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SIBA chief executive Mike Benner: "consumers deserve to know what they are buying"

SIBA calls for greater clarity on craft for consumers

The UK’s Society of Independent Brewers is calling for greater clarity for beer drinkers as to what constitutes a craft brewer following the recent spate of craft acquisitions by multinational brewers.

Molson Coors was the first to acquire a well-established craft brewer, Sharp’s, back in 2011. In December 2015 Anheuser-Busch InBev surprised the industry by acquiring Camden Town Brewery in London – this while it was looking to sell a second London craft brewer, Meantime, to satisfy potential EU regulatory concerns resulting from the addition of SABMiller premium beer brands.

Meantime, in due course, was acquired by a third multinational brewer, Asahi, a part of the Grolsch- Peroni package of premium brands divested to it by ABI.

And most recently Carlsberg has added its own craft enterprise, acquiring yet another brewery based in the capital, London Fields Brewery. This is to be operated within its Brooklyn Brewery joint venture.

All of which has SIBA chief executive Mike Benner calling for greater clarity in the marketplace: “Consumers deserve to know that what they are buying is a genuine craft-brewed beer as research shows that most beer drinkers believe craft beer to be produced by relatively small, independent brewers.”

To that end SIBA is encouraging members to make use of its Assured British Craft Brewer seal, which can be included on cask ale pump clips or on bottle and can labelling.

Market research commissioned by SIBA last year found that 46% of beer drinkers, by far the largest percentage of respondents, regarded craft beer as ‘made by small brewers rather than large corporations.’

That said the survey also nicely highlighted the confusion of what constitutes craft beer with one in 10 beer drinkers saying that they were unsure what the term means.

Larry Nelson
25th July 2017

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