I do like to get on with people. This blog perhaps portrays a brewery persona that exudes trouble making. However, my friends and family will attest that I only embark on a path of dissent when I believe it is really required. I don't like getting upset with people generally.
We have had various issues with SIBA over the years. We have approached the hierarchy on many occasions with various complaints. On almost no occasion has their been an attempt to reconciliate difficult positions. More often than not an arrogant "it's not our fault" and "we fail to see what you expect us to do about it" response.
When our beer was banned from the festival on Friday we did not contact SIBA direct because we knew there would be the usual arrogance. Their response is an incredulous denial of blame.
To me an organisation like SIBA is there to support its members. Therefore I fail to see how their position is defensible.
It turns out to be true that it was in fact the venue that refused to serve the stronger, but perfectly legitimate entries. SIBA must take responsibility for the fact that they were organising the competition and festival. If the venue was not going to be all inclusive then a different venue should have been chosen. We should remember that the venue is run by one of the cask and session ale centric brewing members. One has to suspect deliberate actions to quash the tide of new contemporary brewers.
Their response to the fact that we have legitimately put our complaint into the public domain proves a level of arrogance from the organisers that almost beggars belief. Where is my apology, for instance? Where is the apology to the festival goers who failed to be able to drink the beers that were advertised on the internet before the event?
Although there may not be an "automatic ‘right’ to then have the beers on display" in my view, and I am not alone in this belief, there has to be a very good reason to discriminate against a particular beer. A good reason would be that the beer is contaminated or otherwise unfit for consumption. A beer being outside the constraints of narrow minds is not a good reason, especially when the beer is an award winner.
The fact that SIBA is defending its position, rather than apologising to its members, shows an out of touch, stuffy and old fashioned approach to beer.
Hardknott is all about changing this outdated perspective of beer. We are hopeful that once this has all settled down that SIBA will embrace this small but important part of the UK brewing industry and hopefully I can help them to work out the way forward.
What we do not need is further fragmentation in the brewing world.