Sightlines — UK’s Society of Independent Brewers Introduces Craft Brewer Accreditation

Michael Kiser

THE GIST
The UK’s brewery trade body, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) just launched a new accreditation scheme for independent craft brewers. The scheme is an effort to reclaim the term "craft" for independent British brewers, in a market that, unlike the U.S., has no existing definition.

WHY IT MATTERS
I recently argued the case for craft beer to be defined in the UK. Without a way of quantifying what is and what isn’t craft in the region, it’s incredibly difficult to produce any form of statistical analysis that indicates how fast the market is growing. 

While the BA definition in the U.S. is subject to constant scrutiny and criticism, the fact remains that it exists and has allowed the BA to measure—and, in turn, nurture—the growth of craft beer in America. The UK has not had this luxury, but in some ways the UK market is much more difficult to define than the U.S. one, with the traditional and modern beer industries at times appearing to be completely separate from one another. 

SIBA’s move is a bold one, but with more than 130 breweries becoming adopters on day one, reaction from the industry so far appears to be positive. It will be interesting to see how the wider industry responds over the coming weeks—and if this newly fabricated seal of approval influences consumer buying habits. 

— Matthew Curtis