Close Menu

SIBA’s manifesto states support needed for independent breweries

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has launched its manifesto for independent brewing in the House of Commons to highlight ways the sector requires government support.

The manifesto, which highlights ways in which independent breweries could be assisted with “market fairness” a “fair taxation regime,” a reform to alcohol taxation and initiatives that assist in “improving our environment”.

In terms of market fairness, SIBA sked for a “guest beer guarantee” for its members — to guarantee a guest beer in pubs to widen consumer choice and support local breweries as well as “transparent ownership” so that it could be “made clear on all advertising who brews the beer and where so that consumers know which beers are genuinely made by independent brewers in the UK”.

Under SIBA’s suggestions for a fair taxation regime, the manifesto asked for a review of the alcohol duty system and called upon the government to “keep the promise to fully review the new alcohol duty system within three years to ensure the reforms work for all small producers”. Alongside this, it called for ministers to “make duty fair” and “equalise the tax treatment of beer with cider so that global cider producers pay their fair share of alcohol duty”. The manifesto also asked for the government to “make it 20%” a battlecry related to its pleas to increase the draught relief to at least 20% to boost our community pubs”.

In a bid towards improving our environment, SIBA outlined how it would like “workable deposit return schemes” which would mean “a fully interoperable DRS with the same scope and criteria across the UK which works for small breweries”. To also assist the sector on its eco-conscious journey, the association asked for “design policies with small businesses in mind” a move that would mean “a commitment that the design of new government green policies takes into account small businesses”. Additionally, it also asked with “help to go green” and “provide assistance designed and available for small producers to hep them make the transition net zero”,

Speaking at the launch of the manifesto, SIBA chief executive Andy Slee said to ministers in the room: “The theme of our manifesto is around fairness, we don’t want special favours. We just want fairness. So SIBA is here unequivocally to promote independent British beer.”

Slee explained: “Independent brewing is from Land’s End to John O’Groats. There’s an independent brewer in every constituency…and 80% of the people we ask believe that their independent brewer is a force for good in their local and the local community, which means that an investment in independent brewing is a tick economically and a tick politically. So we’re a no brainer to invest in.”

Courting government ministers, Slee mused: “We haven’t come to you today to ask for things that we know won’t happen, we’ve left that to other people” and reiterated “all we do want is fairness and access to market fairness in taxation and help to become sustainable”.

He then explained how having a route to market is essentially one of the biggest challenge SIBA members face and said: “Our manifesto calls for a free of tie line for local independent breweries in each of the big pub companies, those companies that own more than 500 pubs. That would mean a 28 million shot in the arm for independent brewers. And it wouldn’t cost the government a penny.”

Slee pointed out how independent breweries in the UK currently “pay about 30% of their turnover in tax” and described the unfairness by making comparisons with “online gambling companies that pay 7% or 8% of their turnover in tax” as well as small cider producers who “don’t pay any duty at all”.

The bid for fairness was also echoed in SIBA asking if the independent beer industry might be soon involved in goal-setting for a greener future and become part of the dialogue. Addressing the industry’s hopes to move forwards with clear environmental goals in place, Slee said: “We want help to become sustainable. We want to work with you for a workable deposit return scheme when we’re talking about something that works economically.”

In a plea to ministers in the room, Slee concluded: “Finally, to the politicians amongst you, please expect a phone call or an email from a local brewer in your constituency, to invite you in to talk to you about these changes and what this manifesto would mean to that brewery in the local community.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No