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WBA Reception

On 14/02/14 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

Brewers throughout the world take a very serious approach to social responsibility and in particular in their continuing efforts to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. Debate surrounding the effects of alcohol consumption rages continuously. However, despite a growing weight of scientific evidence suggesting that the moderate consumption of alcohol does indeed carry significant, net benefit in terms of reducing overall mortality risk, the latest WHO report on cancer risk ignores this research, claiming that all alcohol consumption is harmful.

This claim has now been heavily criticised by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research. WHO is also currently discussing with member countries the extent to which they engage with the private sector in policy development, due to concerns around conflict of interest. However, without industry involvement there is, of course, a risk of important considerations not being heard.

With this in mind, the city of Geneva set the stage on Monday evening for an event hosted by the Worldwide Brewers Alliance (WBA). The event demonstrated why brewers should remain a vital stakeholder in policy developments regarding the harmful use of alcohol; and how to strengthen economic development and trade. The centrepiece of the event was a beer and food pairing session which aimed to challenge some existing preconceptions around beer and enable the industry to showcase the range, diversity and relatively low alcohol content of beer.

WBA Chairman and BBPA Policy Director, Andy Tighe, introduced the WBA, which represents the worlds brewing trade associations and whose members account for 90 per cent of global beer production. In his speech to an audience including a number of ambassadors and other senior representatives to the WHO and WTO from around the world, Andy not only reiterated brewers commitment to reducing the harmful use of alcohol but also the significant economic impact from the global brewing industry - including a $500 billion contribution to the global economy and 14 million employees.

Representatives from the major brewers and individual trade associations were present throughout the evening and attendees were also able to see a demonstration of the WBA's global social responsibility initiatives. These initiatives are available to view through an online database.

However, perhaps the greatest challenge on the evening was the perception of beer and in particular its place as a natural accompaniment to food. As the BBPA's beer sommelier, I was invited by the WBA to explore this with the assembled guests. A concept which all those attending embraced fully, once they were aware of the diversity of beer's flavours and characteristics. The importance of the natural ingredients used in its production was illustrated perfectly through the wide variety of beers from around the world that were supplied by the WBA members for the evening.

The range of beer styles available (including a non-alcoholic beer from the Feldschlösschen Brewery) also enabled me to highlight beer’s relatively low alcohol strength, its nutritional composition and how popular preconceptions surrounding glassware and volume need to be challenged when considering beer as a pairing for food.

Finally, after guiding the assembled throng through the five specially chosen beer and food matches for the night, the challenge was laid down to the audience to take their new found skills and more fully explore further beer pairings with other dishes prepared by the restaurant kitchen.

All in all, a successful and enjoyable evening that yet again highlighted the flexibility and diversity of beer. It also carried a message of the importance for the brewing sector to remain fully engaged in the debate surrounding key global, regional and local challenges related to the reduction of harmful use of alcohol as well as promoting sustainable, economic global development.

Steve Livens
Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain


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A GREAT Week to grow UK beer exports in South Korea

On 07/02/14 by GREAT Weeks Team

There has been a steady increase in UK beer exports over the last two decades. As beer consumption declines steadily in the United Kingdom, producers are increasingly turning to exports as a source of growth. In the next five years, exports are expected to increase by 6.2% per annum to account for 7.3% of industry revenue. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) are eager to nurture and foster this through the Food and Drink Action plan and forthcoming GREAT Week South Korea, an outward trade mission to Seoul (31st March – 4th April).

South Korea Beer Market Facts
• The Korean beer market is dominated by two major companies, Hite-Jinro and OB. However, the demand for imported beer amongst the younger generation as well as female drinkers is growing at 20% per annum as the demand for products of a higher quality and more varied tastes increases.
• The biggest suppliers of imported bear are currently Japan, Netherland and Ireland and USA.
• In 2013 total beer imports were valued at £ 66m, 21.8% increase from 2012
• The value for UK beer imports was £ 233,675.86, a 95% increase from 2012

UKTI are keen to support UK companies breaking into this market, and the GREAT Week South Korea presents an outstanding opportunity to access substantial business prospects and meet key decision makers in the hospitality and retail industries. The bespoke programme includes participation at sector-specific briefings, seminars, networking events, showcases, site visits and buyer meetings.

Programme Highlights:
• Showcase products at the Food & Drink Festival, at the British Ambassador’s Residence, to 200 invited buyers, distributors and potential clients.
• Network with key contacts from the hospitality industry during the Taste of Britain dinner.
• Serve alcoholic beverages at the British Pub Festival hosted in the British Embassy Bar.
• Network with potential partners and buyers during a joint networking reception with the Fashion sector.

Find Out More:
Costs, grants and a detailed programme are available to download online: GREAT Week South Korea
Deadline for applications: 21st February 2014

please contact the UKTI Event Support Team
T: 0117 933 9546

GREAT Weeks Team


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Jobs lead the agenda at BBPA working group

On 31/01/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

The BBPA Jobs Working Group met this week in Cardiff, under the chairmanship of Scott Waddington of S A Brain. Although our membership was slightly depleted due to travelling difficulties, we had a very good exchange of information on subjects ranging from the BBPA Budget submission to work experience, apprenticeships and the Pub Chefs campaign to an update from People 1st. We even visited the very impressive Brain's training kitchen.

Scott Waddington is a member of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. They are currently undertaking one of the largest ever audits of skill levels in the UK and are in some cases looking at specific sectors. They are also the guardians of Investors in People and are rejuvenating the scheme to make it more appropriate for business.

The Group discussed working with DWP (I met the new Minister Esther McVey MP) at the end of last year. They are responsible for Job CentrePlus whose success at a local level appears variable, particularly in London. We are urging training for JobCentre Plus staff in London as the next tranche of regional training, and in the meantime, the Perceptions Group is looking at how pre-work screening and training with commercial providers like CPL, can help job seekers prepare for work experience in a pub.

Apprenticeships are undergoing an overhaul. The new frameworks must be employer led and there will very soon be discussions about one framework for each skill e.g. chefs. The training will have to last for a year and be truly skills based. BBPA will be engaging with People 1st and writing to Matthew Hancock MP to seek involvement. What was heartening was the number of apprenticeships. Ever since the announcement of 50 apprenticeships in 50 days at Robinsons, I have felt excited about the opportunities for those working in our sector. Marstons told us they have 400 to 450 apprentices in their pubs and about six at their head office. Punch has 170 to 180 and Brains about 95 to 100.

We talked about the BBPA Pub Chefs campaign. We are looking to make a film to change perceptions and engage through a peer to peer video directly with young people. We need young chefs who work in your businesses to volunteer to help. They need to inspire and connect with young people, have outside interests and be engaging. If any of your team fit the bill, please make contact with David Wilson.

Finally we discussed the potential increases in the National Minimum Wage. There has been speculation that the Chancellor is looking to raise the NMW to £7 by 2015 and even 11% increase staged over two years would hurt our sector and be out of line with average earnings. The BBPA recently hosted a regional visit of the Low Pay Commission and gave evidence regarding the impact of a large increase on the pub sector and potential job creation. Let us hope that their recommendation, which should be with the Government by the end of February, will be sensible and listened to. There is a fragile recovery beginning which we are keen to encourage through our pubs.

The Working Group will be meeting again in May - if in your team you have someone with an interest in these subjects, please let me know. We would be delighted for them to join us.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Battling for brewers, promoting publicans

On 31/01/14 by Gareth Barrett

Our Budget 2014 campaign has, in effect, been in motion since 21st March 2013 – after an evening of celebrating our success in securing an historic beer duty cut in the Budget.

Far from resting on our laurels after last year’s success, we have been working hard, and will continue to do so in the weeks ahead, to present the case for a freeze in beer duty.

The message is more nuanced than before - the challenge and opportunity of a policy environment that follows a duty cut is not one the industry has recently experienced. We have to, of course, make clear the considerable benefits of the duty cut. We have done this in our Cheers! report, and in the updated Beer Story leaflet – and we have been highlighting that for the first time we have had two quarters of consecutive volume growth in beer sales in a decade.

Beer in Britain remains overtaxed. When compared to Europe, the amount of duty paid on every pint is at a level that seriously hinders sector growth. Beer sales in the on-trade, for pubs and publicans, whilst stabilising, have not yet turned the corner.

These messages have to be delivered in a coherent and clear way that encourages advocacy from our Parliamentary supporters, as well as everyone who cares about the beer and pub industry.

So how can we achieve this?

1) Clear economic arguments – George Osborne has indicated that it was economics that won the duty battle in the end – the politics gave us the opportunity to have our policy goals considered, but the numbers had to make sense. As we go forward we have updated information from Oxford Economics allowing us to give detailed constituency information to MPs on the huge positive impact of beer and pubs on jobs and wages, and in their local economy.

2) Our members – our members are our greatest asset. As employers and local businesses they have the capacity to exert a very unique influence on stakeholders and parliamentarians. Through our member engagement packs, they can make a very real difference to this campaign. The wider regional voice is also key – with the upcoming Yorkshire Beer & Pub Association Parliamentary Reception being a fantastic opportunity for this.

3) Alliances remain essential – working with previous duty campaign partners, CAMRA and SIBA, we have produced reports such as ‘Cheers! The impact of the beer duty cut’.

We recently hosted the ‘Parliamentary Beer Champions’ awards – celebrating ongoing Parliamentary support - and have issued certificates for those MPs who could not make the initial event. Offering clear public recognition to our successful advocates allows us to take forward our 2014 case for a beer duty freeze with them – and encourage others to support us this year. These two new initiatives have been complemented by an update of the highly popular ‘Beer Story’ publication and infographics; with the addition of new partner, Pubs of Ulster, coming on board as well. We also have plans to brief wider stakeholders in the near future.

Alongside all of this, Andrew Griffiths MP and the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group remain important advocates and a focus for Parliamentary engagement.

4) Using our opportunities - we have made sure to link in our key Budget messages in all of our work with MPs, the media and Parliamentarians. We have continued our strategic media partnerships, using those relationships we worked so hard to form, to provide a stream of media friendly stories with regular hits. Our branded materials contain both good news and challenges.

In short, we have a campaign with a clear and concise message, and a plan that brings together the BBPA and the wider industry to make the compelling case for a beer duty freeze. Please use the various links to find out more, or feel free to get in touch!

Gareth Barrett


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Pub Companies and the Opposition Debate

On 21/01/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Once again the BBPA and our pub company members are in the firing line as the Labour Party holds an opposition debate on pub companies and their relationship with their lessees and tenants.

BBPA is quite clear: We support the tie and we believe it is vital to the British pub trade. The tie provides a low-cost, low risk partnership between pub companies and their lessees and tenants. For as little as £30,000 entrepreneurs can run their own pub. If you wanted to buy a pub, it would probably cost in excess of £500,000.

It is the recession, high taxes and too much red tape which are the causes of pub’s recent problems, as of course we have seen elsewhere in the high street.

If you look at the responses to the consultation which BIS published just before Christmas, you find sane and sensible organisations urging caution. London Economics, appointed by BIS to undertake an economic appraisal of the proposals, believe that 18% of the pub covered in the consultation would become unviable without the pub company support. The OFT was quite clear that requiring pub companies to offer a free of tie option would set an unhelpful precedent and that large non-brewing companies already source beer from a variety of suppliers.

Perhaps most important of all, the industry has moved on. Self regulation is working. In no other industry can you complain about rents and any other behaviour from your landlord at so little cost. Any commercial tenant facing upward only rent reviews and a landlord based overseas would welcome the support we offer with open arms. The Self regulatory code (now at version 6) can of course evolve, but it already provides transparency and tackles a range of commercially sensitive issues.

A number of claims have been made by our detractors about the cost of beer, how prices rise and that the pub company takes too much in profit, but the reality is that pub companies invested some £200 million in capital in 2012. Do we seriously believe that without this support the banks would be providing the £30,000 needed for a new kitchen? There has been a transfer of value through additional support, rent decreases (down some 5% in 2012) and funding of non-obligatory repairs. Beer is cheaper in tenanted and leased pubs than it is in the independent sector.

Breaking the tie would lead to brewery closures and because competition law would not allow the Government to specify craft ale, the tenant would be encouraged to sell the pub’s best selling lager, rather than craft ale from local brewers.

There is a lot of emotion in this debate, but too often MPs only hear one side of the story. They must be encouraged to ask the pub company for their views too. It is not in the interest of pub companies that tenants change or pubs close. At the end of the day. failure is often down to a lack of understanding about the use of cash. More and more pub companies are providing ‘stabilisers’; support for a year or more with a sharing of open book accounting and real help from professionals along the way. How many other small businesses receive this sort of support from their landlord? The pub company model is evolving. Statutory intervention is not needed and would remove the benefits already derived from the Chancellor’s cut in beer duty in last year’s Budget.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Eye on the prize – machine boost for pubs

On 17/01/14 by Jim Cathcart (Policy Manager - Pub Operations)

This week’s increase in fruit machine prizes to £100 is another welcome move from Government to assist the pub sector. The BBPA has been pushing for an increase in prizes for Category C (also known as AWPs or fruit) machines and the reinstatement of the Triennial Review, whereby prizes are reviewed every three years.

With many companies and licensees changing their operating style over the last few years to an increasingly food-led approach, the number of machines in pubs has declined over the last decade. However, machines remain a key part of the wider product and entertainment mix that a large amount of pubs offer, and we are pleased to see that the Government has recognised this fact. The income from machines is important to the economics of many pubs, and for some business the income from machines can have a key impact on their viability. An increase in prizes to £100 will deliver significant benefits to the pub machine sector, as well as the resultant positive impact on manufacturers and the supply chain. Based on feedback from members and previous experience from 2009, we estimate a revenue uplift of ten per cent over two years from the £100 prize increase.

The BBPA and its members do of course recognise their responsibilities in respect of preventing underage play of machines, and ensuring that machines in pubs remain a fun activity ancillary to the main attractions of socialising, eating and drinking. With this in mind, we have recently updated our code of practice on machines which reminds operators of their responsibilities with regard to staff training and placement of machines so they can be supervised. BBPA members have also been encouraged to incorporate underage play and social responsibility messaging in any promotion of the new prize level.

There are still challenges in the pub machine sector. The implementation of Machine Games Duty last year was an issue for pubs – the headache of registration was a particular problem in leased/tenanted and independent businesses, where advice and information on MGD was harder to disseminate. This was a major change licensees had to deal with at a difficult economic time – and we will be arguing to let this new tax bed in and not increase the rate going forward.

The BBPA has a Panel dedicated to machines and other pub entertainment such as satellite TV and music copyright, where members are very active in all relevant issues and works to protect and promote gaming machines in pubs. Please contact me ( if your company wishes to be represented on the Panel or for further information.

Jim Cathcart
Policy Manager - Pub Operations


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Challenges ahead for Licensed Trade Charity

On 16/01/14 by Liz Gaffer (Director of Marketing & Charity Services, LTC)

Getting our message and free 0808 801 0550 helpline number in front of all the hard-working people in the pubs and breweries, to let them know we are here for them when they face difficulties is a critical part of my job. So it’s great to hear that there is now something of a ‘buzz’ around the industry about the good work the Licensed Trade Charity is doing.

Since re-launching our website, and demonstrating our relevance to the pub trade, we are delighted that some of the bigger pub companies are now on-board and helping us spread the word within their organisations. We are successfully working with Punch Taverns, Spirit Pub Company, Heineken and JW Lees and have recently released e-campaigns to breweries including Greene King, Shepherd Neame, Thwaites, Hydes, and the smaller family brewer Wadworths.

Informative content on our website continues to grow apace as we cover more and more issues pertinent to those working in the trade. During the recent storms we issued a press release informing all licensees to go online for practical guidance on what to do if they, their pub or their bar staff have been affected by the floods. This is just one example of the support and care we provide to our industry, but there are many more ways we offer help on personal issues from financial worries, health concerns, housing issues and family matters.

If you work in HR or have an Operational role at a Corporate level, and you see the benefits of working together with the Licensed Trade Charity to help more people facing difficulties in the pub trade, please get in touch. Securing partnerships remains my biggest challenge in the year ahead.

Liz Gaffer
Director of Marketing & Charity Services, LTC


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The Christie + Co Business outlook for Pubs, Restaurants and Leisure

On 15/01/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Christie + Co held their annual Business Outlook event last night to launch their 2014 review. Frances Edmonds hosted a question and answer session with David Rugg, their Chairman, and Chris Day, the Managing Director. The clear direction was that the summer of 2012 with the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee saw the bottom of the curve in terms of economic activity, but since then as Frances put it with a para phrasing of Baroness Thatcher "There are not so many problems; only opportunities"

Neil Morgan (who acted as my host) provides some very positive data for pubs which is well timed with another Parliamentary Opposition Debate on pub companies soon approaching. So, a few facts to digest; the number of pubs sold to remain as pubs reached 67%; a 5% increase on 2012. Experienced operators and entrepreneurs are back. London remains in its own bubble trading wise with food as a driver, along with cask ale. It is interesting that Simon Chaplin who heads up the restaurant side wrote that some restaurants may chose "to diversify their offering in order to compete with ....the pub sector whose proposition has improved exponentially over the last decade."

On pub companies the report states: "The beer tie is going through a natural evolution...and pub companies understand there is more to be gained by managing the tenant relationship better and encouraging new tenants into the sector."

In terms of market predictions for 2014, Christies see a slowdown in tenanted disposals as pub companies become satisfied with their estates. The trend seeing more sold pubs remaining as pubs will continue upwards. The average price of pub year on year has moved from a 20.1% decline in 2009 to a 3.3 % increase in 2013... Christies remain "confident that the pub sector is in as healthy as position as it has been for many a long year."

You can read the report in full here.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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The cleanup begins – responding to flood damage

On 10/01/14 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

Thankfully, the extreme wet weather and high winds that have battered the UK since Christmas Eve now appear to be subsiding and in the wake of flooding, thoughts are turning to the clean-up ahead. Many of us face the mammoth, and in some cases heart-breaking, task of repairing the damage caused to flood damaged homes but businesses have also suffered and here there may be particular challenges to face. Pubs are one such example and in the attempt to address damage caused by flooded cellars the following pointers may help in the clean-up process.

First and foremost, it is the responsibility of the pub operator to ensure that the cellar and its contents are professionally sanitised. Documentary evidence that this has been carried out satisfactorily must be presented to any personnel entering the cellar and will include sanitisation of all equipment, kegs, casks and gas cylinders.

Line cleaning and glass washing should only be undertaken using potable water and all cellar contents that has been in contact with flood water should be assumed to be contaminated - these may therefore present a health risk. However, in the instance that equipment can be recovered from the cellar the following should be considered:

Electrical equipment: The components and wiring in electrical equipment recovered from flooded pub cellars will be damaged. The cellar service provider will recover the equipment for safe disposal / destruction with recovery of costs being subject to the insurance claim made by the outlet.

Kegs and casks: Unbroached kegs may be unaffected, but if contacted by flood water, should be returned to the brewery. Where casks have been contacted by flood water, the contents must be discarded since the shive is porous and there is a risk that the contents could be contaminated.

Dispense lines/ equipment: Cellar technical services will be responsible for the replacement of dispense equipment and beer lines that have been affected by flood water and recovery of costs will be subject to the insurance claim made by the outlet.

All containers affected by flood water should be clearly marked prior to uplift and returned to the brewery and documentary evidence should be presented to dray crew to show that the containers being uplifted for return have been sanitised in situ.

For full information on dealing with flood damage to pub cellars the BBPA has produced a technical circular, a copy of which can be obtained by contacting Steve Livens ( or 020 7627 9136.

Brewers and publicans can also contact the Licensed Trade Charity for further help and assistance. Examples of how the LTC may be able to help publicans and their families include:

• Income – if publicans will lose income as a result of the pub damage and publicans are struggling to manage essential living costs, the charity may be able to help with short term solutions, for example paying for regular essential monthly bills in the home.

• If publicans have had their homes damaged and the insurance does not cover the cost of temporary accommodation, the LTC may be able to pay for this.

• If essential items have been destroyed in the home, again not covered by insurance, we may be able to help replace them.

• If your staff and families are ill, and need special support which is not provided elsewhere in the short term, we might be able to arrange this.

These are just some of the ways the LTC may be able to help, so please encourage publicans to give them a call FREE on 0808 801 0550 to find out more. The helpline is open from 8am-8pm, 7 days a week. Calls are free from landlines and most mobile networks.

Alternatively, go online and type ‘flood’ to receive up-to-date information and practical advice.

Steve Livens
Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain


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