SIBA – Society Independent Brewers & Associates

SIBA launched a new manifesto at the House of Commons, so we know where they’re putting their campaigning focus, which is pretty sensible given we’re due a general election. But politicians rarely seem to keep their promises, so I won’t hold my breath there. In general thought it’s good manifesto with a focus on fairness.

Guest Beer Guarantee – only for tied estates of more than 500 pubs. This doesn’t go far enough and needs to be a lower limit, as an example Wetherspoons has 900 pubs and seem to be everywhere. 

Transparent ownership – of beer. Also needs to go further and include transparent ownership of pubs. As an example, Chef & Brewer, Farmhouse Inns, Hungry Horse, Wacky Warehouse, Flaming Grill, Seared, Belhaven and the new Nest chains are all Greene King pubs, but rarely advertise that fact.

Duty reform, which is needed. But the manifesto targets cider which is a different business model with different costs and cashflows involved. Running a craft cidery may have lower Duty, but doesn’t have higher profits.

Call for draught relief to be increased to 20%, which would help “people to support their local community pub” but it wouldn’t. Draught relief applies to all breweries regardless of size, and would allow the multinationals to reduce the base cost to supermarkets. VAT relief at the pub/bottleshop is the better way to go to support pubs.

So in general, it’s a decent manifesto. I just don’t think it goes far enough. A mistake that was made in the Beer Orders back in the late 80s (89 in fact) and led to the PubCos problem we have today.

IndyMan not going ahead – IBCFest problems.

Sad news that IndyMan isn’t going ahead. They’ll be multiple reasons, and I think that it’s the right call. I personally didn’t really enjoy it, it wasn’t really my sort of festival, too crowded. But that crowded element showed how popular it was, and there’s no denying it changed the face of beer festivals in the UK, and opened the door for private companies to run their own.

Which isn’t always wise, as we saw with the International Brewing and Cider Fest.

Lots of issues, lots and lots of issues.

Eebria Sale Update

It seems that Eebria was up for sale since last year, but there was a lot of hush hush on it so as not to scare off the breweries and the pubs that used it, and to keep it a viable (valuable) business.

The original potential buyer pulled out, and then Beer52 bought it for just £30k. But given all the hush hush elements, and the quick sale and purchase, pubs and breweries did looe out to the tune of thousands.

Pubs were advised by Beer52 to claim back the money they spent through their credit/debit cards with the “goods not received” part, which lands the bank with the losses. Since then, Beer52 have also said that they’ll offer full credit to pubs that haven’t been able to use the chargeback to get their money back.
Because they’re trying to keep customer’s loyalty. Too late for that.

Still no money for the breweries that have lost thousands.

Fourpure in Trouble

Latest big name.

Sold to Lion years ago, then late ‘22 sold to Odyssey Inns along with Magic Rock, making them sort of independent again.

They’ve now applied for a CVA, company voluntary arrangement, which is basically a way of restructuring debts to allow for them to be paid back over a longer period of time.

Magic Rock and Odyssey Inns seem unaffected by this, but that just shows how parent companies can spin smaller companies off to manage overall debt.
Will be interesting to see what happens in the longer term.

Historic Brew Con

Two days of talks by the who’s who of beer and brewing history writers and academics. In Manchester.

I’m biased but it’ll be awesome.