Society of Independent Brewers moves to take back craft beer from big drinks companies

Francesca Washtell
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SIBA is trying to redefine craft beer's identity with its new stamp of approval (Source: Getty)

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has today launched a new initiative to push big brewers out of the craft beer scene.

SIBA will offer its new “Assured” stamp of approval to breweries “truly independent of any larger controlling brewing interest” who also pledge to its manual of good brewing practice.

There is no strict definition of craft beer, which means any brewer can apply the term to its drinks.

Read more: London brews success on craft beer's "luxury" status

Research from SIBA shows 46 per cent of beer drinkers, the largest group in its study, regarded craft beer as “made by small brewers rather than large corporations”, though 35 per cent regard craft breweries as “artisanal”.

More than one in five, 22 per cent, associated the term with “small” and 14 per cent with “local”, though one in ten admitted they were unsure what it meant.

“Hundreds of passionate and genuine independent brewers have brought thousands of world-class beers to communities across the UK. However, as the craft beer market has grown it is being flooded with beers from across the world, often from large global brewers,” managing director of SIBA, Mike Benner, said.

Read more: Gulp: Another London craft brewer has just been bought

“We have launched our “Assured” initiative to help consumers make informed decisions about where their beer comes from and who has brewed it.”

More than 150 members of SIBA, out of 850, have already signed up to the initiative.

Several prominent craft beers have been bought out by big drinks companies, but still maintain they brew craft beer.

This has included Greenwich-based Meantime, which was bought by SABMiller last year and has been sold to Japan's Asahi to help the £79bn megabrew deal between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller go through.

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