These nine regulatory bodies met in Brussels to create a European union for craft beer

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has joined forces with eight other beer regulatory bodies to form the Independent Brewers of Europe (IBE) in a bid to promote small producers over firms like Heineken and AB InBev.

Nine countries are creating a trade union for Europe’s craft breweries.

Bodies from France, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, Netherlands and the Czech Republic, all of whom represent smaller, independent craft brewers, agreed their plan at a meeting in Brussels last week, which would create an institution representing two thousand member breweries across the continent.

It aims to become a “central point of contact for the European institutions”, according to an emailed statement. It will allow its representatives and members to lobby on issues, such as regulation, taxation and access to a market which is still largely dominated by a handful of global brewing giants “despite the swing in consumer demand to craft-brewed beer”, Mike Benner, chief executive of SIBA, said.

The IBE intends to convey its message both “politically and commercially” in Europe in an effort to raise the profile of small business owners.

The announcement just under six months before the deadline for negotiating trade policies with the EU after Brexit.

The UK will officially leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, and while Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated her demand for “frictionless trade” with Europe in a speech at last week’s Conservative Party conference, the government has yet to secure a precise trade deal with European ministers.

Following a meeting on Thursday 4 October, European Council President Donald Tusk said the EU wants a relationship with the U.K. after Brexit that is “as close and special as possible,” according to Politico.

The nine organisations joining the European union of breweries include:

  • Independent Brewers of Ireland
  • SIBA, The Society of Independent Brewers, (SIBA) UK
  • Syndicat National des Brasseurs Indépendants, (SNBI) France
  • Unionbirrai, Italy
  • Scanian Beverage Producers, Sweden
  • Det Fri Øl, Denmark
  • Craft Brewers Netherlands
  • Czech and Moravian Microbreweries Association, Czech Republic
  • La Asociacion Española de Cerveceras Artesanas Independientes (AECAI)

“As the UK’s exit from the EU draws closer I’m pleased that we will be able to work with groups similar to SIBA to the commercial benefit of our members, sharing best practice and ideas to help develop the sector for all,” Benner said.

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