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Employment Roundtable with the Department of Work and Pensions

On 01/07/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Good recruitment, training and retention are key objectives for all members of the BBPA and this was very much the theme of the recent round table with Esther McVey MP, the Minister for Employment at the Department of Work and Pensions.

DWP are responsible for JobCentre Plus and we know from our Jobs Working Group that companies have variable success with local offices. BBPA has been working with DWP on helping JobCentre Plus understand our industry better through ‘Hospitality Works’ a series of phone-in’s, where BBPA members explain our sector and who we are looking to employ. The most recent two sessions were in London with Youngs and in Scotland with Maclays.

Whilst we are a long way from full employment in the UK, most external evidence suggests that there is a reduction in the number of people looking for work which will in future make the competition harder and recruitment policies more important. We heard a presentation on ‘The Good Recruitment Campaign’ which is being led by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation. They are looking for companies to sign ‘The Good Recruitment Charter’ which covers recruitment practice including youth employment through the provision of apprenticeships and traineeships. There is a pledge about feedback to candidates and making sure this clear and specific to the person. If you are interested in becoming a signatory see

Some industries are struggling with an ageing workforce. The Hire Sector is one of these and so they signed up to an scheme called LifeMaps in partnership with the Army for a group of long term unemployed young people. The Army were looking for reservists and the two weeks of training revolved around teamwork, leadership and problem solving as well as an overview of the hire sector and tool and equipment appreciation. As a result Jewson offered three an apprenticeship.

We are making our own industry overtures to those military personnel scheduled to be leaving the armed forces in the next twelve to eighteen months. The BII is working with Arrochar Associates who are the only training provider specifically accredited to offer MOD-funded hospitality training to serving personnel as they think about a career in licensed hospitality. The two organisations teamed up last week to exhibit – alongside Everards – at a regional event in Oxford organised by British Forces Resettlement Society – for hundreds of potential candidates.

We need to put our best foot forward as an industry to appeal to our potential workforce of the future. Our Pub Chefs film, which was welcomed by the Minister as timely and relevant, is part of a broader industry effort to challenge negative perceptions of our industry and showcase the range of opportunities available. As the economy picks up, that job becomes all the more important.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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The Annual Barrelage Survey 2013

On 24/06/14 by Mark Tettenborn (Policy & Statistics Officer)

The BBPA has published Annual Barrelage Survey results for 2013. The Survey showed the total beer market down 0.1 per cent on 2012, with a 3.4 per cent decline in on trade sales and a 3.5 per cent increase in off trade sales.

Over the full year on trade sales accounted for 50.8 per cent of the total market with off trade sales making up the remaining 49.2 per cent. It remains to be seen whether 2014 will see off trade sales overtaking on trade sales.

Sales of lighter beers (beers between 1.2% and 2.8% ABV) continued to grow in 2013. Lower strength beer duty, introduced in 2011 and offering a 50% duty reduction for beers of 2.8% ABV or below, as well as growing consumer demand for a lower strength alternative, are likely to have contributed to this strong performance.

Cask ale sales were up, achieving their highest market share since 2002. Another standout performer was premium bottled ale, which continued its long trend of growing sales.

Mark Tettenborn
Policy & Statistics Officer


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Sandi Toksvig to host the 2014 BBPA Annual Dinner & Awards!

On 20/06/14 by Sophie McIntyre

BBPA is delighted to announce that the host for this year’s BBPA Annual Dinner and Awards will be the famed comedian, novelist and broadcaster – Sandi Toksvig.

Sandi placed her feet firmly in the arts and entertainment world early on. Whilst studying at Cambridge University, she wrote and performed at the legendary Footlights, where contemporaries included big names such as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tony Slattery, and Emma Thompson.

Since then she has gone on to become a well known face in the world of British entertainment and was recently awarded an OBE for her services to broadcasting. She currently presents The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4; is the new presenter of 15–to-1; and, often appears as a panellist in comedy shows such as Call My Bluff (a regular as a team captain), QI and Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, and Whose Line Is It Anyway?

She has written more than twenty fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults and contributes regular columns to Good Housekeeping, the Sunday Telegraph and the Lady. In October 2008, she published Girls Are Best, a history book for girls and in 2009, her collected columns for the Sunday Telegraph were published in book form as The Chain of Curiosity. In 2012, she published her latest book, Valentine Grey, a historical novel set in the Boer War.

In addition to her contributions to arts and entertainment, she is a renowned campaigner on rights related issues - particularly gay rights.

We are, as you can imagine, very excited to have our awards compered and presented by such an eloquent wit and widely respected character. As you know, The BBPA Annual Dinner & Awards event brings together the leaders of the British brewing and pub sectors along with industry suppliers and stakeholders. Following on from last year’s success, this year’s awards look set to be highly competitive and, given this year’s host, the evening promises to be particularly entertaining.
If you are interested in sponsoring this event or booking a table, please contact Sophie McIntyre on 020 7627 9155, email or have a look online

Sophie McIntyre


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Heritage ingredients and Novel Foods

On 13/06/14 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

When is an ingredient not an ingredient…when it’s a novel food, of course!

Let’s be clear, natural ingredients remain part of the long and distinguished heritage of beer. It is a heritage that reaches back to soaking discs of unleavened bread with water in clay jars to create what was likely to be the earliest form of beer. Today, brewers continue to reserve the right to be an inventive bunch, always coming up with new, wild and crazy combinations of ingredients to lay down the gauntlet of taste and aroma to the unsuspecting consumer!

However the use of ‘natural’ ingredients is becoming something of a grey area and in this way, on behalf of one BBPA member, I recently found myself immersed in the murky world of food ingredients. Principally, regarding what constitutes an ingredient. When is an ingredient no longer an ingredient or worse even a ‘non-food’ and far more terrifyingly than this, when does an ingredient becomes a Novel Food. Or as I like to think of it, the ingredient equivalent of a zombie!

As part of an ongoing, broad interest in producing ‘heritage’ beer styles, brewers have shown a keenness to experiment with the use of ‘heritage’ ingredients. These are ingredients, usually derived from natural plant sources, that have been in wide spread use in the past but are perhaps less well known or used today. A typical example being that of gruit, a mixture of herbs, spices and bittering plants such as bog myrtle (myrica gale) which was in widespread use before the introduction of hops to Britain from the Netherlands around the 14th Century.

However, it seems that what Europe gives with one hand it takes with the other and an issue with the use of heritage ingredients, such as bog myrtle, becomes clear when one considers the Novel Food and Novel Food Ingredients Regulations (EC 258/97). Specifically, the European Commission ‘considers foods and food ingredients that have not been used for human consumption to a significant degree in the EU before 15 May 1997 novel foods and novel food ingredients’.

Under this premise, any such ingredients that have not been officially ‘approved’ for use since 1997 potentially require authorisation before they can legally be used for food production! Such authorisation is required primarily to show that the ingredient in question is safe for use, but also to corroborate any claims that may be associated with its use. Approvals are made on an EU wide basis and helpfully there are no definitive, approved lists!

Thankfully there is a ‘but’, if albeit a somewhat grey one! EC 258/97 is not predominant as a Regulation and in the case of a food ingredient that is used as a flavouring, whether in significant use before 1997 or not, this then becomes subject to the EU flavouring Regulations (EC 1334/2008).

Brewers wishing to use ‘heritage’ ingredients now have two options. Firstly and more definitively, demonstrating that an ingredient has been in significant use (Commission guidance on definition of ‘significant’) prior to 1997 obviates Novel Foods Regulations. An alternative is to satisfy the definition of a flavouring in EC 1334/2008.

Thankfully, using the definitions in EC 1334/2008, most plant based ingredients that are used, like hops, for the purpose of providing either or both flavour and aroma appear likely to fall within the definition of a ‘flavouring preparation’. As such the ingredient in question is not present in the final product or is removed from the process during production and for which the physical processes of either heating or steeping are used to extract the necessary compounds for aroma or flavour. As for all food producers, there remains a requirement for brewers to be sure that any ingredient they use will not endanger public health. However, in many cases, showing use in other foods can be sufficient for this purpose.

Needless to say, as with most regulations that emanate from Brussels, there is ever a healthy mix of confusion and uncertainty. The recent Consumer Food Information Regulation being a case in point! However, in the case of Novel Foods BBPA is also now working with the FSA, who profess to also be suitably confused, to raise a point of clarification with the Commission over where ingredients may fall between Novel Foods and Flavouring Regulations. We hope that this will result in some further clarity and not least to ensure that the spirit of diversity and creativity that underlies the brewing industry is not stifled.

Steve Livens
Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain


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'Don't score an own goal this World Cup by drink driving’ – THINK campaign launches new campaign for the World Cup

On 13/06/14 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

With World Cup 2014 now officially underway, the pub industry will be hoping that a great many people will choose to leave the confines of their living rooms and experience the highs, lows, tears and celebration of watching football down their local.

However, the Government is this week re-launching its THINK road safety campaign to remind people that it could be more tears than celebration if people risk their own safety and others’ by drinking and driving when on the way home from watching World Cup matches.

The THINK campaign, which has been running now for 30 years, has been extremely successful in reducing the social acceptability of drink-driving. In recent years their hard hitting public awareness messages, alongside a strict police enforcement policy to those that drink and drive and tough penalties, has seen a 47% reduction in the number of drivers testing positive after a roadside breath test and a 33% reduction in drink drive convictions since 2000. There has also been a 47% reduction in drink driving casualties since 2002.

Drink Driving Schemes

However, drink driving remains an issue to be tackled by all to ensure that these positive downward trends continue. During the last World Cup in 2010 a total of 7,402 people were caught drink driving despite risking a prison sentence, driving ban and fine and the THINK campaign is keen to ensure that this number is lower in 2014.

The brewing industry has a long history of campaigning on drink-driving, illustrated by this poster I dug up from the BBPA archives. As well as supporting the THINK campaign for many years we have been involved in a range of different initiatives including the ‘I’ll Be Des’ campaign promoting having a designated driver and more recently the Coca Cola Designated Drivercampaign which works with participating venues to offer a BOGOF on soft drinks for designated drivers during the festive period.

This 2008 Budweiser advert and 2006 Heineken advert give a good idea of some of the individual initiatives that companies have pursued.

As always, if you’re going to drink then its best to leave the car at home and pubs have an important role to play in campaigns such as this.There are some simple straightforward things that licensees can do to help people:

  • Encourage customers to organise travel arrangements home from World Cup matches in advance
  • Help regulars to arrange lift sharing
  • Have taxi information available and offer to book taxis for customers for when the game has finished
  • Provide information in the pub for customers about local public transport
  • Reward those who take the job of designated driver – you could offer a free drink or provide a more interesting range of non-alcoholic options perhaps themed to the countries that are playing e.g. non-alcoholic beers or virgin cocktails

With England’s first game tomorrow against Italy let’s do our bit as a responsible industry and make sure that this World Cup is safe and fun for all.

Daisy Blench
Policy Manager - Responsibility


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Home Office guest blog - Campaign to tackle domestic violence

On 10/06/14

A new campaign to highlight the devastating consequences of domestic violence to men during this year’s football World Cup tournament was launched yesterday, on 9 June, and activity will run until 14 July 2014.

Home Office Domestic Violence Campaign Poster

Violence against women and girls is an abhorrent crime and the Government is committed to ending it. These crimes have a huge impact on our: economy, health services, and the criminal justice system. It is estimated that more than one in four women will be the victim of domestic abuse over the course of their lifetime in England and Wales.

The aim of the campaign is to make men aware of the consequences of domestic violence and abuse. It also highlights that not all abuse is physical and can also include threats and controlling behaviour.

A3 posters started to be displayed in male toilets in venues across England, including pubs and bars from 7 June and will be displayed until 13 July 2014. Washrooms are discrete spaces enabling us to raise awareness of the issue. Alongside the posters, online adverts adapted from the poster, will also run from 12 June to 14 July, across football content on the SKY Sports website and on mobile apps the day after key first round England matches and throughout the competition when men are checking the football match reports and commentary. All campaign activity signposts the Respect Phoneline (0800 802 4020) and website where men can get further help and support.

You can view the poster on the GOV.UK website and partners can request a copy of the campaign brief, which provides further background information on the campaign by emailing


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World Environment Day - the AB InBev story

On 02/06/14 by John Wells (UK ES Manager, AB InBev)

World Environment Day – 5th June 2014

Our dream is to be the Best Beer Company in a Better World which means having the best products and the best people. But it also means making a positive contribution to the communities we work in. As the world’s leading global brewer, we are committed to protecting and efficiently managing the natural resources that our business and communities depend on.

On 5th June 2014 we are taking part in the UN Environmental Programme’s World Environment Day (WED) for the 6th year. This annual event raises awareness of our most pressing environmental challenges, prompting positive environmental action globally.

We are taking part in a number of ways across the UK.

On 3rd June twenty intrepid volunteers from our Magor Brewery in Wales are celebrating World Environment Day early by swapping their usual day’s work of brewing beer to rolling up their sleeves to tackle environmental improvement projects across the Monmouthshire foreshore with the help of environmental charity, Keep Wales Tidy.

Through our partnership with Help the Hospices each of our UK sites has been matched with a local hospice and on Wednesday 4th June a top team including our UK president, Inge Plochaet, is heading to Trinity Hospice in London, matched with our Stag Brewery in Richmond. The team will help with the maintenance of their award winning garden which has a vitally important therapeutic effect on patients, giving them peace and serenity.

And finally on World Environment Day itself at our Samlesbury Brewery in Preston we have invited members of Lancashire’s leading environmental organisations to visit, have a tour and a taste, and hear about what we are doing to reduce our impact on the environment and operating in a responsible and resource-efficient way.

John Wells
UK ES Manager, AB InBev


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Local Bans on High Strength Beers

On 22/05/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

I had an opportunity this week to meet informally with Police and Crime Commissioners to discuss our concerns about the bans being imposed locally on high strength beers. The context is the scheme in Ipswich which tackles a problem of street drinkers in a variety of ways, including treatment, enforcement and rehabilitation and has received widespread publicity.

One aspect of their strategy however, which has received probably the most public coverage has been to agree with local retailers a ban on the sale of specific higher-strength beers and ciders which might be drunk by street drinkers.

The concern of the BBPA is that this ban on its own and not as part of a wider strategy, is being implemented in a number of local authorities - in fact we estimate that over 70 are now implementing some form of higher strength restriction. Of these 35 have implemented an active campaign either through voluntary agreements with retailers, or in some cases through the use of licensing conditions, which then of course makes the ban a legal requirement. Some local authorities have moved away from identifying specific products and have instead put in place a ban on the sale of beers and ciders above 5.5% ABV or 6.5% ABV.

BBPA has several concerns about this strategy:

  1. It demonises beer which is British produced (nearly 90% of beer drunk in the UK is produced here) and when beer is actually of much lower strength than many other types of alcohol.

  2. There is no firm evidence that bans on higher strength beer and cider have any direct impact on alcohol related harm – you may be only displacing drinkers to purchase products somewhere else or to alternative and potentially higher strength products.

  3. There are real questions as tothe legality of such bans. The OFT, now the new Competition and Market’s Authority, has previously stated that there is a high risk that voluntary action of this nature could breach competition law and blanket use of licensing conditions to create a generalised scheme goes beyond licensing powers.

  4. The banning of beers over a certain ABV could restrict choice for customers, but also risks removing a large number of popular products from the shelves, including locally brewed ales which are not drunk by street drinkers, for a policy that only targets a very small number of drinkers. This can also mean that national retailers de-list products that are currently consumed responsibility by a vast majority of consumers.

BBPA is fully committed to working in partnership with local authorities and the police to tackle local problems. We have offered to work with all Local Authority Alcohol Areas identified by the Home Office and have already been engaged in Manchester and in touch with Swansea. Schemes like Best Bar None, Pubwatch, Community Alcohol Partnerships and Business Improvement Districts are all partnership schemes which we support.

At the end of the day, local authorities and police have considerable powers to deal with alcohol related crime and disorder, and focus on the enforcement of these alongside investment in treatment and support for problem drinkers. The work of local authorities, combined with local partnership working, can provide more sustainable long term solutions.

I hope that this is the start of a more positive dialogue.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Raising the standards of pub retailing

On 15/05/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Training, qualifications and professional standards are all key to the reputation and standing of the British beer and pub industry and all were illuminated at the BII Annual Lunch and the SAB Miller Scholars Programme which held its Graduation ceremony this week.

Tim Hulme the CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping launched the new BII strategy in which he outlined his vision to be led by the needs of the members they serve and the learners who sit their qualifications. Unique in the Licensed Trade sector in having a dedicated Awarding Body, qualifications have been pared down to sit under six main headings and four levels from entry to management.The BII Licensing Hospitality Apprenticeship offers a Level 2 and Level 3 awards. The Pre-entry awareness training (PEAT) has been reviewed and enhanced and is of course compulsory for members of the BBPA and their tenants or lessees. Making sure that new entrants to our industry have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed must be a clear objective for everyone.

I was honoured to be asked again this year to be part of the 12 industry experts interviewing the six finalists of BII Licensee of the Year Award. As ever, six wonderful pubs and six absolutely dedicated licensees. This year four of them operated tied pubs and without doubt the low cost entry into running their own business was a factor in their success. The winner announced at the lunch is Lee Price from the Royal Pier Aberystwyth who clearly understands consumer demand and responsibility. Not only does he run a great pub which is actually a Pier, but for the past two years he has been awarded ‘Best Boss’ in Aberystwyth. Certainly one to visit!

As part of its commitment to the Responsibility Deal, SAB Miller has developed a strategy with three strands: Education; research and partnership. Since 2009 SAB Miller has funded scholarships on courses throughout the UK for 4,000 employees in pubs, bars, restaurants and the off-trade. All take the BIIAB Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing. They have committed to train a further 6,000 people in the next three years at a cost to SAB Miller of £500,000.

Baroness Hayter hosted an event in the House of Lords to recognise a range of retail staff from across the UK who have been awarded the Level 1 Award. She was clear that the collaboration between local authorities, the police and the retailers had to be part of a responsible culture towards alcohol. She was joined by Sally Keeble the former Northampton MP (who is standing again at the next election), and has been helping SAB Miller deliver the scheme.

As we approach the summer with hopefully good weather and a successful World Cup, our credentials as a responsible industry are hugely important. Working with the BII and our members to raise standards of retailing so we all enjoy drinking beer responsibly and visiting pubs is vital and I am proud of all the good work done by members of the BBPA to take a lead in this area.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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