SIBA to create ‘code of practice’ to avoid offensive beer marketing

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Thorough check: SIBA has claimed its staff screen entries to its awards
Thorough check: SIBA has claimed its staff screen entries to its awards

Related tags: Marketing, Beer

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has announced it is making plans to create a marketing code of practice for its members to ensure responsible marketing.

The association’s members and a panel of experts will be discussing the issues around offensive marketing and the best way to develop the code with an industry discussion at this year’s BeerX conference, which takes place next month at the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool.

SIBA has already stated ‘there is no place in the beer industry for sexist or offensive marketing’ and it claims staff members are screening all competition entries at its UK-wide Independent Beer Awards for offensive labelling.

SIBA south-east elected director and Wild Card Brewery head brewer Jaega Wise said: “The issue of sexist and discriminatory beer marketing has been raised at board level and will be discussed at BeerX.

“Members might wish to consider all their current branding, even where long standing, and make plans to change any that might be considered inappropriate by today’s consumers.

“Ideally members take action sooner rather than later so they do not face the costs and adverse publicity of having to withdraw or change a brand at short notice.”

Discriminatory materials

The code of practice and the discussion at BeerX gives SIBA and its members the chance to lead the industry on the issue of offensive marketing, according to SIBA non-executive director Carolyn Uphill.

She said: “This discussion, and the resulting marketing code of practice is an opportunity for SIBA and SIBA members to lead the industry in moving away from any past discriminatory materials in branding and labelling.

“Members are strongly urged to attend the seminar discussion and contribute their thoughts and opinions on this important issue.”

SIBA has called for an industry-wide approach with all in the alcohol trade working together to tackle the issue and has been engaging fully with the Portman Group as part of its discussions.

The Portman Group chief executive John Timothy said: “This is timely as we have been discussing issues around offence with SIBA and other stakeholders as part of wider preparations for a full review of the Portman Group code of practice later this year.

“Any additional guidance to ensure alcohol marketing is responsible is to be welcomed and we look forward to continuing discussions.”

Embedding values

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) head of communications Tom Stainer also backed SIBA’s plans for the introduction of the code of practice.

He said: “We welcome and are very supportive of the code of practice that SIBA has introduced and our volunteer leadership has been working on strengthening CAMRA’s own policy in this area since last year.

“CAMRA already has policies and guidance in place to promote inclusivity and tolerance, including its code of conduct and volunteers’ charter.

“Most recently, our national executive issued a clear statement that it does not condone discriminatory marketing of beers and ciders and will not accept products marketed in this way at festivals or in its competitions. We are looking to embed these values into activities across the organisation.”

Related topics: Beer

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