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23rd February 2012

‘Sustainable employment’ offered by local brewing sector


With youth unemployment at its highest level for 20 years, the UK’s young, thriving local brewing industry can offer sustainable employment, says the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), as it lobbies for continued investment in the sector and a more beer-friendly tax regime in next month’s Budget.

SIBA’s Local Beer Report 2012, published later this month, highlights the local brewing industry’s impressive credentials in creating jobs.  Some 4,000 full-time equivalent employees work in SIBA’s 550 member brewers – a 25% increase on the 2010 figure. Reflecting the labour-intensive nature of craft brewing, small brewers employ one person for every 500 hectolitres produced, compared to one per 3,000 hl in larger breweries.  Within the brewing industry as a whole, every job in a brewery creates, on average, an estimated 21 further jobs in pubs and other parts of the beer supply chain.

Jobs in local breweries are jobs with a future. According to the SIBA report, the sector experienced a 9.7% volume increase last year and brewers within it are investing to meet the growing demand for their beers, which shows no signs of abating.  Two-thirds of SIBA members have increased their brewing capacity with new equipment or a move to new premises – with the inevitable staff hirings that accompany such expansion. Training within the sector is set to move up a gear later this year, with the introduction of a SIBA-accredited training programme.

The vibrancy of the local brewing sector, both in job creation and in its contribution to the local and wider UK economy, is a testament to the power of targeted Government investment. Small Breweries’ Relief (SBR, also known as Progressive Beer Duty), introduced in 2002, has allowed the sector to flourish: two-thirds of SIBA members were founded within the last decade.  However, punitive beer taxation policies from the same Government threaten to destroy local brewing, by removing its main route to market – the pub.

SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock said, “Local brewers’ ability to create jobs is surely a strong argument for Government to continue its support for the sector. The Government appears to want its cake and eat it, but the truth is that a flourishing local brewing sector, making a sustainable contribution to local and national economies, has to go hand in hand with a similarly prospering pub industry.”


Notes to editors

  • The SIBA Local Beer Report 2012 is based on a survey of 264 SIBA members, conducted during autumn 2011. The Report is now in its 10th year. In addition to survey submissions, Local Beer draws on definitive production statistics used for SIBA’s calculation of its members’ annual subscriptions


  • SIBA was founded in 1980 as the Small Independent Brewers Association by 20 pioneering microbrewers. Today, it has around 550 members, the majority classed as ‘micro’ or ‘local’ brewers and its campaigning success – particularly achieving the introduction of Small Breweries’ Relief in 2002 – 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.
  • HM Revenue and Customs defines a microbrewer as producing up to 5,000 hectolitres (HL) per annum, and a local brewer between 5,000 and 30,000 HL. Above that, a regional brewer produces 30,000-2,000,000 HL, and a national brewer in excess of 2,000,000 HL. All SIBA full brewing members produce fewer than 2,000,000 HL
  • Small Breweries’ Relief was introduced in June 2002 after a 20 year campaign by SIBA. Originally, it offered relief on duty only to brewers producing up to 30,000 HL, but was extended in 2004 to an upper limit of 60,000 HL.

Issued on behalf of:                Society of Independent Brewers

By:                                           ShielPorter Communications

For information:                      Ros Shiel: 07841 694137 /