The Government ended uncertainty about the future of the tie as it pertains to the vertically integrated family brewers - that is - those family owned breweries such as Adnams, Robinsons, Bateman's Lees etc. that both brew, and own pubs which are tied to their beer.
In a response to the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee’s tenth report of session 2010-2012 into pub companies, the Consumer Minister Edward Davey recognised the importance of the tie to the longevity of breweries and success of tenant licensees. It is instructive to my mind at least, that "During this long enquiry, successive Select Committees received no complaints about brewery tenancies." This contrasts somewhat vividly with the complaints received about Pub Companies. Paul Wells speaking for the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB) was pleased saying (among other things) "In my view, many family brewers will now increase investment into their pubs because of the support the Government has announced for the traditional brewery tenancy agreement and the beer tie."
All well and good - and I welcome the decision - but maybe now that this uncertainty has been removed, IFBB members who have not woken up to the beer revolution around them, in addition to tarting up their pubs, can turn their attention to more vibrant brewing in this new stable environment. It will be a hollow victory indeed if they have stability for their tenants and future business, only to see it diminished by moribund beer ranges, dull brewing and a "we know best" attitude. As the Government and commercial logic forces PubCos to concede more choice for their lessees and micros offer more and more beery options, IFBB members cannot allow themselves to fall (further) behind the curve.
The beer market is at its most volatile for years. Innovation and experiment is all around. Beer drinkers are more and more discerning and demanding. This provides opportunity, but it also provides pitfalls. Let's see IFBB members rise to the challenge of the times.
A lot of my drinking is done in IFBB pubs, so I declare an interest. And I care about them.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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