SIBAs craft mark, Lost and Grounded and what glassware tells us about the state of beer
- SIBAs craft mark: it’s been just under 6 months since the Society for Independent Brewers (SIBA) announced a definition for a craft brewer and a stamp to accompany the title. The ‘Assured Independent British Craft Breweries’ (AIBCB) initiative was designed to provide greater clarity to consumers looking to purchase beer from genuinely independent1 breweries. While SIBA has over 850 members, all of which are eligible for the stamp2, only 150 pledged their support for the scheme and committed to use the logo at the time of launch. Today that number has increased to 350 which, given that it is still early days for the initiative, is a result I am sure SIBA considers a success. The next steps for the initiative will be unveiled further at the BeerX in March (SIBAs annual conference-cum festival), but will likely include engaging both on and off trade points of sale. Personally I have yet to see any of the craft beer I drink with the AIBCB mark although if it goes some way to achieving its goal of provide clarity to consumers on what they are drinking that surely is a good thing. However, there remain consenting views – without consensus on a definition and without complete take up, will it achieve this goal? Time will be the judge.
1: SIBA defines independent as ‘independent of any larger controlling interests
2: to be eligible, breweries should be independent and above by SIBAs Manual of Good Brewing Practice
Have you seen any beer with the AIBCB mark? Tag me in your picture
- Lost and Grounded: Lost and Grounded was arguably the biggest brewery launch of 2016. They came with brewing pedigree, financial backing and an open and humble approach and then they got around to brewing some beer. Like most, I waited with anticipation to try their beer to see if my sky-high expectations would be met. While I had perhaps a pint or two at the Dukes Head Highgate one evening, it wasn’t until they released their bottled range I really got to sit down, enjoy and assess their creations. Having purchased two of each of their available range from Beer Merchants, I was both surprised and delighted when they arrived just two days later (kudos to Beer Merchants for their impeccable service). Beer is best shared and I bought these beers to share with my father-in-law over the weekend. They were characterised by smoothness of mouth feel, subtle but distinct flavours and above all else an approachable drinkability. You can find a more detailed review of the beers on my Instagram feed, although what I would say is that they were all very good (my highlight was their No Rest for Dancers, a hoppy red ale). If you haven’t seen them in a pub or bar near you, get on to Beer Merchants and make an order.
- Glassware: ‘You don’t seem to have any beer glasses’ I observed recently at my Dad’s house. He seemed to take some offence to the suggestion as he pulled a tumbler from the glass cupboard. While he had a variety of glasses for different styles of wine, he failed to have anything I would consider suitable for by Pilsner. So I helped myself to a wine glass, which was subject to much eyebrow raising on his behalf. It got me thinking of my own glassware collection. When I got married, glassware took its pride of place alongside crockery on our wedding registry. At the time this was what I viewed as a suitable if not slightly flashy beer glass.
Over time, and almost by osmosis I have started to gather a range of more specialist beer glasses – visits to festivals and breweries largely to blame. I have my favourites; my 1/3 pint tulip from Hop Burns and Black, my Teku from BeerBods and my Craft Master from Weird Beard. I understand that drinking beer and appreciating beer are two different things, but until I can walk into my Dads house and he has more suitable beer glasses there is still more to do to educate people about appreciating good beer.
Share a picture of your glassware collection – tag me in a photo