SBDRC – Role Reversal & Delayed Outrage

In so much as I am not employed currently by a beer business, I am not within the beer industry. Merely an interested observer, looking from the outside in.

What I do for a living is Data Analysis. I find and receive information, research that information to assess its veracity, compare it with other information, then draw conclusions based on that information.

Which is why – unlike the bulk of the beer Commentariat – I wasn’t “blindsided” by the Government announcement on Small Brewers Duty Relief last week. The people behind the SBDRC (Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition) and BBPA (British Beer and Pub Association) are ruthless businessmen and entrepreneurs, some self – identifying as the latter, rather than being beer people.* They are politically connected, savvy individuals. They employ – collectively – PR operatives. They care about money. And that the Micro Brewing sector is – bit by bit – making inroads into volumes.

More from Rupert later….

Yes, some of these businesses are “generations old” family owned entities (Harveys, Lees, Holts etc), but several of the bigger players are formed over years of Merger & Acquisition Activity (a phrase that may be repeated later….) and themselves have been “acquired” (see Fullers and – more recently – Marstons) by Multi-National conglomerates.

But – despite the repeated spin coming from a number of angles – many of these companies (in a UK sense) cannot be described as “Small”, or even “Medium sized” breweries. They are big businesses. With profits in the £Ms – as you will see below. These companies – by dint of their additional membership of the BBPA – operate hand in hand with those Multi-National conglomerates that they (with their piteous and mendacious whining) claim are “squeezing” them. Think Asahi, ABInbev, Carlsberg, Heineken, Molson Coors….. List of members here

Now then. If you are going to complain about profitability and growth etc….. then don’t whine when you’re making 7 figure profits. It’s a SERIOUSLY bad look fellas. Especially when you’re screwing the Micro’s.

Source – Companies House Beta (It’s amazing what you can find if you only TRY!

Anyway. Back to Rupert….

“We strongly condemn the current campaign of intimidation supporting the request, which runs against the normally friendly and collegiate nature of brewers…” It’s strange isn’t it. How people might be offended by attacks on the businesses and companies they hold dear… Hardly “collegiate” behaviour, eh Rupert.

Hogs Back made a profit in 2017 of £270,927. In 2018 they made £349,567, up £78,640 on the previous year. (Source here) I don’t personally know a brewery that wouldn’t envy being “squeezed” to such a profitable extent. All that whilst investing

More of that “struggle”, whilst conniving with their profitable friends to strangle Micros almost at birth. Forgive me if I shed no tears.

Now then. The British Beer & Pub Association (or BBPA). The organisation which comprises of the biggest brewers in Britain – mostly members of SBDRC – (with the exception of Brew Dog), cheek by fattened jowl with the International Beer Monoliths. ABInbev, Asahi, Carlsberg, Heineken & Molson Coors

Yes. Yes. I’m sure they will be celebrating…. But wait… “…. it hopes the measures announced today will BUILD on the success of SBR….” Errr….. And as for those “long standing distortions….” that’s the Duty relief Emma. That many of your members campaigned for, benefitted from and now want to have removed from others….. That was brought in to assist small brewers who didn’t have the economies of scale of – what are now – er…. YOUR MEMBERS! Jesus may weep……

Remember those profit figures from Harveys earlier? They would probably cover the profits from every Micro in the Greater Manchester area. And then some. Again, Crocodile tears. As for their “best intentions”? Worthless hypocrisy.

Right then. I’m done. This whole SBDRC thing has exhausted me. I’ve been ranting for almost 2 and a half years (not weeks….) into – what has seemed to be a void. Now that void has been filled by beer writers. Journalists if you will. With far greater profile and reach than I.

I haven’t the patience of Steve Dunkley – and you REALLY need to read his thoughts on this, he’s quite forensic. I’ve a full time job. And a (Virtual) beer festival to organise. I’ll remain an outsider. Looking in. With interest.

Go read. Go get organised. And save your Independent Breweries. And be kind to one another.

Back Soon. Jx