The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has named Mike Benner, currently chief executive at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as its new managing director.
Benner’s appointment follows a strategic review of SIBA which will see it combine the management of the trade association and the commercial arm to create a unified organisation. Under the new structure, approved by members at its AGM earlier this month, Benner will lead a SIBA Executive to run the organisation with the Board of Trustees continuing to provide oversight, direction and ultimate control of SIBA. The 24 trustees are drawn from the eight SIBA regions.
SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard said, “I’m delighted that Mike is joining us to lead our expanded organisation. His political astuteness, proven campaigning ability and passion for great British beer make him uniquely well-placed to take SIBA forward.
“Our trade association and commercial arms have a shared goal of helping our members to thrive within a favourable political, social and trading environment for British beer. Aligning our activities into one unified structure puts us in a stronger position to realise this ambition.”
Sheppard continued, “As a long-standing trustee of SIBA, I am proud of the organisation’s growth from small beginnings 30 years ago. The position we now occupy, as a respected trade body with considerable political clout, is thanks in large part to our chief executive Julian Grocock, who has raised SIBA’s profile immeasurably over his last seven years at the helm.” Grocock, who chose not to apply for the new managing director role, continues as chief executive until Benner’s start on 16 June.
Nick Stafford, SIBA’s commercial director, will continue his valuable work with the organisation under Benner’s direction. Sheppard said, “Without Nick, SIBA’s commercial venture would not be the huge success it is today.
“Nick has worked tirelessly to help SIBA brewers find a market for their beers, most notably creating the Direct Delivery System (DDS) which over the past decade has placed local beers in thousands of pubs that would otherwise have been closed to them.”
Benner has been chief executive at CAMRA for 10 years during which time the organisation’s membership has doubled and it has been placed on a financially stable platform. He has been at the forefront of many campaigning successes including the scrapping of the hated beer duty escalator and planning reforms to benefit pubs.
Mike said, “I’m very proud of CAMRA’s achievements and it’s been an honour to be part of such a great organisation. I leave in the knowledge that CAMRA is fit for purpose to continue its success. I am very excited to join SIBA at a time when there is such enormous opportunity for independent brewers and I look forward to working towards its vision to build the future of British beer.”
Caption to attached image (l-r): SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard and Mike Benner
Notes to editors: SIBA was founded in 1980 as the Small Independent Brewers Association by 20 pioneering microbrewers. Today, it has 723 full brewer members, the majority of them classed as ‘micro’ or ‘local’ brewers. SIBA’s growing credibility and campaigning success – particularly achieving the introduction of Small Breweries’ Relief in 2002, and its role in the scrapping of the beer duty escalator in 2013 – have established it as one of the most authoritative bodies in the brewing industry. SIBA was renamed as the Society of Independent Brewers in 1995, but retains its original acronym.
Issued on behalf of: Society of Independent Brewers