THE state of the economy is casting a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ shadow over the British pub and brewing trade, an influential industry figure has claimed.
Julian Grocock, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), based at the National Brewery Centre in Horninglow Street, Burton, made the statement in the 2013 Local Beer Report.
Mr Grocock said in the report that SIBA members brewed 30 million pints more in 2011 than in 2010, and he described brewing as ‘British manufacturing at its very best’.
But he wrote: “Of course we have political messages to deliver and the past year has seen an intensification of lobbying activity across the wide spectrum that encompasses British brewing and campaigning consumers, in which SIBA members have been proud to play their part.
“In contrast to the buoyant optimism generated by so many commercial success stories and a sector of a manufacturing industry in growth, there remain doubts, fears and challenges resulting from national and global economic crises and uncertainty about the conflicting direction of current fiscal policies, which have cast a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ shadow over British beer and pubs.”
Although the real ale market is increasing, the overall beer market is in decline in Britain.
Mr Grocock wrote: “Local beer is in an age of outstanding growth, against some very tough national and global economic odds.
“Beer is deeply ingrained in British tradition and heritage and the local brewing industry will ensure that it stays that way.
“A warming sense of pride runs in the veins of local brewers. It is an infectious feeling that spreads easily, not only to brewery employees, but to those who supply goods and services to the industry, to publicans who love to sell British local beer, to consumers who love to drink it and to communities that have embraced new breweries and are rekindling friendly rivalries with each other over whose local brew is best.”
SIBA has 651 members currently producing ale in Britain. The Local Beer Report was compiled following a survey of these members, which elicited 315 responses.
Mr Grocock wrote: “An indigenous industry has revived, revamped and reinvented itself without losing sight of its deep roots in our national traditions . . . we represent British manufacturing at its very best.”