SIBA names new chairman, unveils new structureThe Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has today named Guy Sheppard of Exe Valley Brewery as its new chairman, succeeding Keith Bott. At its AGM in Sheffield, members also voted for a change in SIBA’s structure which will merge the management of the trade association and the commercial arm, until now run as a separate entity.
The new unifying structure follows an in-depth strategic review of SIBA, developed around a vision for the organisation to ‘build the future of British beer’ and examining both its trade association activities including political lobbying, training and membership services, as well as its successful commercial wing.
Underpinning the recommendations of the review was a desire to put members at the heart of SIBA. Under the new structure, the 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, as currently, set strategy for and ratify decisions by the executive, led by the MD.
Proposing the motion to change the structure, 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.
He continued, “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.”
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 Scheme, DDS, which has secured listings for thousands of local beers in pubs that would otherwise have been closed to them. Last year, DDS supplied SIBA members’ beers to around 2,400 pubs and sales through the scheme increased by 24% by value.
Bott served as chairman from 2002-2006 and then from 2011-14. He 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.”
Guy Sheppard co-founded Exe Valley brewery, in Silverton, Devon, with Richard Barron of Barron’s Brewery, established in 1984. He is now the sole owner and remains a hands on brewer at the brewery, which produces 25 barrels a week.
Sheppard is a lifelong ale lover, reintroducing real ale to Exeter University, where he studied accountancy. He started his own wholesale business distributing cask beer in the south west, which he sold to The Beer Seller. He was treasurer for SIBA’s south west region for many years and head of the region twice, as well as helping to organise SIBA’s 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.
The AGM also ratified the election to vice chairman of Jim Kenyon of Hereford Brewery.