All change at SIBA

13 March, 2014

Guy Sheppard has taken over from Keith Bott as chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers.

Lifelong ale lover Sheppard co-founded Exe Valley brewery in Devon in 1984 and is now the sole owner.

He also ran a wholesale business distributing cask beer in the south west and SIBA’s treasurer for the region, helping first ever beer festival at Tuckers Maltings in Newton Abbott in 1991.

He has been a member of SIBA’s commercial board since it started.

Bott, who served as chairman from 2002-2006 and then from 2011-14, said: “I’m delighted to be handing the chairman’s baton to Guy, who has been a valued SIBA trustee for many years. He takes office at the start of a new, exciting chapter for SIBA and I am confident that he will do an excellent job, helping to take the restructured organisation forward to the benefit of our members and of British beer and brewing overall.”

SIBA members also voted to change the structure of the organisation at this week’s AGM in Sheffield, merging the management of the trade association with the commercial arm, which until now were run as a separate entities.

SIBA’s commercial arm, founded in 2002 by commercial director Nick Stafford, has grown to a substantial business with sales of £12m last year, largely due to the success of the direct delivery schemewhich has secured listings for thousands of local beers in pubs that would otherwise have been closed to them.

Last year, it supplied SIBA members’ beers to around 2,400 pubs and sales through the scheme increased by 24% by value.

The new unified board will comprise 24 trustees from SIBA’s eight regions, a new managing director and finance director, as well as three non-executive directors. 

The trustees will set strategy and ratify decisions made by the managing director and the team.

Bott said: “SIBA is unusual if not unique among trade bodies, as having a thriving commercial arm in addition to our conventional trade association activities. Bringing these two aspects of the organisation together puts us in a far stronger position to move forward and help our members to thrive within a favourable political, commercial and social environment for British beer.

“SIBA brewers have been at the forefront of the resurgence of interest in British beer and we’re delighted with the change in perceptions of beer among consumers, retailers and politicians, which recognises beer as the responsible alcoholic drink.

“Last year’s cut in beer duty was a powerful signal from the government that beer deserves their support, and we hope to see that continued in next week’s Budget, with a duty freeze.”

The AGM also ratified the election to vice chairman of Jim Kenyon of Hereford Brewery. 

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