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The science of beer - BBPA at EBC 2013

On 31/05/13 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

Following the success of EBC 2011 in Glasgow, BBPA staff were once again present at Europe's premier, bi-annual brewing science showcase; The Congress of the European Brewing Convention. The 34th EBC Congress this week was hosted in the historical city of Luxembourg at the Lux Congrès Centre.

Over 400 delegates were welcomed to the Congress on Sunday evening by His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri and the current EBC President, Dr Stefan Lustig.

The technical programme started in earnest on Monday with Georges M. Lentz Jnr., CEO of the Brasserie Nationale, leading the opening session with an overview of brewing in Luxembourg and the challenges for a small country surrounded on all sides by large, established brewing nations! The remainder of the session explored how the industry can use its scientific legacy to encourage more young scientists to consider a career in brewing and how brewing science might be communicated to consumers to help raise the profile of beer as a beverage category.

Over a couple of days, the main technical sessions delivered presentations addressing a wide range of issues faced by the industry today. Sustainability concerns such as water and energy efficiency, environmental management as well as potential alternative uses of brewery co-products were addressed, followed by a wide range of brewing process and production related research. Beer aroma and control of beer staling through new monitoring techniques and process control was also discussed as was the development of novel raw materials. Some fascinating papers were also presented on the causes of gushing in beer as well as control of barley and malt quality.

The UK was well represented at the Congress. The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, Nottingham University and Campden BRI all presented papers and posters. In addition to the academic scientists, Shepherd Neame's own Elaine Martin also presented a poster, in association with Newcastle University and the University of Kent, on the Optimisation of Fermentation Cooling Profile.

For me, however, the highlight of the Congress were the yeast and microbiology sessions where Dr Diego Libkind from Argentina presented his work identifying the origins of lager yeast isolated from Patagonian rain forests and Dr Riikka Juvonen from VTT, Finland who presented on her microbiological analysis of 200 year old shipwrecked beer!

The brewing industry is dependent on the robust, relevant and new scientific research. The 35th Congress will be held in Porto, Portugal in 2015 and whilst Luxembourg will certainly be a tough act to follow, if this year’s Congress is anything to go by, the industry can rest assured that Porto will continue to see the further delivery of exactly that!

Steve Livens
Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain


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John Sergeant to host the 2013 BBPA Annual Dinner & Awards!

On 30/05/13 by Sophie McIntyre

We are now taking bookings for the British Beer & Pub Association Annual Dinner and Awards 2013. This year’s event will take place at the Park Plaza, Westminster, London, on Wednesday 9th October.

Our host for this year's event is a unique media personality, with decades of his life spent covering hard news. He later put in the hours on that slightly less high brow TV institution, Strictly Come Dancing. I, for one, cannot forget his grace and poise...

However, it must not be forgotten that Sergeant has a wicked sense of humour. He began his post university life writing comedy scripts and playing characters for Alan Bennett, before returning to the limelight much later in his career as the host of one of the funniest Have I Got News for You episodes ever recorded. He flitted between author, broadcaster and journalist during his career, but Sergeant is best known for his 20 year role as the BBC's chief political correspondent - all stemming from his first press job as a reporter on the Liverpool Echo before he joined the BBC in 1970.

The broadcast which shot him into the limelight on a permanent basis was the ‘handbagging’ incident, which took place on the steps of the British Embassy in Paris just days before Baroness Thatcher stood down as Prime Minister. The then Prime Minister's Press Secretary, Bernard Ingham, elbowed Sergeant out of the way to ensure that he was unable to get the scoop on whether her departure from office was imminent. The fact that Sergeant’s cameras were pointing the wrong way and missed the shot of the Prime Minister emerging from a meeting was also a key element of the broadcast’s popularity. Sergeant went on to cover stories in more than 25 countries, including Vietnam, Cyprus and Israel and also regularly reported from Northern Ireland (he reported the first British soldier killed during the Troubles). He has also been a correspondent in Washington, Paris and Dublin.

We are, as you can imagine, eagerly anticipating his eloquence and wit at this year’s BBPA awards! 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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Happy birthday Wadworth 6X

On 29/05/13

Friday the 24th of May saw the celebration of the 90th birthday of Wadworth's flagship beer brand, 6X. The 'party' was held at Coopers' Hall in the City of London, a place steeped in brewing heritage, as displayed in the Hall’s museum. The casks made by the Coopers have carried beer to thirsty drinkers for centuries, some of which are still on display. Our host for the day was Wadworth's Chairman, Charles Bartholomew, the great-grandson of the company's founder, Henry Wadworth.

For the occasion, Head Brewer, Brian Yorston, delved into the brewing archives and recreated the original 6X recipe. Like many beers, the taste of 6X has evolved over the course of its history. As Brian explained, various external factors had caused these changes, most importantly the Second World War, which resulted in ingredient shortages and rationing.

Like all family brewers the company has a long and illustrious history, with a very strong local presence. And their flagship 6X has helped them to build a national presence in pubs and supermarkets. To enable competitive growth the company has had to invest and modernise, to be fit for the 21st century.

This ability to adapt is the key to success for Wadworth's and the other family brewers. They have invested heavily in technology within the brewery, cutting energy costs and carbon emissions. In 2009 a brand new copper house was installed, replacing kit dating back to 1885. These changes were made without affecting the quality and taste of the company’s brews. More recently the company has invested in a microbrewery on-site to develop new and innovative new beers, including the Beer Kitchen range.

The company has also invested heavily in their brands and pubs. A tie-up with Bath Rugby Club has boosted their regional presence and their pubs are highly regarded through the south of England.

Wadworth’s continued progression is a great example of how innovation helps to ensure that family brewers maintain and increase their unique appeal. The combination of longstanding heritage and traditional products with a modern forward-looking outlook is clearly a winning one, and is why us lucky Britons will continue to be able to celebrate many more beery birthdays in the years to come.


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Efficiency and environmental impact – what can members learn from Coca Cola

On 24/05/13 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

The brewing industry has made significant progress in tackling energy efficiency, water use and waste levels more generally. However, learning from other industries is a great way to gain ideas and inspiration. Eager to learn more, the BBPA Environment Panel, comprising environment and engineering specialists, held its latest meeting on-site at the Coca Cola Plant in Wakefield.

Coca-Cola Enterprises has a fantastic reputation for being one of the most forward-thinking and dynamic companies in the food and drink sector, and their plant in Wakefield is one of its flagship sites. The company has wisely invested in ultra efficient pieces of production equipment and has actively encouraged efficient practices amongst staff to reduce energy use and use machinery effectively. Staff are incentivised to take the issue of environmental impact seriously.

Since 2007, the plant has invested £51 million to improve speed and efficiency at the plant and has reaped the environmental rewards. In this period they have reduced water use by 10% and energy use by 16.5%.

Brewers were hugely impressed by the efficiency, health and safety procedures and generally excellent practices shown at the plant. The active staff engagement in the process of continual improvement of the plant’s environmental performance particularly stood out.

With a new BBPA Environmental Strategy for pubs and brewers under development, this visit provided a great opportunity to look at another industry which is leading the way in showcasing environmental best practice and learn some lessons to help with progress in our industry.

There were some key learnings that can be transferred into the brewing sector. Staff involvement, education and communication shone through as a critical, if challenging, objective. This applies throughout the workforce. Detailed and targeted monitoring of performance supports this and enables changes to be measured and celebrated. And investment, both large and small in scale, can play a big part (admittedly, not paying excise duty does give Coca-Cola a definite advantage in capital expenditure!).

This shows just how much can be learnt by getting out of the brewery and seeing what’s going on in other industries. Next stop for the Panel, Rolls Royce Aerospace!

Daisy Blench
Policy Manager - Responsibility


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BII Annual Lunch - judging Licensee of the Year

On 16/05/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

It was all the more special to attend the BII Annual Lunch this year, as I had been asked to be a judge for the final six candidates for the Licensee of the Year Award. My role on a panel, with the previous year’s winner Madhis Neghabian and Kate Oppenheim (the new Editor of BII Business) was to ask questions about social responsibility. It was a very heartening experience. So many of the six shortlisted licensees really did take their social responsibility seriously. They knew about unit awareness, reducing the strength of house wines and 2.8% beers. They looked after their customers and cared about their welfare. Ashley and Kelly McCarthy of Ye Old Sun Inn in Colton, near York were worthy winners this year.

Tim Hulme, the new CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping gave a passionate and inspiring speech. He talked about the importance of being an awarding body as opposed to an industry policeman. The BII is keen to encourage development, help fill the skills gap and keep looking for the best in class to be our publicans of the future.

Tim is clearly interested in partnership. BII and BBPA have already met for half a day with our senior teams to discuss how we can work together. He is keen to work with other partners to give a collective voice – Springboard, ALMR, the Institute of Hospitality.

Last year they had 3,000 calls for advice to members. Tim hopes that the promised research for the statutory code consultation really will be independent. He wants membership of the BII to be a benchmark for quality, and promised to be part of a social revolution with clear standards of accountability, leadership, openness, sincerity and integrity. BII membership must offer a competitive edge. It was as ever a very special occasion and I am keen that we all support BII as our professional body for the future.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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The Worldwide Brewing Alliance meets in Geneva for health strategy discussions

On 15/05/13 by Andy Tighe (Policy Director)

With the World Health Assembly just a week away, the Worldwide Brewing Alliance (WBA) , which I currently chair, held a productive beer reception in Geneva on Monday evening. The event was a final opportunity to discuss the WHO Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) Global Action Plan which is due to be ratified at the forthcoming Assembly. It was also an opportunity to showcase the actions being taken by brewers across the world to tackle the harmful use of alcohol.

In 2010, member states adopted the WHO Global Strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. The Strategy lists ten key policy areas that WHO members should consider when developing national strategies whilst taking account of local circumstances. It rightly recognises that there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ set of solutions. The brewing industry is keen to see a consistent approach taken in the NCD Action Plan which also has reducing alcohol misuse as a key element within it.

Indeed, following concerns raised regarding earlier drafts, the final draft NCD action plan is more consistent with the Global Strategy. However, some outstanding areas of concern remain and these were highlighted to the 30 plus attendees at the Reception, which included among them Ambassadors, Counsellors and Geneva-based Mission Representatives from around 20 countries across the world.

It remains to be seen whether the final adopted version fully reflects the views of the brewing industry, as negotiations between member states continue. However, it was a successful evening and one welcomed by missions in Geneva as a chance to build contacts with the brewing industry and enjoy a beer or two (in moderation!) with counterparts from other countries.

Andy Tighe
Policy Director


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Cracking holiday at home, Gromit!

On 13/05/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Of the UK’s tourist income, 80% comes from those who choose to holiday at home. Beer and pubs are an important part of this.

I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of the Wallace and Gromit ‘Get Packing’ campaign, hosted by Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. A ‘Holidays at Home are GREAT’ commercial will be broadcast on TV, while an extended version can be found I do hope you have a chance to watch it – try to spot the pub sign by the canal!

Wallace and Gromit have been around for 20 years and the animations are still made in Bristol. It is a big year for the Aardman franchise: a trail is being launched in Bristol with life sized characters and a themed ride will be opened in Blackpool. The characters will also feature as part of the Proms and international events planned by the BBC World Service.

The campaign has partnered with high street travel agents to help promote domestic breaks. Recent research on last year’s campaign found that 60% of those asked were proud to be British and 20% would be more inclined to take a holiday at home as a result. Last year, domestic tourism was fairly flat in terms of results, but day trips were up 11%, contributing £57 billion to the local economy. This year, the Chelsea Flower show is celebrating its centenary, it will be 100 years since the birth of Benjamin Britten and 200 years since Pride and Prejudice was published – so there are lots of great British events to celebrate.

I used this opportunity to make the link between this campaign and ‘Pubs are Great’ which we are working on with Visit Britain and Number 10. Since I had badgered Maria Miller over beer duty when I last met her, she was kind enough to say that she had thought of me when the duty cut was announced! Visit England also launched a small booklet ‘101 Things to do Before You Go Abroad’. Number two on the list is to visit the oldest pub in Britain.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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EMROs vs. Partnership – there should only be one winner

On 13/05/13 by Jim Cathcart (Policy Manager - Pub Operations)

Last week’s decision by Hartlepool Borough Council’s licensing committee to reject the proposed Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Order (EMRO) was significant for a number of reasons.

The powers to introduce an EMRO came into effect in October 2012, and Hartlepool has been the first Council (on the recommendation of the police) to formally consult on this proposal. The EMRO as proposed would have prevented the sale of alcohol after 2am by premises in Hartlepool town centre, in effect shutting down the late night economy after this point. Whilst the majority of the affected businesses in Hartlepool would have been dedicated late night venues rather than ‘traditional’ pubs, it should be remembered that an EMRO can be set at any time from midnight until 6am and is fundamentally untargeted and unfair on licensed premises – therefore EMROs should be challenged by the entire licensed trade at every opportunity.

The evidence base presented by the police in Hartlepool did not support the introduction of an EMRO. Indeed, Hartlepool has in fact seen significant decreases in offences in the night time economy since 2005, making the evidential grounds for the introduction of an EMRO even shakier.

Licensee and trade representatives at this week’s hearing presented the licensing committee with a number of negative consequences of implementing an EMRO, including customers moving to other towns or drinking at home after on-trade options are curtailed by an EMRO, a surge of people leaving premises at the same time - as happened prior to the Licensing Act 2003 - potentially placing pressure on police and taxi marshals.
Perhaps the most important point, however, is that businesses with a core late night trade would in effect be losing a large part of their attraction and custom if forced to close at 2am. Given the current economic challenges facing the late night sector, such a restriction on trading could well make the business unviable, leading to both economic impacts and job losses. Premises that have been granted their hours following legitimate applications, approved by the licensing authority, would in effect be penalised and potentially forced to close despite not causing any problems.

Hartlepool licensing committee decided on the basis of such representations that an EMRO in Hartlepool was not appropriate at this time – and one of the reasons given at the hearing was the impact such a measure would have on the viability of licensed premises and the subsequent impact on the local night time economy. Instead, the committee recommended that partnership working options should be explored – a positive solution that allows good and effective interaction between the trade, police and the licensing authority.

As Hartlepool has demonstrated, blunt legislative measures such as EMROs and Late Night Levies are not the way forward. Real partnership working and using the powers of the Licensing Act to target individual problem premises is the key to achieving a vibrant, successful and safe on-trade for customers, operators and enforcers alike.

Jim Cathcart
Policy Manager - Pub Operations


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The historical burdens of regulation – we can lighten the load

On 09/05/13 by Gareth Barrett

Beer’s first clear mention in regulatory history was in, none other than, the Magna Carta, when, in 1215, standard measures were first introduced. Pubs got their first mention in 1285’s Statuta Civitatis London, which restricted opening hours.

Regulation is not consistent either. Put aside drink driving there were 30 pieces of major legislation directly aimed at pubs and alcohol between 1285 and 1990. 715 years – 30 pieces. One new piece every 20 years. Whilst there were legislative surges in the 19th and early 20th century, brought on by the temperance movement and Winston Churchill losing an election to a Prohibition Party candidate(with full prohibition ongoing in the United States) the rate of legislative implementation has at its peak been one new piece of legislation every three years.

However in the last 20 years we’ve had ten. One every two years. Higher than the rate when the temperance leagues had more than 100,000 members, higher than the times of Hogarth and even the entire era of American prohibition. This is before other legislative creep on food standards, planning, smoking, environmental issues, responsibility etc. are accounted for.

There is opportunity in this environment. There exist simple opportunities for the Government: requirements for wine measures hardly anyone uses, the burdens of the Immigration (Hotel Records) Order on pubs with rooms, the compulsion for an advert in the local paper for variations in licenses or even that brewers still have to complete a paper form to submit their returns on beer duty! These simple changes alone could save the industry almost £20 million every year.

There is a real possibility that Government proposals for a new deregulatory effort may bear fruit – we must make sure to actively push industry interests – because, frankly, we’ve got a lot that can go.

Gareth Barrett


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