Skip to main content
6th May 2014

SIBA to fund guide dog training

The Society of Independent Brewers’ south west region is sponsoring a guide dog as part of its ongoing community support. A cheque for £10,000 was presented to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association at SIBA’s south west beer competition at Tuckers Maltings in Newton Abbot, Devon.

SIBA’s support will pay for the training of a guide dog, which takes around 20 months. The SIBA-funded puppy will be born within the next few months and its training starts almost immediately. The training is being funded by proceeds from SIBA’s south west beer competition and beer festival, which has been held since 1993 at the Tuckers Maltings premises.

Guy Sheppard, SIBA chairman and a long-standing south west region trustee, said, “We are delighted to be supporting this very deserving cause. When trained, the SIBA guide dog will transform a blind person’s life, giving them independence, providing company and, importantly, connecting them with their community.

“We can’t think of a better way to show our support for the local community, and we’re looking forward to watching the progress from puppy to trained guide dog.”

He added, “Community support is one of SIBA’s core values: our members rely on local pubs to stock their beers, and on local people to drink them. At the same time, we provide local employment, both directly in brewing, and through the supply chain in pubs and suppliers such as Tuckers Maltings.”


Tuckers Maltings chairman Richard Wheeler said, “We’re proud to have played a part in creating the south west beer festival and delighted that it has become such a popular event and a magnificent showcase for the fine beers brewed in the region.  It has been especially pleasing to see medals awarded over the last 21 years to many of the brewers who use malted barley from Tuckers.


“The support of beer drinkers, publicans and others across the south west has been key to the event’s success and we applaud SIBA’s decision to show its gratitude to the local community through this sponsorship.”


The south west was the first SIBA region to stage a beer competition and festival. This year’s event, held from 24 – 26 April, showcased 270 draft and 150 bottled beers to around 5,000 enthusiasts from across the south west.


Caption to attached image: Paul Davey (centre), RCH Brewery and chair of the SIBA south west maltings committee and Richard Wheeler (far right), Tuckers Maltings chairman, with representatives from Guide Dogs for the Blind (l-r) Roy Scott, Matty Prow, June Scott, Val and Rick Lurcock


Notes to editors:


Tuckers Maltings south west beer competition and festival

·         In the early 1990s, Richard Wheeler of Tuckers Maltings suggested to SIBA in the south west that they showcase their members beers at a Festival in the Maltings. In 1993, Tuckers Maltings Beer Festival was born, the first of the SIBA beer competitions and festivals.  

·         The Victorian Maltings make an ideal venue and SIBA is indebted to Tuckers for their generosity over the last 21 years.  

·         Tuckers Maltings is one of only four malt houses in the country which still produces malt in the traditional manner.  It is the only one still to give regular guided tours showing how malt is produced in the in the traditional way using the original Victorian equipment. They also have a shop renowned for its wide selection of beers from the south west and beyond.


Guide Dogs for the Blind

·         Every hour another person goes blind

·         There are currently 180,000 blind or partially sighted people in the UK who rarely leave home alone

·         Guide Dogs for the Blind trains around 800 guide dogs each year, but to help meet the demand for new guide dogs, it needs to create a third more guide dog partnerships by 2020

·         The guide dog service receives no government funding so is reliant on donations


Issued on behalf of:                Society of Independent Brewers

By:                                           ShielPorter Communications

For information:                      Ros Shiel

                                                07841 694137 / 01403 267971