SIBA will provide a “stamp of approval” for brewers that meet its size and capacity requirements to be considered independent and that pledge to abide by its Manual of Good Brewing Practice.
This move would help customers make more informed choices in an age when the craft beer category was becoming less defined, it said.
Neil Walker, marketing manager at SIBA, added: “We are not looking to say that everything that’s not got this is bad but there has been a tendency for some of the global brewers to want to appear smaller than they actually are.”
He added: “There's nothing wrong with a beer from a bigger brewery - there are some great beers being produced by them. But you don't want to see that passed off as an independent beer because it’s not. This is all about provenance and transparency.”
More than 130 brewers have already pledged their support for their scheme and plan to use the stamp of approval in their future marketing.
Once signed-up, brewers can use the stamp on pump clips, bottles, cans, PoS and websites.
Eddie Lofthouse, co-founder of Harbour Brewing Co, said: “It’s about empowering consumers to make informed choices, helping them identify true independent craft breweries so they can taste the amazing beers they are making.”
Small is beautiful
Research commissioned by SIBA reported that 46% of beer drinkers defined craft beer as ‘made by small brewers rather than large corporations’. 35% said they regarded craft breweries as “artisanal”, 22% as “small” and 14% as “local”.
Mike Benner, managing director of SIBA, added: “We’re not being sanctimonious about this or taking ourselves too seriously and we realise that great beer can be brewed by all kinds of brewers.
“But as more and more brewers jump on the “craft” bandwagon, we think firstly that people want to know where their beer is being brewed and by whom, and secondly that we need to help even our relatively small members compete with the huge marketing budgets of big ‘craft’ brands.”