Nick Stafford, managing director of SIBA direct delivery scheme (DDS), was responding to emails sent by the union to a large number of the organisation's members. The GMB has written to micro breweries across the UK asking them to write to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to support the “free of tie” option in the consultation currently underway over a new statutory code for tied pubs.
Dave Mountford, GMB branch secretary, said in the letter: “The representative body SIBA operates a direct delivery scheme which is often touted by the large pub companies as an excellent initiative enabling independent micro brewers access to their tied market.
“However, I believe this to be far from the truth as this scheme is unnecessarily restrictive due, amongst other things the administrative shortcomings of SIBA.”
However, Stafford has responded strongly to the claims.
In his open letter he said: “As managing director of SIBA DDS I am extremely concerned with your factual inaccuracies and claims of improper administration of this company. Your accusations of administrative shortcomings, restrictive practice, price fixing, and wanton de-listing of brands shows you to be totally uninformed of information which is in the public domain. Your assertion that the “GMB is not anti SIBA or their DDS” screams a contradiction of the highest order.”
Stafford also claimed that the DDS was devised as a way to help small brewers get their beers listed with major companies and with more pubcos relaxing the beer tie, SIBA brewers are increasingly selling their beers direct to them.
He has offered to meet Mountford to discuss the issue. He added: “I find it difficult not to support the GMB in the first instance in its efforts to better the lot of tied licensees or any other person trying to make a living in the beer industry. The level of support for any campaign, however, must be based on that campaign meeting the moral, ethical and professional standards set by SIBA on itself and its members.”
In a response Mountford said he would be pleased to meet with SIBA DDS.
He said: "Of the 70 emails that I sent out to geographically local brewers I received in excess of 25 responses, either via email or phone call. 12 Brewery’s met with myself over two separate meetings despite quite inclement weather.
"The responses from these breweries varied from cautious concern over the implications of government involvement to outright support. The majority however were critical of the DDS.
"I would like to reinforce the points made in our letter in which we state we are neither anti SIBA or anti the DDS. The opinions in which you refer come from your own members, not the GMB."