SIBA, one of the main sponsors of GBBF, announced it would be working with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) to promote its “Assured Independent British Craft Brewer” (AIBCB) logo on posters at the festival.
The logo, which was launched at last year’s festival, can only be used by British breweries that are fully independent (not owned by a global beer company), abide by SIBA’s Food Safety & Quality standards, and produce less than 200,000hl of beer a year.
SIBA chief executive Mike Benner said that the seal represented “an easy way” for festival-goers to identify independently produced beers.
“SIBA is very pleased to be working with CAMRA to promote our Assured Independent British Craft Brewer logo to festival-goers at the Great British Beer Festival,” he said. “The seal was launched at GBBF last year so it seems fitting to return to the event and highlight those brewers now a part of the campaign.
“With the huge growth in popularity of quality beer in recent years, there have been a number of acquisitions of craft breweries by global brewers, as well as new products packaged as ‘craft.’
“This seal can only be used by truly independent British craft brewers who are members of SIBA and is an easy way for beer drinkers to identify the beers made by those brewers.”
Quality not size
Justin Hawke, owner of craft brewery Moor Beer, said that he supported the initiative, but warned the criteria risked penalising aspirational breweries seeking to expand their production.
“I think the initiative is great, we're really supportive of it,” he said. “In the current age of global brewers trying to buy up smaller independent brewers this is a great way for consumers to know what is a truly independent brewery.
“However, we need to be supportive of breweries as long as they remain independent and retain their ethos and quality. We shouldn't penalise aspirational brewers.
“If you look at the definition they use in the US, it's pretty massive, and they continually re-evaluate who they define as a craft brewer. The focus should be on independence and quality rather than size.”
GBBF turns 40
Around 350 of SIBA’s 850+ members are currently using the AIBCB seal, according to Benner.
Last month SIBA welcomed the launch of a similar logo by The Brewers’ Association in the US, calling it “hugely important for the future of both the UK and US beer markets”.
The Great British Beer Festival is in its 40th year, and takes place between 8 and 12 August at London Olympia.
Earlier this week it was announced that beers from Australia, New Zealand and the USA would be exclusively showcased at this year’s festival.