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Who owns your beer? SIBA wants clarity

Added: Monday, July 10th 2017

Camden Town

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has highlighted the need for greater clarity for beer drinkers following a number of buyouts of previously independent craft breweries in the UK by global beer companies, including Camden Town, Meantime, Sharp’s, and most recently London Fields brewery.Jasper Cuppaidge of Camden Town Brewery is seen above. He sold his brewery to AB InBev for £85 million and the global giant has built a new brewery in Enfield for Camden Town.

The London Fields brand and site was purchased last week by Carlsberg. Mike Benner, SIBA Chief Executive, commented:  

"Buyouts such as that of London Fields by global beer company Carlsberg are made in the hope of capturing the original customers and target market of an established, previously independent craft beer brewery -- customer bases which were built on the back of the brewery being relatively small, independent and brewing quality, flavoursome beer. Consumers deserve to know that what they are buying is a genuine craft-brewed beer as research clearly shows that most beer drinkers believe craft beer to be produced by relatively small, independent brewers. 

"SIBA wants to see far greater clarity in the market place and as such launched the Assured Independent British Craft Brewer campaign, whereby truly independent craft breweries and the beers they brew, can carry a seal highlighting them as such. It's a simple accreditation which can be instantly recognised by beer drinkers on bottles or cans on supermarket shelves or on pump clips at the bar." 

The campaign will also be a major feature of the Great British Beer Festival in London this summer where all of the beers from independent breweries will be highlighted on bar banners and in the festival programme. The festival attracts over 50,000 people across the four day event and is run by not-for-profit consumer organisation the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). 

SIBA's South East Regional Director Ed Mason, who also runs Five Points Brewing Co in London, also commented, 

“London's thriving independent craft beer scene has been built on the passion, investment, sweat and tears of genuine independent brewers and we know that beer drinkers care about the provenance of their beer. The purchase of the London Fields brand by Carlsberg raises a number of questions about genuine independence and ethics in the brewing industry. SIBA’s AIBCB ‘Assured Independent Brewers’ seal will help ensure that customers can tell which beers are truly independent”.

*The Great British Beer Festival runs from 8-12 August at London Olympia. It includes the Champion Beer of Britain competition: the winner will be announced on 8 August. For details of tickets, tutored beer tastings and book signings go to: