale  4.0 BRONZE Cairngorm Brewery Black Gold  4.4

Cask British Bitter (up to 4.4%) Sponsored by

Cask British Premium Bitter (4.5 to 6.4%) Sponsored

Cask Session IPA (up to 4.3%) Sponsored by

Beth Eaton presents David Dingwall with the gold award

Chris Palmer presents Ben Buchanan with the gold award

GOLD Cairngorm Brewery Stag  4.1 SILVER Orkney Brewery Red MacGregor   4.0 BRONZE Swannay Brewery Scapa Special  4.2

Chris Palmer presents Jenna Barningham (proxy) with the gold award

Bill Egerton presents David Hannah (proxy) with the gold award

GOLD Strathaven Ales Claverhouse   4.5 SILVER Kelburn Brewery Fly Half   4.6 BRONZE Fyne Ales Avalanche   4.5

GOLD Swannay Brewery Banyan  3.9 SILVER Stewart Brewing Ltd Jack Back  3.7 BRONZE Consolidated Craft Breweries Charisma  3.7

GOLD Windswept Brewing Co Ltd Hurricane   4.5 SILVER Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack   4.4 BRONZE Consolidated Craft Breweries Stillman’s IPA   4.6

Cask IPA (5.5 to 6.4%)

Cask Speciality Light Beers

Cask Speciality Mid to Dark Beers

Cask Strong Beers (6.5% and over)

Bill Egerton presents Jenna Barningham (proxy) with the gold award

Bill Egerton presents David Hannah (proxy) with the gold award

Bill Egerton presents Simon Tardivel with the gold award

Chris Palmer presents David Lannigan with the gold award

GOLD Swannay Brewery Orkney Blast  6.0 SILVER Arran Brew Arran Brewery Dug  5.5 BRONZE Loch Lomond Brewery Bravehop  6.0

GOLD Windswept Brewing Co Ltd Weizen   5.2 SILVER Ride Brewing Idaho 7   5.3 BRONZE Cairngorm Brewery Trade Winds   4.3

GOLD Merchant City Brewing Vienna Lager  5.0 SILVER Loch Lomond Brewery Lost Monster  10.0 BRONZE Consolidated Craft Breweries Sailor Terry  6.1

GOLD Ride Brewing Tropical DIPA   7.4 SILVER Orkney Brewery Skullsplitter   8.5 BRONZE Swannay Brewery Orkney Porter   9.0

Charles Faram & Co Ltd




Rankin Brothers & Sons

Rastal GmbH & Co KG

Cask Premium PAs (4.4 to 5.4%)

Scotland Region Bottle & Can Winners


Overall Champion of the Bottle/Can Competition

Bottle/Can British Dark Beers (up to 4.4%)

Barry Watts presents David Dingwall with the gold award

Gerald Michaluk presents David Dingwall with the gold award

Stuart Cail presents James Davies with the gold award

David Lannigan presents Ben Buchanan with the gold award

GOLD Cairngorm Brewery Black Gold 4.4 SILVER Dog Falls Brewing Co. Split the Tree   6.8 BRONZE Stewart Brewing Ltd Not Your Buddy, Guy!   6.8

GOLD Cairngorm Brewery Black Gold 4.4 SILVER Merchant City Brewing Unit 1 Red Ale  4.0 BRONZE Swannay Brewery Sneaky Wee Orkney Stout  4.2

GOLD Consolidated Craft Breweries Stout Keith  5.0 SILVER Orkney Brewery Dark Island 4.6 BRONZE Loch Lomond Brewery Silkie Stout  5.0

GOLD Strathaven Ales Old Mortality 4.2 SILVER Orkney Brewery Red MacGregor   4.0 BRONZE Cairngorm Brewery Stag  4.1

Bottle/Can British Premium Bitter (4.5 to 6.4%)

Bottle/Can Session IPA (up to 4.3%)

Bottle/Can Premium PAs (4.4 to 5.4%)

Bottle/Can IPA (5.5 to 6.4%)

Chris Palmer presents Tom Hunter with the gold award

Chris Palmer presents Fiona MacEachern with the gold award

Chris Palmer presents Craig Steven with the gold award

Nicholas Brading presents Tom Hunter with the gold award

GOLD Fyne Ales Avalanche  4.5 SILVER Windswept Brewing Co Ltd APA  5.0 BRONZE Strathaven Ales Claverhouse  4.5

GOLD Loch Lomond Brewery Southern Summit  4.0 SILVER Fyne Ales Easy Trail  4.2 BRONZE Atlas Brewing Company Latitude   3.9

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Nicholas Brading presents Robert Masson with the gold award

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GOLD Dog Falls Brewing Co. Split the Tree  6.8 SILVER Fyne Ales Superior  7.1 BRONZE Swannay Brewery Muckle  6.6

GOLD Merchant City Brewing Pilsner  4.0 SILVER Stewart Brewing Ltd Stewart’s Lager  4.0 BRONZE Loch Lomond Brewery Electric Cafe  4.0

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Beth Eaton presents Sarah Stirton with the gold award

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GOLD Harviestoun Brewery Old Engine Oil Engineers Reserve  9.0 SILVER Windswept Brewing Co Ltd Bear  10.5 BRONZE Inner Bay Brewery Ltd Jet  9.0



GOLD MEMBERS Premier Systems’ cloud-based brewery management software, BrewMan, has been designed specifically for breweries and distilleries and iscloud-based trusted by over 200 businesses in the UK. Premier Systems’ brewery management software, BrewMan, has been designed specifically for breweries and distilleries and is trusted by over 200 businesses in the UK.

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What our customers say What our customers say


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We would Gloucester Brewery can request to thesystem. system BrewMan and benefit printers intochanges the BrewMan is certainly recommend it to other brewers. from requested by other breweries. beingchanges continually enhanced and I like the way I Gloucester Brewery BrewMan was the right for us. can request changes to choice the system and benefit We have had BrewMan now from changes requested by other breweries. for just over seven years and Inveralmond Brewery BrewMan was the right choice for us. have found to be invaluable We have hadit BrewMan now for our day operations. just day overtoseven years and Inveralmond Brewery We have been using From telesales tobe cask tracking have found it to invaluable Cask Tracking End-to-End Solution Cloud-Based Software BrewMan since the it is a very easy to use system and the efficient for our day to day operations. inception of Burning We have been using teamSimple at Premier are always willing to offer and From effective system, Telesales, Access from anywhere in the telesales to cask tracking duty calculation, order Sky and I cannot BrewMan since theand allowing youtoto know exactly entry and distribution all made world with data secured help when needed it is aand verysupport easy use system and the efficient where your casks are and what’s more efficient and connected backed up every two hours. imagine how we inception of Burning team at Premier are always willing to offer Bays Brewery in them. end-to-end. would have managed Sky and I cannot help and support when needed without Easy imagine it! how weto Bays Brewery We were keen to install use, it takes care of would have managed some brewery software all the boring stuff without it! 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We’veof found simplehad to recommendations otherBrewMan brewers which info is now at our fingertips as distribution has become Production Module Delivery App BrewRep Module work with, reliable and robust in everyday used the system and have never regretted use opposed to in people’s heads significantly slicker. All the and the updates and support structure fromtodevice allowing the decision. We’ve found BrewMan simple Manage production processes, Android draymen Manage your sales team, set and bits at of our paper. To takeas info on is now fingertips Premier Systems isand excellent. helps work with, reliable robustBrewMan in everyday raw materials, fluid movements to use record deliveries, collect objectives, report progress our brewery weheads needed a tool such and opposed to inforward people’s and ensure end-to-end cash and capture customer enter orders on the road us our product, orders,structure stock, racking andrun theall updates and support from as it has everything andBrewMan on bits ofand paper. Todelivered take traceability. and dutySystems processes efficiently,BrewMan meaning helps we can signatures. Premier is excellent. that it said it forward would. Itwe helps us look andsuch sound our brewery needed a tool get on with making theorders, beer. stock, racking us run all our product, more professional. as BrewMan and it has delivered everything and duty processes efficiently, meaning we can that it said it would. It helps us look and sound Magic Rock Brewing Co Ltd Bristol Beer Factory get on with making the beer. more professional. Magic Rock Brewing Co Ltd Bristol Beer Factory

Starting from just £20/month www.premiersystems.com All pricing can811 be 100 found on our website at: Phone: 02380 Starting from just £20/month www.premiersystems.com/pricing Email: sales@premiersystems.com All pricing can be found on our website at: www.premiersystems.com/pricing WWW.SIBA.CO.UK











SIBA brewers' news

Bluestone Brewing Company launches Community Green Hop Brew Home brewing has been taken to a whole new level by the locals living around Bluestone Brewing Company in Newport, Pembrokeshire. Residents have recently turned their hand to creating a one-off green hop beer using hops grown in their own gardens. The brewery, based at Tyriet Farm in Cilgwyn, is regularly used as a meeting place for the local Gardening Club, and so the brewery decided to get the community involved and purchased the hop plants for the gardening club members. The community hop growers helped to come up with the name and artwork for the bottle label and the brewers created the recipe. Each gardener who contributed has received their very own box of beer.

For more information go to www.bluestonebrewing.co.uk

New Hogs Back Brewery Bar gains Cask Marque accreditation Hogs Back Brewery has gained accreditation from Cask Marque after passing a rigorous inspection of the beers served at its Brewery Bar, located next to the brewhouse in Tongham, Surrey. The accreditation carries special significance for Hogs Back as the brewery's managing director Rupert Thompson was one of the founders of Cask Marque in 1998. Despite championing beer quality for more than 20 years, this is Thompson's first bar and

his first opportunity to apply for Cask Marque accreditation. The Hogs Back bar opened earlier this year, in an area just outside the brewhouse with a canopy, lighting, sound system and seating for 30 people. Initially created as a summer bar, it has been so popular locally that Hogs Back is planning to keep it open year-round. All cask beers served in the bar are poured through handpulls rather than direct from the barrel, which is the more usual practice in brewery bars. Beers served include Hogs Back's flagship ale TEA and Surrey Nirvana in cask, as well as Hogstar Lager, Hog IPA and Little Swine lower strength beer in kegs. Two decades ago, as brands and brewing director of Oxfordshire brewer Morland, Thompson was part of the small group that founded Cask Marque to address quality concerns. He said: "Since helping to establish Cask Marque in 1998, I've been part of the movement to improve the quality of draught beer in pubs and bars. We're delighted that the Hogs Back bar has passed the Cask Marque inspection, and our plaque is in pride of place at the Brewery Shop entrance. There's no doubt that standards now are higher than they were, meaning more drinkers are enjoying a pint of beer served as it should be - and are therefore more likely to order another. This is good news for drinkers, licensees and brewers, and I'm proud both to have been there at the start, and to continue to work to consistently serve great tasting, high quality cask beer."

For more information go to www.hogsback.co.uk



SIBA brewers' news


Tyne Bank Brewery unveils UK’s first 100% eco-friendly six-pack holders Tyne Bank Brewery, the independent Newcastle cask ale house, has ramped up its sustainability efforts by introducing ecofriendly six-pack holders.

These new can holders are 100% eco-friendly and are made from recycled wood pulp, which is fully biodegradable. The introduction of the new can holders extends the brewery’s commitment to environmentally-friendly business practices. It has recently switched its can packaging from plastic to cardboard and also donates its used hops and malt grains to Hillheads Farm, Backworth, Newcastle. Julia Austin, founder of Tyne Bank Brewery, said: “At Tyne Bank Brewery, sustainability is at the forefront of what we do. Whether you’re a brewer producing cans of beer or a consumer drinking them, we all need to commit to reducing single use plastic. We’re

proud of doing our part in reducing the planet’s plastic waste problem and helping to reduce the long-term threat to the environment.” Tyne Bank Brewery is a popular event space and it recently partnered with a local social enterprise, The Artisan Baking Community, to encourage businesses to care more about the environment. She continued: “Our Brew and Bake workshops have proven really popular with several businesses in the area. They’re a fun team building experience where waste from our brewing process is collected and used to bake wonderful bread and any left-over bread is then used in our casks. It’s a full end-to-end sustainable workshop.”

For more information visit www.tynebankbrewery.co.uk

Salcombe Brewery launches reduced alcohol Salcombe Lite Salcombe Brewery Co. has announced the launch in January of its first reduced alcohol beer, Salcombe Lite, a small batch brew which will be available until stocks last on draught in pubs across the country and in bag-in-boxes (5L, 10L and 20L) from the Brewery Shop. Head Brewer Sam Beaman said: “As part of our series of small batch beers we wanted to launch a reduced alcohol ale to meet the growing demands by consumers which would also be available in January when many drinkers are looking for a lower alcohol alternative. I am thrilled that we have been able to create a brew that fits that bill without compromising on the flavour. Salcombe Lite is a super session ale that punches well above its weight.” Salcombe Lite (ABV 2.5%) is a smooth golden ale with floral hints and a spicy hit. Dry hopped with Citra and Cascade for extra zing, this crisp and refreshing ale has a medium to light body with an invigorating hop character to finish.

For more information please visit www.salcombebrewery.com

Exe Valley Brewery Beer Day 2019 raises £1,800 for the Red Cross On Saturday 14th September, Exe Valley Brewery held its annual Beer Day when it opened its doors and welcomed the community to see what it does. There were tours of the brewery, music, barbecue, raffle and of course beer, but what is different is that Guy Sheppard, the brewery owner and James Fryer, the Head Brewer, allowed drinkers to help themselves to the beer, with people putting what they feel appropriate into donation buckets which are given to the chosen charity for 2019 which was The Blue Cross. “We love allowing our local community, and some from further beyond, into the brewery to see what we do,” said Guy Sheppard, “And we are indebted to others who come and help us with cooking and serving the barbecue, running a raffle, playing for us and plenty more and to the local businesses who supported us by donating some of the food and raffle prizes.”

James and Guy recently made a special delivery of a cask to The Blue Cross at the Tiverton Rehoming Centre with the monies raised from Beer Day 2019 – these monies total a wonderful £1,801.72 and the team are delighted that this will go towards the work done by The Blue Cross in rehoming pets.

For more information go to www.exevalleybrewery.co.uk





SIBA brewers' news

Arran View Brewery hosts its first event Arran Brewery recently hosted the SIBA Scottish beer awards at its Arran View Brewery in Dreghorn in North Ayrshire. The catering was provided by The Auld Bakery in Dreghorn and was reported by all to have been excellent. The Arran Brewery also took a Silver award for its Brewery Dug American styled IPA. The SIBA competition was the first event to be held in the former games hall of the old Primary school in Dreghorn. Arran Brewery has converted it into a brewery. The hall held over 70 judges and staff and the event was considered a huge success. The hall will be available for local functions and made an ideal venue for the well over 260 beers entered into the competition, of which 100 were cask ales. The site continues to be developed and a small sour beer brewery will open soon adding a range of beers to the Arran portfolio of over 12 different ales.

For more information go to www.arranbrewery.co.uk

Five pence from every pint of The Chiltern Brewery’s ale Chiltern Wheeling is donated to WheelPower To celebrate this year’s Rugby World Cup, The Chiltern Brewery released a brand new beer that was available exclusively during the World Cup - Chiltern Wheeling. But not only did the ale taste good, it also DID good, by supporting well-known local charity, WheelPower. “It is no secret that we pride ourselves on brewing the highest quality beers with the highest quality British ingredients, but something that we don’t shout about is our love of sport, particularly rugby,” said Tom Jenkinson, Head Brewer at The Chiltern Brewery. “It can be easy to take this for granted and with this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, we wanted to go above and beyond with our celebrations. That’s why partnering with WheelPower on this year’s charity beer made perfect sense!” CEO of WheelPower, Martin McElhatton, said: “WheelPower is delighted to be the charity partner for the Chiltern Brewery’s Chiltern Wheeling beer and celebrate their love of sport and support to help provide opportunities for young and newly disabled people to enjoy the incredible physical and mental benefits of sport and being active through our work. Chiltern Brewery are a fantastic local business and we are most grateful for the funds raised through sales of Chiltern Wheeling across Buckinghamshire and beyond.”

For more information go to www.chilternbrewery.co.uk



SIBA brewers' news


New Managing Director of Ossett Brewing Co to build on major spend Yorkshire’s Ossett Brewery is poised for its next stage of growth with the appointment of Alex Minett as Managing Director of the brewing company. Alex was latterly on-trade sales director at Red Bull and part of their UK Leadership Team. Having been with the company for approaching 20 years, he was responsible for delivering the strategic direction of their UK on-trade business and guided Red Bull to be the No 1 on-trade packaged soft drink and No 1 on-trade energy drink brand over his tenure. At Ossett he will be tasked with accelerating growth following a £1.7million investment in brewing capacity, warehouse facilities

and equipment, building works and new packaging resources. Alex joined Ossett Brewery at the end of September. He said: “I am really looking forward to playing my part in taking Ossett forward at this very exciting time. The brewing and pub industry is experiencing a very vibrant period, with many new challenges and opportunities. Ossett has a reputation for having amazing people and for producing excellent beers and I look forward to harnessing both to help deliver a successful future for the brewery and the brands.” Ossett owner Jamie Lawson said: “As we complete our very substantial investments in the brewery we are delighted to

Old School Brewery picks up a national award The Old School Brewery’s Hopscotch beer has won a highly commended award in the Beer Category in the annual Great British Food Awards. The annual awards celebrate the country’s finest homegrown ingredients, as well as the hard-working folk who produce and cook with them. This year’s judges, including The Hairy Bikers, Raymond Blanc, John Torode, Monica Galetti and Michel Roux Jr to name a few, tasted their way through a huge array of products across the 24 categories covering everything from beer, cheese, charcuterie, seafood and cake. Old School Brewery’s Hopscotch is definitely a beer with a difference… and the judges Si King and Dave Myers, aka The Hairy Bikers, decided to award this sunshine coloured pale ale with its crisp taste and delicately flavoured citrus fruits a highly commended award recognising its complexity and taste. Catherine Walsh, from Old School Brewery, said: ‘’We’ve been brewing our beers since 2012 in our artisan brewery located in part of Warton former Grammar School. As you might expect we are proud of where we live and work, which is why we chose to call the brewery Old School. Each of our beers reflects this heritage and aspects of school life with names like Blackboard, Hopscotch, Headmaster and Textbook. We are hugely proud of the fact that Hopscotch has been recognised with a highly commended award by the TV Chef duo of Dave Myers and Si King. It demonstrates that we are creating excellent products that appeal to a broad audience and stand out on the national stage. Recognition like this is a real achievement for the team and recognises all the hard work they put into the business day in day out.’’

For more information visit www.oldschoolbrewery.co.uk

welcome Alex to the team. These are very exciting and challenging times in the fiercely competitive brewing and pub industry. We are now set to build on our roots as a high quality cask ale brewer and further grow business for our brands across cask, keg and packaged categories. Alex brings his wealth of experience at Red Bull to play a lead role in that growth.”

For more information go to www.ossett-brewery.co.uk

Mad Cat Brewery announces exclusive ‘Thai IPA’ collaboration with Rosa’s Thai Cafe The team at Rosa’s Thai Cafe, the popular Thai restaurant group founded by chef Saiphin Moore, have announced that they will launch the restaurant’s first exclusive house beer. Rosa’s has teamed up with family-run Mad Cat Brewery to create Rosa’s Thai PA, a unique Thai inspired craft pale ale blended with lemongrass and lime, on the menu at all Rosa’s sites from 1st October. Rosa’s Thai PA (4.6%) has been developed by Mad Cat Brewery in their microbrewery in Kent, with consultancy from the Rosa’s F&B team, to complement the authentic, fragrant and spicy flavours of the restaurant’s menu. Both the lemongrass and lime used to infuse the beer are sourced directly from Thailand, in line with Rosa’s wider ethos to use Thai produce and support farmers in the country wherever possible. The resulting beer is crisp and light, with refreshing citrus notes and pairs perfectly with Rosa’s signature curries, stir fries and soups. Mat Cat Brewery managing director Peter Meany said: "Rosa's Thai Pale Ale is a modern craft beer collaboration between us and Rosa's Thai Café. As a team we love Thai food and had been thinking about creating a Thai inspired beer concept so when we received an approach from Rosa's we jumped at the chance to collaborate with them. They have been tremendously supportive, offering us feedback on flavour profiles and giving us the opportunity to test run our beer in their Bluewater restaurant. The beer will appeal to a wide range of consumers enjoying and complementing the fantastic range of foods offered by the Rosa's."

For more information go to www.madcatbrewery.co.uk





SIBA brewers' news

Docks Beers to launch Docks Academy One year after opening their doors, Docks Beers has announced that the new venue above the Grimsby brewery and taproom will be unveiled in January 2020 and will be known as the ‘Docks Academy’. The brewers have also launched a website www.docksacademy.com and social media channels using the handle @docksacademy. The first acts will be announced on these platforms in the coming days. Having secured crucial funding from the Key Fund to convert the vacant first floor of the King Edward Street church, major

works can commence in November to transform the space. Brewery Director Will Douglas said: “This is the beginning of an exciting chapter for Docks Beers and the first floor of our fantastic building. It has taken us some time to put the finance and plans together, but now we have the green light. We want to offer a diverse programme including live music, theatre, comedy, dance, lectures, workshops and exhibitions. We aim to bring big artists and acts to Grimsby and we are already booking in some exciting names for 2020. We have our work cut out for us, but the venue should have its premiere event early next year. It is also a significant step for our business in that we will create more jobs and associate the Docks Beers brand with great culture and performance.”

For more information about Docks Academy follow @docksacademy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and visit www.docksacademy.com to sign up news updates.

Norfolk brewer gives a massive push for cancer awareness David Holliday from the team at Moon Gazer Ale is to push a 50kg barrel of beer all the way from its Hindringham base to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London – a journey of over 200km to raise awareness of testicular cancer. There was an old wartime saying about ‘careless talk cost lives’ well, David is determined that the marathon trek will turn that saying on its head to ‘saves lives’, as he explains: “It all started when I rather casually quipped on social media that if we won the public vote for East of England Co-Op’s Producer of the Year award that I would push a barrel of our Fred’s Check – which we brew for It’s On The Ball – a local cancer charity – all the way to the oncology team at St Bart’s.” Unfortunately for David once the challenge was out there a few people commented it would be an awesome thing to do, and there were a couple of offers of help. So, he decided to commit to carrying out the challenge anyway regardless of the outcome of the vote. Plans are now underway for a 9-day trip which starts on April 23rd and ends 1st of May as David adds: “There is an awful lot of planning. For starters choosing a route which is safe to push the barrel along –I’m not sure the authorities will be keen to see me pushing a barrel beer along the M11 – so the 201km zig zags its way through the towns and villages of East Anglia.” Part of the planning will also involve raising awareness of testicular cancer with groups along the route – calling in to schools or sports club to chat about this killer disease – and of course pubs and breweries will provide great stop off points. Awareness is the key, since 98% of testicular cancer can be cured if caught in time – the trouble is not enough people know about it – and that’s why the brewery hope that the beer push will help raise awareness.



David, is understandably keen to hear from anyone – particularly brewers or suppliers to the industry who may be willing to join in the fun for part of the challenge. “There is so much good that we want the beer push to do in raising awareness for testicular cancer but equally we want to use it to show what a force for good the brewing and pub industry is too, so any brewers want to hook up, even for a few minutes along the route, would be great.”

You can find out more or get in touch with David at the brewery via their website www.moongazerale.co.uk

SIBA brewers' news


Salopian Brewery’s Paper Planes awarded Supreme Champion at the International Beer Challenge Paper Planes, Salopian Bewery’s session New England IPA, was awarded Supreme Champion at the recent International Beer Challenge (IBC). Paper Planes was one of over 850 beers to enter the competition. It was first judged trophy winner for best ale up to 5% and then beat all other category winners to win the Supreme Champion. Jeff Evans, chairman of the IBC, said: “We have some of the shrewdest beer judges in the land - retailers, importers, publicans, brewers, writers and flavour analysists. The judging process is rigorous, unrivalled and our approach is much respected among our panel of judges. The judges were hugely impressed, as always, with the quality of the beers that reached the gold standard. Choosing the Supreme Champion beer was not an

easy thing to do. There was a full and frank discussion, and it was great to see – when the results were revealed – such a variety of beers from different countries claiming the trophies. Congratulations to all the trophy winners, and particularly to Salopian Brewery, deserving winners of the Supreme Champion award.” Salopian Brewery’s Paper Planes is hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin and it dazzled the judges with its enticing nose, complexity of flavours and balanced, bitter finish. MD of Salopian Brewery Wilf Nelson said he was “over the moon to see one of our beers fly away with such a prestigious award and thanked the dedication and hard work of all the team at the brewery."

For more information go to www.salopianbrewery.co.uk

Welbeck Abbey Brewery introduces ‘Foraged & Found’ range

Malt The Brewery celebrates its seventh birthday with an unusual crowd funding scheme Malt the Brewery in Prestwood, Great Missenden, have just done some crowd funding…The Malt Way! Forget Dragon’s Den or the many traditional online crowd funding platforms.

In an age where water rights are contested, droughts are increasingly common and there is an increased pressure to reduce negative impacts on the environment, Welbeck Abbey Brewery has taken steps to stand apart from their competitors. Throughout 2019 the brewery has taken advantage of the fact that its customers not only want unique brews but want to buy products that make them feel good about supporting an environmentally responsible company. The brewery has grown steadily in size since its inception in 2011, and this year boldly introduced an innovative new range of special brews centred around sustainable production. In addition to their six core real ales, Welbeck launched their “Foraged & Found” range. Each unique ale was brewed with a food byproduct from food producers, eateries, and community groups local to the brewery. A key part of the brewery’s campaign “Go Green for 2019”, the range showcased the brewery’s efforts to have a positive impact on the environment and local communities, and highlighted their commitment to reducing unnecessary waste.

For more information go to www.welbeckabbeybrewery.co.uk

The idea came about when, like other small high street businesses, a backdated hike of their business rates gave the business a huge debt. Founder Nick Watson said: “At first it looked like that was it, the end of the road, after almost six years and before we’d even made a profit.” But thanks to huge support from members of the brewery club, The Maltsters, a very understanding landlord, local MP, Dame Cheryl Gillan and Chiltern District Council, against all the odds the brewery found a way through the crisis. Co-Founder, Jenny Watson said: “We decided it was time to take the next steps and having been 100% debt-free for our whole history, rather than go to a bank or institutional lender, we decided to bring our most loyal customers on the journey with us.” “Many of them have supported us since the very first week back in 2012 so it just seemed right to share the rewards with them” said Nick Watson. So, Malt The Brewery announced its ambitious plan to raise £250,000 in return for 15% of the business, inviting only existing Maltsters to take part. In the space of just 7 weeks, Maltsters raised a huge £225,000. This is now being channelled into a managed and ambitious program of transformations including new jobs for local people.

For more information go to www.maltthebrewery.co.uk





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SIBA brewers' news


Big Drop Brewing Co launches first in World Collab Series of 0.5% ABV brews Big Drop Brewing Co, dedicated exclusively to making the finest 0.5% ABV beers, has teamed up with renowned beer expert Melissa Cole and four of the UK's leading craft breweries to produce a limited edition range of 0.5% ABV collaboration brews. Launched in early November, the creation of a Raspberry Gose, India Pale Lager, Hibiscus Saison and Black IPA is the first of a world collab series planned by Big Drop. Bringing together craft brewing expertise from across the nation, the collaboration saw Fyne Ales from Argyll, SALT from

West Yorkshire, Harbour Brewing Co. from Cornwall and Fourpure from London work with Big Drop. Headed by Big Drop’s master brewer, Johnny Clayton and beer expert Melissa Cole, the brewing day held in London was an opportunity for everyone to share their extensive knowledge and to create beers of 0.5% ABV without use of artificial extraction of alcohol, vacuum distillation or reverse osmosis. Big Drop’s co-founder, Rob Fink, said: “Since we launched in 2016, not only have we wanted to make delicious alcohol-free craft beer but we wanted to be at the forefront of making low and no drinks interesting and innovative. It is important for us to change perceptions that some may hold of alcohol-free beer being without character, or that it’s made without the depth of care and skill that goes into making a full strength craft beer. If anything, you need more skill to make a great alcohol-free craft beer. “We’re excited to, not only, be collaborating

Prince Charles enjoys Over The Hill Prince Charles attended the recent launch of the Gilpin Festival celebrating the birthplace of package tourism which started 250 years ago in Ross On Wye, just SEVEN miles from Hillside Brewery. Prince Charles tried Hillside Brewery’s Over The Hill, A 3.5% Dark Mild, and said it was a great beer with a good body to it – giving it a Royal Seal of approval! This is great recognition for Hillside Brewery which, since opening its doors in 2014, has now won over 45 awards for its delicious beers and business.

with a range of craft brewers here in the UK but we are planning a series of these projects to work with brewers from around the world. Big Drop has recently launched in Canada, Sweden and Norway so on our visits we’ve been in talks with some incredible brewers in those countries. Watch this space!” Award-winning beer and food journalist and author Melissa Cole, who brought the breweries together and helped develop the recipes, says of the project: “It’s tough to create firsts in such a busy and innovative market as beer but, as far as I’m aware, this is the first ever collaborative alcoholfree four pack. I’m also just so pleased with how all the beers turned out and I hope it helps people rethink alcohol-free beer as less a necessary evil when they are driving or deciding not to drink for whatever reason and instead look on them as a genuinely tasty choice.”

For more information go to www.bigdropbrew.com

Springhead Brewery, founded in 1990, is relaunched in 2019! Much-loved microbrewery Springhead, based in Laneham, near Retford, returned this year, following the sale of the business in early 2018. The new owners, who bring a wealth of successful business experience to the table, have big plans to breathe new life into the business, and have already have made a positive start this year making changes with a new brewery team and introducing a new customer service team. Utilising traditional as well as cutting-edge modern techniques to showcase their extensive variety of flavours Springhead beers are produced from the very finest of ingredients, sourced from the local area and across the globe. The brewery still continues to produce much-loved favourites from its core range of beers, including Nottinghamshire’s best-known IPA, Roaring Meg, and multiple award-winning triple-hopped American Pale Ale, Outlawed, as well as developing new brands to suit the discerning craft market. Director Diane Saunders said: “I’m incredibly happy to be part of this team, brewing our favourite beers, delivering the excellent quality our fans have grown to know and love to more people than ever. 2020 is set to be an exciting year for Springhead, with plans for expansion and development of new and innovative projects on the horizon. We are looking forward to deliver our fantastic growing range to a wider audience than ever before”

For more information go to www.springhead.co.uk




SIBA supplier news


Durham Box digitally revamps BAD Co’s selection pack Leading corrugated packaging manufacturer Durham Box has revamped BAD Co’s mixed multi-can beer pack. Inspired by American ale production, the beer brand needed an update on their selection pack, comprising of four different craft beer varieties. Durham Box has been servicing a broad segment of the corrugated market for the last 30 years. Their recent major investment in an EFI Nozomi C18000 digital press was key to completing the box revision and they were able to deliver on the customer’s brief, with the

new cutting-edge technology providing impressive image quality and fast running speeds. The firm is the first UK packaging manufacturer to invest in a Nozomi. “Our reworked packaging for BAD Co has not only improved the digital quality of the artwork, but also streamlined production processes to reduce waste, improve efficiency and save the client money,” said Durham Box’s Paul Barker. “We started by cleaning up the existing artwork to enhance the can imagery on the box and create deeper blacks. We were able to reduce costs by removing any print from unseen areas of the pack. And by moving away from litho to the Nozomi,

we were able to improve the production lead-time by two weeks. Keeping the entire process in-house with our latest kit, allows us to benefit from greater control on the entire process, whilst also reducing waste.” Jill Helm from BAD Co said: “We have been working with Durham Box for the last two years and we have been impressed with their excellent packaging solutions and great customer service. Their digital print capabilities generate fantastic savings for us. We are now in discussion with them regarding new gift boxes for our sprint range, and we look forward to seeing the results.”

For more information go to www.durhambox.co.uk

Maltster Muntons celebrates with customers at the Scottish Beer Awards Muntons, the maltster and malted ingredient manufacturer, recently hosted a table of Scottish craft brewing customers at the annual Scottish Beer Awards held in Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange in September. The event attracted over 300 brewers and industry representatives, with breweries and beers made using Muntons malts dominating the winners’ podium. Eleven of the possible 15 gold awards went to Muntons customers. In addition, eight of the nine business awards were picked up by Muntons customers.

Muntons sponsored the “Product Development Team of the Year” award and hosted representatives on their table from Ferry Brewery, Drygate Brewing Company, Fierce Beer, 71 Brewing and Stewart Brewing. Of the 24 awards in total (15 beer awards and nine business awards) there was a resounding success for Muntons customers, who won a total of 11 Gold awards, five Silver awards, nine Bronze awards and picking up eight out of nine of the Business Awards. Fierce Beer picked up 10 awards with their head brewer, Dominique Bongers, picking up the highly coveted “Brewer

of the Year” title. Stewart Brewing also performed exceptionally well collecting the prize of “Brewery of the Year”. David Hannah, Muntons craft brewing area sales manager, said: “A great night was had by all who attended and this event clearly demonstrated that the Brewing Sector in Scotland is still going from strength to strength with great beers truly beginning with Muntons Malt.”

For more information go to www.muntons.com

Hop Forward Podcast: 50 episodes in and still going strong! in their business by launching the Hop Forward Podcast.

A little over a year ago, former brewer of The Sheffield Brewery Company Nick Law set off on a mission to help brewers and suppliers to the beer industry get ahead



Now 50 episodes in, and still going strong, the Podcast airs each Thursday, and guests have included beer writers Matthew Curtis, Lily Waite, Melissa Cole and author of Barrel Aged Stout and Selling Out, Josh Noel; Cloudwater’s Paul Jones talking about mental health, SIBA’s very own James Calder talking about the organisation’s role within the industry, and many more. Covering a wide range of topics such as brewery vessels and equipment, sales and marketing, supermarkets and suppliers and even taking a light hearted approach to

beer festivals in special episodes on location with Sheffield Brewery’s comedy-gold, Paddy Spencer, at Northern Monk’s Dark City and Torrside’s Smokefest - the podcast is a must listen for anyone working within craft beer. "Nick's insights into the business of brewing - it's fundamentals and future - helped shape our approach to the rebrand and distillation of our core range and identity,” says James Leaver, Events & Marketing Manager at London Beer Factory. “A critical voice in the industry.”

Tune in to the Podcast by visiting www.hopforward.beer/podcast

SIBA supplier news


Which keg is right for your brewery? Tony Hird, MD of Polykeg UK, looks at the boom in one-way kegs and the factors you need to consider when choosing the right keg for your business… “Global sales of PET one-way kegs have doubled in the last four years and are set to double again in the next five years, according to a new Global PET Keg market research report by Maia. The report concludes that ‘Future market growth will be explosive’. The Maia report highlights several key drivers for this growth. “Compared to steel and glass, PET keg supply chain costs are even more economical”. “PET kegs can better protect and maintain the original flavor than stainless steel barrels due to lower oxidation”. “A one-way PET keg allows beer to last four times longer than traditional steel drums, reduces the carbon footprint of the transported beer and provides more functionality and versatility for bar and restaurant owners.” There can be no doubt that one-way kegs are going to continue growing and become a major force in the global keg market. However, not all one-way kegs are the same. Some kegs have features which can limit where breweries can sell their beer or add significant on-cost to the bar or restaurant. Other kegs have advanced inner bag technology, include features which prevent fobbing, can be filled upright or inverted and are a new generation in terms of strength, durability and safety. So when choosing a one-way keg, it is important to consider the following aspects: -

Which Valve? There are six different keg valves

commonly used throughout the world. A, S,D,G,M & K. Ideally you want to be able to offer your customers any of those valves. This will allow you the freedom to ship your product anywhere in the world. Some kegs offer you limited valve options and even a bespoke valve unique to that supplier. This means you have to invest in new coupling equipment in order to sell your product into a particular market. Polykeg can offer you any keg fitted with any valve as standard. We offer A,S,D,G M, and now also a K valve. Whatever valves and couplers are being used by your customers can be accommodated

Bag or No Bag? The inner bag in a PET keg is used for non-carbonated products where CO2 cannot be used as a propellant, or to prolong the life of the product once the keg has been tapped. Polykeg offer kegs with or without an inner bag and as previously stated with any valve as standard. Polykeg is the only company to offer you a keg which can be fitted with any valve either with or without an inner bag.

Fobbing or Foaming? This is a problem for most kegs. It creates a lot of wastage and is frustrating for both the bar and the customer. Fobbing occurs when CO2 forms in the top of the keg usually as a result of the keg temperatures and pressures not being managed correctly. As the beer is drawn from the top of the keg it mixes with the CO2 and creates foam which is then dispensed into the glass. Polykeg have designed a solution to this problem. All our kegs are fitted with a dip tube. This ensures that the beer is drawn from the bottom of the keg, up through the dip tube and into the glass. The beer does not come into contact

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with any CO2 in the top of the keg. This dramatically reduces fobbing.

Filling Orientation Some kegs can only be filled upside down. Whether these are filled manually or on a filling machine it creates additional complication and hardship to the filling process. Polykegs can be filled either upside down or upright. We give you the choice.

Safety is Paramount As with all pressurised vessels, one-way kegs need to be handled with respect. Polykegs have several safety features built in. They are designed to withstand an internal pressure up to 10 bar, one of the highest in the industry. All valves are fitted with an automatic PRV feature. Should the internal pressure of the keg increase to 6 bar, the PRV will automatically release this pressure through the gas channel of the valve. In addition, the PRV has a break off tab. Once the keg has been emptied, the tab can be manually broken which depressurizes the keg and renders it safe for dismantling and recycling.

Pre – Purged All Polykegs come pre-purged with 1 bar of Nitrogen. Polykegs with inner bags also have 0.5 bar of CO2 inside the bag. This means they are ready for filling straight away. Most other kegs need to be purged before filling which adds time a complexity to the process. Polykeg is the only keg on the market which offers all these features as standard in every keg. Our kegs make your filling process as easy as possible and give your business the freedom to expand, without any of the restrictions and problems of some other kegs.”

For more information contact Vmoore@polykeg.co.uk

WBC offers Printing Services Packaging is the window to your business, a way to leave an impression, a way to stand out from the crowd. WBC Printing Services helps small and independent UK businesses to bring their brand to life by creating a suite of products at affordable prices.


Production runs start from just 50 pieces and you could get your final product delivered within just 10 working days. With a range of beer boxes and cartons, build a comprehensive brand identity that helps tell (and sell) your story, wherever your packaging is seen.

For more information visit www.wbc.co.uk



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SIBA supplier news


Brammer Buck & Hickman launches new brochure for brewers Brammer Buck & Hickman, the UK’s leading supplier of industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products and services, has launched a new brochure covering the company’s range of quality products and services aimed at the brewery sector. The new brochure identifies the key issues in this industry, including hygiene, health & safety and pressures surrounding continuous production, and shows the range of Brammer Buck & Hickman products and services that enable customers to reduce repair downtime

and maintenance costs, whilst increasing productivity. Product overviews featured within the brochure include couplings; stainless steel clean line cylinders; brewery specific chains and belts; process hoses; motor gear units; hygienic pipe valves and fittings; solid oil technology, linear, high temperature and maintenance-free bearings. In addition, the new brochure highlights Brammer Buck & Hickman’s workshop services, delivered through four specialist engineering centres. Services available at these centres include gearbox repair, pump repair and maintenance.

A condensed case study included in the new brochure demonstrates how Brammer Buck & Hickman supports companies in the brewery sector.

For more information visit www.bbh-rubix.com

Warminster Maltings gets a new Managing Director Robin Appel, the owner of Warminster Maltings, has stepped into the role of manager following the abrupt departure of Chris Garratt. Back in 2001, Robin rescued the maltings from closure, viewing it as a complimentary addition to his thriving malting barley enterprise. His barley company, Robin Appel Ltd, holds the production and marketing rights to the grandstand barley variety Maris Otter, as well as the largest Organic grains portfolio in the UK, including Organic malting barley.

Robin is a barley man, through and through, with over 55 years spent in the corn trade. He began his career in 1963, attending the Corn Exchanges of East Anglia, assisting his grandfather who commanded substantial malting barley supply contracts into Midlands and Northern Brewers who, in those days, operated their own maltings. Built in 1855, Warminster Maltings is Britain’s oldest working maltings, making malt the traditional way, on floors. It is the only working maltings remaining in the western half of the country.

For more information go to www.warminster-malt.co.uk

The Label Makers works on vibrant new label designs for Vocation Leading label manufacturers, The Label Makers, has produced a range of striking new labels for a special release beer series by West Yorkshirebased Vocation Brewery. Noted for making bold statements with their modern brews, the craft brewery is giving traditional beer branding a wide berth, in favour of some vibrant designs to match the liveliness of their new releases. As a limited-edition initiative for 2019, the special release series consists of 12 new beers in can and keg formats, with each being released monthly. The range, which challenged their brew team to come up with 12 completely new recipes, started in January with ‘Seeing Dubbel’, a rich and decadent plum and vanilla Belgian dubbel. Hot on the heels of Seeing Dubbel was February's release, Tough Nut, an imperial

nut-brown ale packed full of earthy English hops. During the summer they released ‘Summer Saze’, an elderflower and honey saison, and ‘Pool Party’ which was a sour IPA. The latest release from the series is ‘Bocktoberfest,’ which is a rich German-style doppelbock. The compelling series is exclusive to independent retailers. Alastair Fielding, key accounts manager at The Label Makers, said: “It has been great to work with these playful and vibrant designs. The labels have been printed digitally to achieve a quick turnaround to accommodate the short lead-time and limited volumes of this monthly range.” Rachael Pinder, head of operations at Vocation Brewery, said: “It has been great to bring together three thriving companies in West Yorkshire, with our brewery in Hebden Bridge, our designers, Robot Food, in Leeds, and the experts at The Label Makers in Bradford. We chose The Label Makers because we were extremely impressed with their flexibility and ability to react to whatever the designers threw at them! They deliver quality in a timely fashion, always quick to respond to our needs. Following the response to this series so far, we are now looking to produce another specials range, so watch this space!”

For more information go to www.thelabelmakers.co.uk




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SIBA supplier news

The Price of a Pint Myles Pinfold, from brand design consultants WPA Pinfold, looks at the importance of a strong brand in protecting your premium price point…

“How times have changed. A decade or so ago, if the price of a pint of beer had gone up by even a couple of pence, it would have made headline news, whereas today we can be paying eye-watering prices for our beer and it seems to go unnoticed. Brewers have managed to transform beer from commodity to high-end by providing flavoursome quality, variety and image. Beer is ‘cool’ and a select few brewers have even achieved cult status. Despite this, headlines are already predicting that the beer market is overheating and, with nearly 2,500 UK brewers, the high-end craft boom is due to bust. Certainly, there are signs of change... For the off-trade, discounters such as Aldi and Lidl are selling very acceptable (although not great) ‘craft’ beer for 99p and the threatened arrival of ‘big craft’

from the big brewers is inevitable. For most brewers, navigating the complexities of both positioning and pricing is a major challenge. The beer market is fragmented and segmented, and the few brewers that have attained cult status have often achieved this through the pursuit of a constantly rotating range of beers – whilst there are also many more who are simply following the trend and copying the leaders. There is a balancing act to be had between vanity and the commercial sanity of consistent sales and economies of scale. There is a need to balance the desire for both innovation and new recipes with the legacy of the brand. It is important to maintain and build on your brand’s unique and identifiable positioning both on bar and on shelf, whilst also developing leading-edge beers. The big challenge is building a brand that can grow with the brewery. Oneoff themes are easy for small breweries who have no clear strategy, but they can come across as less authentic, or even disingenuous, as the brewery grows. That same one-off approach can also lead to


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cognitive dissonance in a sector where many brewers are failing to build any real brand equity with the consumer. What all the successful (and rich) brands have in common is a cohesive, individual and distinctive brand identity. Another significant challenge is the pace of product development and bringing new beers to market. With over 11,000 UK beers on the market and 3,000 new beers launched in the last five years, it is important to protect intellectual property. New brands are piling into the sector and even finding a unique and ownable (and registerable) name for your new beer, can be a major challenge. As the market becomes more and more crowded and the pace of bringing new beers to market increases, the temptation is to go for the easy option and forego the challenge of creating original work. The smart brewers continue to create brands that are both ownable and push the barriers. This in turn builds brand equity and protects premium pricing.”

For more information go to www.wpa-pinfold.co.uk

Crookham Travel: 43 years young - and still going strong! What a debt British real-ale drinkers owe to the Small Independent Brewers. And conversely, what a debt the Small Independent Brewers owe to British realale drinkers! Crookham Travel (CT) has been bringing these two together since 1977, taking dedicated lovers of fine ales to breweries not just in the UK but abroad as well. When CT was founded by Gerald Daniels, the beer world was a very different place. London was a beer desert and so originally CT took train-loads of thirsty drinkers on its ‘Rail Ale Rambles’ (‘RARs’) to parts of the country where decent beers were still to be found. But during CT’s second year Gerald realised that visiting pubs gave visitors only half the story, so on 2nd December 1978 he organised CT’s first brewery trip and took 575 people to the late-lamented Buckley’s Brewery of Llanelli. Brewery visits to the

Isle of Man and Channel Islands followed and soon CT started to organise trips to breweries both old and new with well appreciated visits to the newly-opened Penrhos Court Brewery, Carola Brown’s Ballards and the extremely well established Three Tuns Brewery. The firm also started to run more complete holidays (‘Explorers’) both in the UK and abroad where guests have explored the brewing heritage of a particular region in more detail. To date, CT has taken over 38,000 people on RARs, Explorer and miscellaneous trips with over 1,000 visits to breweries, many but by no means all still brewing. The vast number of our recent visits have been to SIBA members and CT embraces its SIBA Supplier Associate membership, attending all the local meetings and the AGM as well as Gerald acting as beer-judge at a number of SIBA Beer Festivals – SIBA even awarded CT ‘SIBA Supplier Associate of the Year 2017’.

If you would like to host a visit from a CT band of enthusiastic beer drinkers email gddtravel1977@gmail.com or visit the website www.CrookhamTravel.co.uk WWW.SIBA.CO.UK



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SIBA supplier news Crisp Malt invests in Scotland for Peat’s Sake


Maltsters Crisp Malt Maltsters are help meet demand from craft distillers and brewers looking to produce smoky beers and whiskies with a £3.3M investment in a new peat kiln. The use of speciality malts is growing not just among craft brewers, but also among craft distillers. Peated malt from Scotland is particularly coveted by brewers and distillers seeking to produce distinctive, smoky beers and whiskies with traditional, authentic, Scottish ingredients.

Crisp Malt’s recent investment in a new peat kiln in Portgordon, on the North coast of Scotland, is helping to fulfil the increasing demand for this premium speciality malt. The new plant more than doubled the production capacity of peated malt to nearly 40,000 tonnes a year. The new peat kiln incorporates a custommade peat burner built by Don Valley Engineering in Doncaster. When peat is burned in the kiln, it releases smoke impregnated with phenolic compounds. “By smoking still wet but germinated barley, we ensure that the peat phenol penetrates deep into the kernel,” said Colin Johnston, Crisp’s craft brewing and distilling sales manager in Scotland. “The smoky characteristics produced by utilising this traditional method ensure that the flavour intensity lasts through the transport, mashing, brewing and distilling processes – even if the malt is being sent around the world. Peated malt is ideal for rauchbiers, and smoky stouts and porters – and also gives peated whiskies those wondrous phenolic flavours and aromas. “The new burner is ultra-efficient, maximising the creation and capturing of phenols – at the same time as minimising the use of peat. With the exceptionally high levels of phenol we’re able to achieve with

the new burner, we are looking to release a ‘Super Heavy Peated’ malt in 2020.” Peat is sourced from the Highlands. The barley, which benefits from long summer days, light soils and sea breezes comes from farms local to the maltings. Crisp team members work closely with growers, ensuring that the barley coming into the maltings is always of the highest quality. “This might sound simple,” says Colin, “but with all the variables involved in growing, it is an art as well as a science. We are very fortunate in having fantastically skilled farmers in the region. They have learned over generations – general barley-growing ability, but also expertise related to their own particular patches of land. Many of them have been working with us since Portgordon maltings opened in 1979. We’re very proud of that fact. Our new plant gives us the capacity to supply craft brewers and distillers in Scotland, Britain and across the world with premium peated malt produced in Scotland. Already the renowned home of malt whisky, Scotland has a growing reputation for its fantastic range of craft beers.”

To talk to Colin about peated malt and how to best you use it, brewers should email Colin.Johnston@crispmalt.com

BFBi on tour – your ideas welcome! This year has seen the BFBi on tour hold a Free From seminar at Murphy & Son Ltd, showcasing the different options, products and giving advice of creating a Free From product. And in October a BFBi on tour event saw HMRC and the BBPA give information and advice about Brexit and what companies need to do to prepare. Now the BFBi wants to hear from you! What are the subjects you would like us to present in our forthcoming BFBi on tour events?

Send all suggestions or any other questions to Siobhan.mcgonigle@bfbi.org.uk BFBi events coming up in 2020 14th January

BFBi Eastern Section Indoor Cricket

23rd January

Tour of Daniel Thwaites PLC, Blackburn

28th January

Challenge of Plactic Packaging - Joint BFBi & IBD Southern Section Seminar, Hall & Woodhouse, Dorset

6th March

BFBi Northern Section Annual Lunch, Leeds

10th – 12th March

SIBA BeerX, Liverpool

19th March

Tour of Adnams Brewery & Distillery, Southwold, Suffolk

2nd April

BFBi Eastern Section Annual Dinner, Robinsons College, Cambridge

29th April

BFBi National Luncheon, Drapers' Hall, London

14th May

Tour of Tiny Rebel Brewery, Rogerstone, Newport

21st May

Tour of Curious Brewery & Chapel Down Winery tasting, Ashford, Kent

16th June

BFBi Midland Section House of Lords Annual Luncheon






ON-SITE TRAINING & RESIDENTIAL TRAINING COURSES NEXT COURSE: 22 - 25 MARCH 2020 Rob Smith & David Smith Rob: 07966 693097 / David: 07970 629552 enquiries@brewingservices.co.uk www.brewingservices.co.uk

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SIBA supplier news Online Courses vs Face-to-Face Chris Horne, a Director of Brew-School in Bakewell, which has been running interactive brewing courses since 2015, gives his views on the value of face-toface interactive learning…

“We all know that the world is moving online. These days you can get everything you possibly want at the touch of a button through your phone, laptop or iPad. The same is true for education. There is now a plethora of education providers offering solely online learning whilst others are increasingly moving towards an online emphasis for many of their courses. There is a certain logic and convenience in doing this if you are trying to reach a global market and going online for them as a training or education provider makes sense ....but is this always best for the student? Whilst online learning gives the student the required information and flexibility

many students crave I can honestly say that as someone who has studied both at home and for many years through face to face learning I can see the limitations of internet based courses. Let’s face it sitting alone in front of a lap top reading reams of information can sometimes be mind numbingly boring and is not always the best way to learn. Some people simply cannot study in this way. They switch off. Their brain goes numb and they cease to engage even with a subject that they are genuinely interested in. The reality is that some people need real people to engage with; real presenters, experts they can question and have the opportunity to drill down on the information in front of them to clarify their understanding of what can sometimes seem a confusing and contradictory science such as brewing. I remain convinced that students who are prepared to invest their time in face to face learning will not only


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gain by having brewing experts on hand during the course but will also be able to share their knowledge and experience with fellow attendees through socialising at breaks, lunch and in the evening; thereby maximising their learning experience. I am reminded that whilst modern technology can deliver posthumously the likes of Frank Zappa on stage as a hologram; good education just like great music is all about the live experience: Lights, action, interaction….bring it on!”

For more information go to www.brew-school.com

Low price Trade Approved weighing scale for breweries launched by Marsden A new weighing scale, which complies with trading laws and is intended for breweries who need to weigh kegs and bottles before dispatch, has been launched at an “entry level” price by Marsden. Trade Approved weighing scales are a legal requirement when the price of an item or items is based on weight, and using unsuitable weighing equipment could result in a fine in excess of £1000 - and in the most extreme cases, imprisonment. Marsden’s MSS-I-400-APP is Trade Approved and available with a range of base sizes, making it “perfect” for the brewery industry. It is available to order through the Marsden website now, and the team behind it say it’s been aimed specifically at the brewing industry. Mark Coates, Marsden’s Operation Director, said: “We know that

many breweries are price-conscious, and although we would often recommend stainless steel scales for brewery use, there is a need for a lower cost alternative. The MSS-I-400-APP can be ordered at an entry level price, and means breweries are on the right side of the law when pricing based on weight. This new scale is easy to use and robust. We’re offering a range of base sizes for different uses.” Marketing Manager David Smith added: “The MSS-I-400-APP is perfect for breweries. We recognise that a wider range of Trade Approved scales need to be offered to breweries, for different needs and at affordable prices, and this has been our focus in 2019.” The new scale’s launch follows the publishing of survey results from Marsden which found that, according to 88% of breweries, legal requirements for weighing are not clear enough.

For more information go to www.marsden-weighing.co.uk

Meet the Framax team at SIBA BeerX UK 2020 Marco Caralli, co-owner and Director of Framax, the kegging, bottling and canning solutions specialist, will be attending BeerX UK in March 2020, for the third year running. He has been helping customers personally, over the last two decades, by designing and producing specific solutions for their breweries, at every stage of their company’s growth.

Brewers can meet him at on Stand No. 144 or speak with his team, Diana Hindle and Liz Smith, to give them an idea of your requirements. During the past 26 years, this family business has come across hundreds of bottling, kegging and canning questions from their customers. Since 1993 in Italy (and worldwide) - and since 2008 in the UK, Framax (UK) Ltd has been working with UK companies, both large and small, to provide answers to production


challenges. Potential canning customers should also visit the stand to find the latest information on the Can Block electronic Canning Machine.

For more information go to www.framax.com





Dan Unwin dunwin@brewersselect.co.uk

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Meet the siba team






CONTACT: barry.watts@siba.co.uk

CONTACT: caroline.nodder@siba.co.uk

How long have you worked for SIBA and what did you do before?

How long have you worked for SIBA and what did you do before?

I’m new to SIBA but I’m not new to brewing or craft beer. I only started a couple of months ago with SIBA but already I’ve had the opportunity to meet many committed and passionate brewers around the country at the Scottish, South East and East Regional Meetings. I’m now looking forward to getting to the other regions as soon as I can.

I became the Editor of the Journal at the start of 2016 but I have been working in the beer and pub sector since the late 1990s. I am a former Editor of The Publican Newspaper and have also had a number of industry roles in operations and communications over the years including heading up the marketing and communications for the British Institute of Innkeeping.

As you can probably imagine as SIBA’s new Head of Public Affairs, I have a strong political background having worked in Parliament, think tanks and in various communications roles. But I combine this with my experiences of being a brewer as I also ran my own cuckoo brewing company for a while. This means I understand what it’s like to sell my own beer into shops, pubs and bars.

What does your job role with SIBA involve?

What does your job role with SIBA involve?

What, in your view, is SIBA’s key purpose?

My role involves making sure your voice is heard in Parliament and in Government, that they listen to your concerns and that we continue to enjoy a diverse, vibrant and independent craft beer industry in our country.

There is no doubt it is a tough market for small brewers in the UK at the moment and I see SIBA’s key role as supporting its members in every way it can in order for them to sell more beer. Being a part of an organisation like SIBA also gives small businesses a much larger voice when it comes to lobbying and fighting against potentially damaging legislation and regulations.

What, in your view, is SIBA’s key purpose? It’s a privilege to join SIBA as its just turning 40 next year. The organisation has achieved a lot in these years and been a vital cog in the wheel of change that has transformed craft beer in Britain. But there are many challenges facing brewers and SIBA exists as the voice of independent craft brewers and its key purpose is to ensure that you continue to be heard.

How do you support SIBA members in your role? By working with members to make the most effective representation we can to Parliament, politicians and government. Currently I’m working closely with our Scottish members on the Deposit Return Scheme, which could have serious implications for the availability of craft beer in Scotland. I’m also continuing to push for positive reform to SBR and lobbying for no duty increases in the budget.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at SIBA? Travelling the country, meeting brewers and sampling their magnificent beers. In my short time at SIBA I’ve been to beer competitions, breweries and regional meetings, but I’m yet to do a brew day. Hopefully I’ll get an invite before too long.

What has been the highlight of working at SIBA for you so far? Having the chance to speak and answer questions at the South East and Scottish Regional meetings. The only way I can be an effective representative is if I understand your concerns, so these opportunities are very important to me.

What are you most looking forward to in your role next year? Getting a positive outcome for SIBA members on the big political challenges facing the industry. But also experiencing BeerX UK for the first time.

Tell us something readers might not know about the work SIBA does. SIBA helps to facilitate the ‘guest beer’ in Parliament’s Strangers Bar – which is open to all MPs. This is a great initiative to raise the profile of your beer with MPs and if you haven’t done it already, I suggest contacting your local MP and asking them to put your brewery forward for inclusion to the All-Party Group on Beer.

What do you like to do outside work? At home I’ve got a 100 litre pilot kit (which is far too large for my tiny flat) and I enjoy designing and brewing new recipes when I can.

What is your favourite beer and where would you most like to drink it? This is probably the most difficult question of them all! It’s like selecting a pebble from the beach – each one is unique but shaped by the others. If pressed I probably have to include Green Deamon by Hopdeamon, Dogbottler by Gadds and Bibble by Wild Beer (all amazing SIBA brewers). I grew up in Kent and one of my favourite pubs is the Ships Wright Arms at Hollowshore – so remote it doesn’t even have mains electricity, but it does have great local ale.

I write, commission and edit all the content for the quarterly SIBA Journal, research and write SIBA’s annual British Craft Beer Report and help produce the Suppliers News e-magazine.

How do you support SIBA members in your role? In terms of what we do at the Journal, sharing news, views, insight and ideas from across the sector, we hope to inspire brewers in their own businesses as well as keeping them up to date with the latest industry news. The brewing sector is an incredibly collaborate place and we try to feature in-depth interviews with brewers of all sizes and from all parts of the UK across the year to give members an insight into what others in their peer group are doing.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at SIBA? I absolutely love the beer and brewing sector and genuinely wake up every day feeling incredibly fortunate to have been able to make a career within it! My favourite part of my role at the Journal is the in-depth interviews I get to do each issue, when I hear more about the people behind the brewing businesses we feature. Every one is so different, I am always inspired and I take my hat off to all of them for the hard work and dedication it takes to succeed.

What has been the highlight of working at SIBA for you so far? I have to admit to being a bit starstruck when I interviewed Steve Hindy from Brooklyn and New Belgium’s Kim Jordan for the Journal, so those are both highlights for me. And I am also incredibly proud of our first ever SIBA British Craft Beer Report which I produced with the team last year.

What are you most looking forward to in your role next year? Next year is huge for SIBA and for the Journal as it is SIBA’s 40th anniversary year, for which we are producing a very special bumper edition of the Journal. It is due out at BeerX UK in March, and we will be looking back over four decades as an organisation and featuring some of the most influential SIBA members, past and present.

Tell us something readers might not know about the work SIBA does. I am always surprised by how much support and information there is available in the SIBA Toolbox online, in terms of advice, guides and downloadable tools to help save members time and money.

What do you like to do outside work? To be honest I like to take my work home with me – or to the pub to be more accurate, and am often to be found at my local enjoying a beer or two with friends. I also have a huge passion for travelling, especially around Asia, and am currently planning my next trip to Cambodia with my husband.

What is your favourite beer and where would you most like to drink it? I am excited by the revival of good quality craft lager, having grown up with the mass produced lagers of the 80s and 90s, so maybe a pint of Keller Pils from Lost and Grounded. And my favourite place to drink in the world is at the Bus Bar by the river in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.




contacts SIBA Head Office: 01765 640441 Cellar Services: 01765 641099

SIBA TEAM James Calder Chief Executive james.calder@siba.co.uk Sara Knox Company Secretary/ Directors Assistant sara.knox@siba.co.uk

Rachel Harriott Head of Operations rachel.harriott@siba.co.uk

Louise Henley Operations Administrator louise.henley@siba.co.uk

Neil Walker Head of Comms & Marketing neil.walker@siba.co.uk

Jenna Barningham Operations Administrator jenna.barningham@siba.co.uk

Barry Watts Head of Public Affairs & Policy barry.watts@siba.co.uk

Elle Spencer-Blanchard Operations Assistant elle.spencerblanchard@siba.co.uk

Rebecca Kirby Financial Controller rebecca.kirby@siba.co.uk All General Enquiries contact riponoffice@siba.co.uk

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 firstname.lastname@siba.co.uk Chairman of SIBA Ian Fozard

EAST east@siba.co.uk Ian Rydings Marcus Beecher Richard Naisby


Leigh on Sea Brewery Elgood & Sons Ltd Milton Brewery

SCOTLAND scotland@siba.co.uk Christie Slater Loch Leven Brewery Jamie Delap Fyne Ales Ltd Stuart Cail Harviestoun Brewery

MIDLANDS midlands@siba.co.uk Greg Maskalick Draycott Brewing Company John Allcroft Grafton Brewing Co Anthony Hughes Lincoln Green Brewing Co Ltd

SOUTH EAST southeast@siba.co.uk Andy Hayward Thames Side Brewery Jaega Wise Wild Card Brewery Robert Wicks Westerham Brewery

NORTH EAST northeast@siba.co.uk Ian Fozard Roosters Brewery Mark Anderson Maxim Brewery Dave Shaw Hop Studio Ltd

SOUTH WEST southwest@siba.co.uk Guy Sheppard Exe Valley Brewery Peter Martin Driftwood Spars Brewery Paul Arrowsmith Red Rock Brewery

NORTH WEST northwest@siba.co.uk Shane Swindells Cheshire Brewhouse Dave Sweeney Bank Top Brewery Steve Briscoe Peerless Brewery

WALES & WEST west@siba.co.uk Norman Pearce Corvedale Brewery Chris Gooch Teme Valley Brewery Dave Shaw Big Hand Brewing Company Ltd


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Profile for SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers

SIBA Winter 2019 Journal  

SIBA Winter 2019 Journal