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Great glassware is vital to creating the right impression

On 06/08/13 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

Diversity is an embedded principle when it comes to beer and, as a result, beer styles really do come in all shapes and sizes. Differences in alcohol strength; various combinations of ingredients and different degrees of carbonation are some of the variables that need to be accounted for when choosing the perfect glass. Glassware that is designed to enhance the main characteristics associated with aroma and flavour across these vastly different styles, and maintain head, can be a real plus!

For beers that have particular characteristics associated with aroma or flavour, the right type of glassware can be vital to the overall experience. Tulip or thistle glasses have a more bulbous central section which is then constricted by the taper of the glass that flares out to allow the head to collect. Ideally, the main body of the beer is held beneath the taper. The curvature concentrates bubbles in a smaller area so that you retain them for longer as you drink. This traps aroma and flavour compounds within the main body of the beer.

Of course, traditional, straight sided, pint glasses are also designed to work well with many cask beers which are commonly less carbonated than keg or bottle beers and where typically no one particular characteristic dominates. These beers are often produced with a balance between malt, hops, fruit flavours and aromas.

For darker, stronger, more indulgent beers smaller glassware is a good option, offsetting their heavier, full bodied flavour and character. Such beers make a unique accompaniment for dessert, where intense flavours and smaller volumes are often most suitable. However, smaller glassware can also encourage customers not only to interact with beer in a different way but also to experiment with new beer styles – many pubs now offer ‘beer flights’ (think beer-based tapas), to adventurous consumers!

For all beers, sparkling clean glassware is essential and, of course, branded glassware creates a strong visual impression which can build customer loyalty - a glass shape that is in tune with the brand image of the beer can be a powerful tool. However, all glassware - whether pint, half-pint - and even third and two-third pints - must be accurate and correctly marked, to ensure that weights-and-measures requirements are met.

Steve Livens
Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain


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Drinkaware workshop builds on evidence

On 31/07/13 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

Following the appointment of new Drinkaware CEO Elaine Hindal in January and the publication of an independent audit on the way that Drinkaware operates and carries out its core activities, I attended a recent workshop to discuss Drinkaware’s longer-term strategy and continued development (2015 – 2020).

The first section of the workshop was addressed by Derek Lewis, Chairman of the Drinkaware trustees, who talked about the need for Drinkaware to focus on measuring the impact of its work on harm prevention, working better with other organisations and bringing more independent voices onto the board, without losing the value of having close support and cooperation with industry.

Elaine Hindal looked at Drinkaware’s priorities for the year and concentrating on their core purpose of delivering ‘unbiased, comprehensive, accessible information’. She made clear that evidence on effectiveness was key to enabling appropriate targeting of resources. This would involve examining Drinkaware’s core areas of activity - parents and children, teenagers, young adults and older adults and ensuring that activities were tailored to ensure maximum impact.

Jean Nicol from the Department of Health spoke about Drinkaware’s unique role in working with Government on helping people to drink within safe limits. She highlighted the work of the Responsibility Deal in bringing about real change, in particular the billion unit pledge.

Louise Park from Ipsos Mori spoke about measuring impact of Drinkaware’s work in target areas. There were some interesting findings around young people’s access to alcohol being linked to parents drinking behaviour. This research indicated the following:

  • The average age of first drink has fallen, although the number of 11-17 year olds trying alcohol has remained at a similar level since 2009. • In the 18-24 age category there is a greater recognition of the issues around alcohol related harm, although this has yet to translate into behavioural change. They indicate the level of binge drinking has increased since 2011 and there is still high proportions who believe that they need to get drunk on night out. • In the 24-44 age bracket one third of people can correctly name their daily unit intake. There is good recognition of units, but less understanding of how many units are in their drinks.
    The second half of the morning was made up of a group-based feedback session. My group discussed the effectiveness of using social marketing in driving behavioural change. It was felt that Drinkaware could learn a lot from supporter companies in this regard and tap into their social media activity where appropriate.

The role of pubs in promoting change was discussed - although it was agreed there was a key difference between helping customers make more responsible choices and telling them to do so. Pubs were providing customers with a choice of lower alcohol options, water and information on unit content - and this, along with good staff training, could help people to make healthier choices.

It was an informative day with a real sense that Drinkaware has taken the recommendations from its review on board.

Daisy Blench
Policy Manager - Responsibility


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Beer – can you hear the music?

On 26/07/13 by Gareth Barrett

With Robinson’s new Trooper by Iron Maiden now selling out across the world, joining Elbow’s Build a Rocket Boys in their stable of brewing bands, the increasing interest in brewing and beer from the creative community only continues to grow. The recent production by the Growler Brewery of Gladness by Madness is yet another example of this creative partnership between artist and artisan.

In the UK, USA and Australia an eclectic collection of musical brewers from AC/DC to Pearl Jam, the Grateful Dead to Tony Hadley, even Hanson and Kid Rock have all produced beers which they helped to develop and firmly endorse. That these high profile celebrities not only back beer, but are prepared to attach their own carefully guarded public image to these brews adds a real reputational advantage to the sector.

Indeed it can certainly be argued that beer is now very much rock & roll. As the art and craft of brewing has taken a more central role in beer’s image, so the creative community have suddenly recognised that they want to be part of the movement.

The sector’s links with musical celebrities does have some historical precedent. In 1953 the Brewers Society (which is now the BBPA) hired ‘The Stargazers’, the first ever British band to get a number one single, to produce the track ‘Good Wholesome Beer’, as a B-side to their hit song ‘The Man with the Banjo.’ Slightly odd as that may seem, it was a ground breaking piece of marketing and brewers were looking at new ways to market beer even in the 1950s.

Times do change however, the developing image of beer becoming something more embracing, more a product of art and science. In the 1950s brewers sought out bands to make music that said something about beer. In the early 21st Century bands sought out brewers to make beers that said something about their music.

This dramatic flip tells us something - for those who enjoy a rich variety of music there’s a whole world of flavour out there in beer – and the two are very much complementary.

Gareth Barrett


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The three certainties of life – death, taxes and more changes to the Licensing Act….

On 24/07/13 by Jim Cathcart (Policy Manager - Pub Operations)

Coverage of last week’s Government response to the Alcohol Strategy was dominated by the postponement of Minimum Unit Pricing and the decision not to outlaw multi-buy promotions of alcoholic drinks. However, a number of changes to licensing law were amongst the proposals – both positive and negative for the pub trade.

First up, the positives. An increase in the number of Temporary Event Notices (TENs) a venue can apply for, from 12 to 15, will allow pubs to hold more events over the course of a year. Speculation as to what would happen to personal licence renewals in light of the upcoming mass renewal date was laid to rest with the decision that ten-year renewals would be abolished – along with the promise of an upcoming consultation on whether there is a need for a personal licence at all.

Whilst these moves are helpful, the Government missed a key deregulation opportunity in deciding to retain the requirement to advertise applications and variations in local newspapers - despite the majority of respondents to the consultation being in favour of abolishing it. This is a bureaucratic obligation that is unnecessary and ineffective in eliciting responses from residents.

Placing such advertisements incurs unnecessary cost for businesses (Government quoted a cost to the trade of £7-8m per year). A study by licensing solicitors indicated that of some 8,000 premises licence applications lodged under the Licensing Act requiring public notice, none had attracted a representation because of a newspaper advertisement. The Government’s defence, that this needs to be retained in case it reduced opportunities for local people to have a say in licensing submissions, is weak given the wide range of other opportunities for them to do so, and cuts across the Government’s commitment to reduce unnecessary red tape and cost for businesses.

The Alcohol Strategy response also proposed changes to the Mandatory Conditions. These include requiring pubs to list the price of the smaller measures (in addition to the existing requirement to offer the measures themselves) of half a pint of beer, 25ml or 35ml spirit and the 125ml glass of wine. The promotions condition is tightened up – with a proscribed list of promotions similar to that existing under the Scottish licensing regime replacing the current requirement that promotions have to be proved to have been carried out irresponsibly.

Finally, a strange new stipulation around the free tap water condition – the Government announced that ‘the water that all pubs and clubs must offer their customers is drinkable’. This raises concerns as to the choice of hostelries frequented by civil servants, if drinkable tap water is worthy of clarification in national legislation!

Jim Cathcart
Policy Manager - Pub Operations


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Theft from the Person

On 22/07/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

I sit on the Forum for Innovation in Crime Prevention which is chaired by Jeremy Browne MP, the Minister for Crime Prevention. Our meetings have focused on the issue of ‘Theft from the Person’, otherwise known as pick-pocketing (it is only classed as robbery if force is involved).

Whilst most crimes are falling, ‘Theft from the Person’ is not. There was an increase of 8 per cent in this type of crime, according to the 2012 Police Recorded Crime Figures.

Specifically, two thirds of offences occur during the day, with more than a quarter in and around shops (often supermarkets). There are fewer offences at weekends, but there has been an increase in offenders targeting night-time venues and late night transport.

Why is this important to the licensed trade? One of the licensing objectives is the prevention of crime and disorder. If there is a high rate of theft from the person recoded in a specific premises and no remedial action is taken, this could be cause for concern by the police and licensing authority, as they might threaten the premises with a review.

One outcome from the Forum has been the publication of a ‘Theft from the Person’ information pack for partners which looks at lessons learned from police forces, key partners and academia around the UK.

After some background on the problem, the pack contains a section on lessons learnt, tone of voice and language sensitivities when advising customers on the safety of their belongings such as suggesting “be discreet” rather than “put it away”.

Adverts or promotional material reminding people to keep their valuables hidden or safe have proved to be effective. There is then a section on example messages and advice for students, young women out at night and local businesses operating in this environment. Examples of campaign material used by various police forces are included.

This all seems very sensible and worthy of further review. The more we can cut down crime in our venues, the happier our customers will be and the more likely they are to return.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Summer’s here – let the (new improved) Beer Genie guide you...

On 18/07/13 by Sophie McIntyre

It’s hot. The weather’s fantastic. People are kicking into holiday mode and they’re thinking about beer. A beer at a BBQ, a beer with your picnic, a beer on the beach, or a beer in the beer garden – they’re all pretty high on the agenda as soon as the thermometer nudges 30C. In fact, walking through the City this lunchtime and peering through the windows, it was clear that most of London’s office workers would give their eye teeth to up sticks and grab a beer somewhere sunny.

But when they finally get out into the sunshine and order their pint, do they really know how much is on offer? Probably not. Before I joined the industry, having been a somewhat casual beer drinker, I had little knowledge of the range on offer. What was mild? What was the difference between IPA and Pale Ale? Etc. I’m starting to get the hang of it, but there is a bigger task at hand – ensuring that Joe/Joanna Bloggs has the information he/she needs to start reaping the rewards of a good beer education. We want everyone to be confident enough to enjoy the variety of beers on offer.

With the launch of the BBPA’s new Beer Genie site, there is now no excuse for anyone not to know their pale ale from their porter... The extensive ‘facts’ section is the place to start, and also contains some new snippets for even the most wizened connoisseur. It’s available to view here. In other news, the site is now mobile and has had a bit of a facelift. We hope this new format will help engage people with this treasure trove of great information!

So, given the sun, there are a few things the Beer Genie can be of help with:

Planning a BBQ? Find out which beers are the best match for burgers, ribs, sausages or fish and surprise your friends with something a little different...

Or perhaps you want a new marinade - have a look over the beery options we’ve put together here and also our Beer Can Chicken recipe. You could also head to the video section and let celebrity chef, Richard Fox, show you the ropes – Episode 8 is particularly BBQ related, although the others are worth a watch...


Sophie McIntyre


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Overseas opportunities ahead for brewers

On 17/07/13

Yesterday saw the launch of the latest stage of the UK Government’s attempts to boost UK exports - the ‘GREAT weeks’ programme.

The initiative is specifically aimed at the ‘service’ sector, covering food & drink, retail, luxury and the creative industries. It aims to build on the success of the Olympics in 2012 and further use the GREAT brand to highlight British goods and services. The event was opened with the Great Britain Delivers film, demonstrating how the Olympics were delivered using the skills and products available within the UK.

Building upon the current services offered by UKTI, ‘GREAT weeks’ will see a major Government-led and funded trade mission to a series of target markets. Key markets identified for food & drink are Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, Macau and China. Further details of these missions are available on the ‘GREAT weeks’ website.

The keynote address was given by Trade Minister Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint who stressed the Government’s focus on exports as part of the development of ‘a new growth model for the economy’. He pointed out that Britain has been losing out on trade for the last 40-50 years, with trade deficits in almost every one of these years. Other speakers included Sir John Sorrell and the Managing Director of Harrod’s, Michael Ward, who both expounded the value of ‘brand Britain’.

The UK also has very low market shares in the emerging nations, places that are likely to demonstrate strong growth in the years to come. British small businesses also continue to be underrepresented in foreign markets. The Government aims to double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020, with an additional 100,000 extra companies selling overseas. With these ambitious targets the Government realises it needs to offer UK businesses significant support to build a profile overseas.

All of this offers UK brewers an excellent opportunity to look overseas. There is an already substantial volume of British beer being exported, at nearly 6.5 million hectolitres in 2012. The ‘GREAT weeks’ campaign will offer greater scope for brewers to access emerging markets and start sending beer to these countries. Specific support from UKTI will be given through invitations to VIP events, structured programmes by sector, briefings prior to and during missions and bespoke one-to-one speed dating events.

As part of the wider support on offer the BBPA continue to work with UKTI on the development of an export strategy and additional resources to help boost British beer exports. Hopefully before too long you’ll be able to buy quality British beer in any country you choose for your summer holiday. And the burgeoning middle classes of the emerging countries will choose British beer as their tipple of choice, encouraging them to come and visit our GREAT British pubs.


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Sky pricing

On 15/07/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

I was invited to meet with BSkyB on Friday to discuss their pricing for the forthcoming year which was announced today. Here is a little colour to add to their press release.

Sky has announced a price freeze, which means that prices have not risen since September 2010. The current cost of Sky will run until June 2014.

Sky is investing in new features and tools and now have Wifi in some 11,000 licensed outlets.

With renewals this year come some additional offers. The first is a free third card for all who have ultimate Sky. This should be welcomed by bigger venues, wanting to show different sports on different screens, in different part of the premises.

There is also a companion app for Sky Sports Venues. This is specifically aimed at increasing dwell time. Competitions and quiz questions will be included.

BSkyB are also launching online training designed with CPL. This will help licensees make the most of the use of sport in their pubs. The training is free. It will not be available immediately, but should be a couple of months after the beginning of the football season.

Sky was keen to say that it will not be passing on any of the costs of their investment to customers. The current discounts for premises with food, for example, will remain. They continue their partnership with Molson Coors and other BBPA members.

The fixture list, released last week covers premier league fixtures on Saturdays at 5.30 and on Sundays at 1.30 and 4pm. They will continue with the Champions League. A new show ‘Saturday Night Football’ will begin in August at 5.30 on a Saturday evening.

I had an interesting tour of the Sky studios – looking at the sets of Cricket AM, Sky News and Sports News. On the way round we met the athlete, Darren Campbell, who leads on many of their programmes aimed at encouraging children to be more active. It was certainly a very live site!

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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A welcome reception for beer: WTO Global Review of Aid for Trade

On 09/07/13 by Andy Tighe (Policy Director)

I had the honour of saying a few welcoming remarks at a beer reception at the end of the first day of “Connecting to Value Chains” the World Trade Organisation Global Review of its Aid for Trade programme in Geneva.

Aid for Trade is focused on helping developing countries (especially the least developed countries) to build trade capacity and infrastructure. Due to their significant investment in value chains in Africa particularly, SABMiller and Heineken were invited to participate in panel discussions to highlight these investments. It was also agreed that an informal beer reception co-hosted by the Worldwide Brewing Alliance and the four global brewers would be a perfect way for delegates to unwind at the end of day one and experience first-hand the results of these investments with beers from Africa and across the globe.

With Pascal Lamy, the Director-General of the WTO and senior representatives from Geneva missions, OECD, NGO groups and the UN among several hundred attending the beer reception, it was a great opportunity to highlight the strong links beer has to local supply chains and the jobs generated from the production and sale of beer. From securing jobs for local farmers of quality barley, sorghum, cassava and rice through to investment and support for cafes, taverns and pubs serving local communities – there are now 14 million jobs that are generated worldwide - of which a great share are now in Africa.

It was also important to remind people that beer is the third most popular drink in the world after water and tea, and is still brewed with the care and a sense of the tradition and heritage in honour of those who first discovered it many centuries ago.

Speaking to Mr Lamy over a beer afterwards I also couldn’t help but mention the positive reaction to the recent beer duty cut in the UK and the belated recognition of beer’s contribution to the economy and local communities...

Andy Tighe
Policy Director


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