Thursday 29 June 2017

SIBA membership ballot

I entered the beer and pub industry because I felt there was something wrong with it. That was just over 13 years ago. A lot has changed in that time, but frankly so much more has remained steadfastly unchanged. The beer tie still exists, most pubs still fail to have anything of an interesting beer range and that is largely due to the massive force of brewing businesses that control much of the market.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to me to think that changes to the industry should be led by my trade body, SIBA.

There are various discussion within SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) regarding a number of issues. I have engaged in an attempt to get the best out of the organisation for my business, and currently I am of the view that my efforts have largely cost me time and money with very little to show.

I presented a couple of motions at SIBA AGM this year. One was asking for a ballot of members to ascertain if the membership criteria was in accord with the membership's views. The motion was passed with a healthy majority.

Motion 1:
SIBA will carry out a ballot of all members to ensure that the membership is happy with the current membership criteria.
Should the results of the membership show that the majority of the membership is unhappy with the current criteria SIBA must fully, demonstrably and transparently consult the membership to determine a new membership criteria.

The ballot is now being conducted, and after an initial technical hitch, the vote is now live for all SIBA members.

I spent yesterday trying to write further words to support my reasons for a "no" vote. I have to be honest and say that I fail to add anything that I haven't already written, and again, or that I have said in my speeches.

The speeches were recorded by the SIBA photographer. I've lifted my bits out of the official video that languishes behind a password. This may not meet with total approval of the officialdom, but I'm only showing me, so hopefully I'll get away with it.

There are further points made by other brewers at the AGM. Some of them rather splendid. I'd strongly recommend logging onto the SIBA toolbox and looking for the membership ballot link and finding the video. The motions start 45 minutes into the video.

BeerX 2017 SIBA AGM - Dave's speeches
from Hardknott Brewery on Vimeo.

I would really like a "no" vote. Not because I really think that it'll make a lot of difference tightening up the membership, but because I would like SIBA to realise that they do not do enough for small brewers like me.

If the vote goes to a "yes" then it might just be the end of my time trying to engage with SIBA as it will then be proof that SIBA will fail to adequately align with my view of what the beer-world should look like.

Some extra information;

It is estimated that;
over 60% of breweries in the UK produce less than 1,000hl per year
over 80% of breweries in the UK produce less than 2,500hl per year
over 90% of breweries in the UK produce less than 5,000hl per year

And yet the focus from SIBA is on providing for breweries who produce over 5,000hl per year.