Craft beers fight back against big brewers
New kitemark to be awarded to independents producing 4.4 million gallons a year
Britain's craft beer industry "has turned from mild to bitter", says The Guardian, launching a kitemark to fight back against larger multinationals.
The Society of Independent Brewers (Siba) has announced it will accredit smaller, independently-owned producers following the latest buyout of an independent brewery - London Fields Brewery by Carlsberg last week.
"Its criteria are that brewers must produce less than 200,000 hectolitres [4.4 million gallons] a year, abide by Siba's standards of ingredient quality and - crucially - be fully independent of any global beer company," says the Guardian.
The kitemark campaign will be a major feature of the Great British Beer Festival in London this summer, with "independent breweries… highlighted on bar banners and in the festival programme", The Independent says.
A number of independent brewers have been taken over in recent years, as multinational giants seek to capitalise on the boom for craft beers.
Camden Town, Meantime, Blue Point, Blue Moon, Goose Island and Sharps Doom Bar are all now owned by the likes of Budweiser owner AB InBev, Asahi of Japan and North American giant Molson Coors.
Self-styled "punk" brewer Brewdog has also accepted hundreds of millions of pounds from private equity investors to expand.
Justin Hawke, who runs the Bristol-based Moor Beer Company, says independent ownership is the only guarantee of quality.
He said: "When a company is bought, you lose that independence, you lose the ability to control your own destiny.
"The owning company will take decisions driven by economics and shareholder value that will require you to change your ethos, quality, and flavour.”