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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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Licensed Trade Charity - Inspiring hope

On 08/07/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

The Licensed Trade Charity supports people who work in both brewing and in pubs. It is the charity supported by the BBPA at our Annual Dinner. It has two aims; providing support and care for those who have worked in the licensed trade facing a difficult time; and running independent schools which aim to give children the best start in life. The charity is based in Ascot where it owns the LVS school and three years ago opened LVS Hassocks, which is a special school for those with autism and asperger’s syndrome. I had the privilege of visiting LVS Hassocks last week and seeing the inspirational help given to children who need special care.

The school at Hassocks was a Church of England priory. It has a chapel, now used as a library and a spiralling oast house which is used for music. It looks after some 75 children from juniors to 18 years olds who are young people with a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum and have associated social and communications difficulties.

The child, teacher ratio is high. All children have funding from a ‘statement’ and most are funded through their local authority which has a duty of care to ensure they are given the best education possible.
Whilst the recent educational emphasis has been on integration for those with disabilities, bullying of those less able, particularly if they have social difficulties often leads to a need for a special care. I cannot emphasise enough how impressed I was with the school and the care offered there.

Education here is not restricted to the classroom. The school has a veritable menagerie of animals from rats to a snake (I did not offer to handle either!); there are chickens, and opportunities to grow vegetables and herbs with qualifications to be gained from NVQs to apprenticeships.

Next year the Licensed Trade Charity will open a second specialist school near Oxford. Their aim is to enable those in their care to become successful learners, in charge of their learning: confident individuals in control of their feelings; and responsible citizens in control of their actions. The school offers work experience and are also interested in looking for volunteers for work placements. It is a great charity and one which we should all be keen to support.

For more information please go to

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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‘... and the Lord Mayor said: Let There Be Beer’

On 02/07/13 by Gareth Barrett

Whilst being located in the City of London gives the BBPA team a fantastic selection of pubs to choose from, the limited open spaces, and array of banking headquarters does not necessarily make it an obvious location for an open-air beer festival. This Thursday (from 3.30pm until 9pm), that all changes, when bankers, builders, brewers and the BBPA’s own beer lovers will join together to bibulate at the first City Beerfest outside the historic Guildhall.

With permission and encouragement from the Lord Mayor, and presented by the City of London Festival and the Worshipful Company of Brewers, the Guildhall Yard will be taken over by a celebration of beer in aid of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Bringing together a range of beers from BBPA members Fullers, Hall & Woodhouse, Theakston’s and Young’s – making this an experience for which we can all thank the Lord Mayor!

As the industry joins together to get behind Let There Be Beer, this is a great opportunity to show our appreciation for beer as a social lubricant, showing support for the work of the Brewers’ Company and also raising money for some fantastic charities.

If you find yourself in the City on the fourth, then like a (Young’s) Hummingbird you can flutter on by – or be taken in by the Old Peculier that is the Guildhall – this event demonstrating that even in the hub of the city a beer is something to be celebrated – trying something old or new – so we encourage you all to take in a London Pride, or build hunger for a Hopping Hare, let’s take up the Lord Mayor’s challenge, and Let There Be Beer in the City of London.

For more information and to get tickets please click here.

Gareth Barrett


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Responsibility: military ID and this week's Home Office discussion

On 01/07/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

In 2011 for the first time, the Government announced that armed forces personnel could use their military identification as proof of age, which had not previously been allowed. The Ministry of Defence subsequently wrote to the BBPA asking for our support for Military ID to be accepted in pubs. The only rub in the ointment was the suggestion that we could not show licensees what the ID looked like as this might be a breach of military security. This seemed like an oxymoron to me – how could licensees know what military ID looked like if we could not publicise it! I visited the Ministry of Defence, but not much progress was made. At the Conservative Party spring conference last year I had a useful discussion with Liam Fox, the Secretary of State, but he was almost immediately re-shuffled and I had to wait until I met the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Andrew Robathan MP, at the Hanover Summer Party. Andrew Robathan completely understood our dilemma and when the revised Home Office False ID Guidance was published in July last year it contained sample images of Military ID allowing licensees to recognise what it looked like.

It was therefore with great pleasure that I visited the Westminster Arms last week and was joined by Andrew Robathan, now promoted to the Minister for the Armed Forces, (suitably surrounded by Spitfire beer!) to launch the new BBPA Challenge 21 posters in time for Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

The new posters include military ID as proof of age and can be either ordered or downloaded from our website. There is no doubt that pubs are hugely supportive of our armed forces and allowing soldier to use their military cards to prove that they are legally allowed to purchase alcohol, seems sensible and something we can all support. BBPA Challenge 21 posters now been around since 2006 and are a reminder to customers that if they look under 21 they may be asked to prove that they are over 18. They are widely used and recognised and the re-launched poster will therefore help to spread the message that military ID should be accepted.

This week I have been summoned to see the Home Secretary; the Rt. Hon Theresa May MP. The conversation will no doubt be about the forthcoming Government response to the Alcohol Strategy.

The Responsibility Deal will also be high on the agenda and I think the BBPA and our members have a good story to tell and not only about Challenge 21 preventing under-aged sales. I have no doubt that as a sector we will achieve the 80% required by the end of this year for packaging to display unit content, the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for lower risk consumption and warning on drinking whilst pregnant. The BBPA customer unit awareness initiative, developed with Drinkaware has been boosted recently with promotion from Sky and distribution to the 23,000 licensees who receive Sky Preview magazine. The billion unit reduction pledge and our support for partnership schemes at a local level are all very important too.

We expect the Government’s response to be announced before the summer recess on 18th July. Our theme is about partnership working and deregulation. We will, I expect, have a consultation on licensing fees, but even if local authorities are given more scope for setting their own fees, we would argue in favour of a national cap and an increase of no more than 10%. For many pubs outside town and city centres, what are you paying for to justify an annual fee? As ever we seek to reduce red tape and regulation allowing our pubs to invest and create more jobs.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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New research clearly shows the many benefits of pubwatch

On 26/06/13 by Jim Cathcart (Policy Manager - Pub Operations)

As the effective alternative to levies and EMROs, the BBPA supports a number of partnership initiatives. One of the most popular schemes in the pub sector is a local pubwatch – a voluntary group set up by licensees working together to promote a safe drinking environment, in partnership with the police and licensing authority.

However, whilst anecdotal evidence and the general perception in the trade suggested that pubwatches are effective, there had been little statistical work carried out to measure this across the country. With this in mind, National Pubwatch (the voluntary organisation set up to support existing pubwatch schemes and encourage the creation of new schemes) commissioned Leeds Metropolitan University to evaluate the effectiveness of pubwatches.

The headline findings from the report, which received over 1,100 responses, show that the vast majority of local authorities (76%), police (70%) and licensees (70%) believe pubwatch to be contributing to a safer drinking environment in the areas in which they operate.

Councils (71%) and police (67%) also point to a decrease in anti-social behaviour in the wider localities as a result of effective schemes and closer partnership working.

Surveys carried out by Leeds Metropolitan University also found that pubwatch led to closer and more effective partnership working between the licensed trade and key local partners. Licensees (87%), police (92%) and councils (91%) stated they would recommend joining or establishing a Pubwatch to other local licensees and authorities.

The chairman of National Pubwatch, Steve Baker, said: "It is very encouraging that so many local authorities and police, as well as licensees, acknowledge the positive work of Pubwatch. Close partnerships are vital to support local licensed premises and make sure that they are safe and appealing for local people".

With Hartlepool and now Northampton abandoning plans for an EMRO, it is hoped other police and local authorities (such as Blackpool) looking to bring in EMROs take notice of the results of the National Pubwatch research which clearly demonstrates a voluntary, effective and partnership-led way to create safe drinking environments in the pub trade.

Jim Cathcart
Policy Manager - Pub Operations


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BBPA statistics - testing the temperature of the UK beer market

On 25/06/13 by Simon Goldrick (Policy & Information Officer)

BBPA statistics - testing the temperature of the UK beer market

In an increasingly challenging market, both commercially and politically, the need for accurate, reliable data and statistics is essential to success. As demonstrated by its wide use in The Sun’s ‘Axe the Beer Tax’ campaign, data from the BBPA and its members can persuasively make the case for economic policy and political action.

There are three main sources of industry data available, with which to analyse the UK beer market - market research companies, government statistics, and BBPA data. Worthy of note are the two main market research agencies CGA Strategy for on-trade data and Nielsen for the off-trade, both of which add value to industry information.

The BBPA collects data from member companies to produce a monthly Sales Volume Survey which is then distributed to members - and is also available to purchase. This covers both the on and off-trade categories, including ale, stout and lager (standard and premium strengths, draught, canned or bottled) as well as cask ale. We have recently added an executive briefing to this, which adds wider economic context and commentary to the results.

These monthly results are then incorporated into the publicly available Beer Barometer - a topline quarterly publication, which can be found alongside other statistics here. On an annual basis the BBPA publishes an Annual Barrelage Survey which covers the industry in more detail and is likewise available to BBPA members or is available to purchase. Excitingly the 2012 results were published on Tuesday. In addition, other statistics are provided to members, including quarterly export data and market forecasts, giving them an accurate industry context for members to compare their performance to.

For those who just can’t get enough of the stats... the BBPA also annually publishes the BBPA Statistical Handbook, a veritable bible for those who monitor the sector. This is the leading statistical publication in the industry and is now on its 39th edition. The 2013 edition will be published at the end of August, but in the meantime, you can always peruse the the 2011 and 2012 editions, which are available on our website.

If you have any statistical queries or would like to discuss BBPA statistics in more depth, please get in touch!

Simon Goldrick
Policy & Information Officer


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