• Why is there a Scheme of Improvement?
    Generally speaking our modern consumer culture and retailers, especially multiple retailing groups, demand food safety and quality assurance from professional brewing businesses. Retailers wish to identify professional brewing businesses and these businesses must be seen to have an ongoing process of raising food safety and quality standards. Any brewing business aspiring to be a professional concern should be able to provide independent evidence of standards achieved.
  • By whom and how is the SIBA Food Safety and Quality Scheme governed?
    SIBA’s Articles and Rules contain the requirement for brewing members to adhere to the Food Safety and Quality Standard. The Board of Directors governs the Standard and any requirements for auditing of full brewing members. The Board of Directors is advised by the SIBA FSQ Development Group consisting of: independent food technologists, brewing and educational bodies, Health and Safety at Work specialists and SIBA’s HMRC executive staff.
  • Does my business need to be SIBA FSQ audited?
    Yes, if your brewery wishes to participate in SIBA Beerflex and it does not have SALSA, NSF or BRC
    accreditation certificate.
  • What if my business has ISO accreditation?
    If it holds the ISO 22000 ONLY, an on-site audit is not necessary; however, it will be required to provide SIBA with information requested.
  • Why would my business remain a member of SIBA, if it did not wish to participate in Beerflex?
    SIBA Brewing Members can remain members of SIBA without being FSQ enrolled. There are myriad benefits for every business to being part of the SIBA fraternity other than Beerflex. You can choose to be audited should you wish to benefit from the assurance of being a professional brewing business when seeking new sales opportunities independently.
  • How much does it cost?
    The cost of the SIBA FSQ is £300 per year. £600 for 2 years cover: payable over a 10 month period. (There will be a fee of £200 to administrate the process of integrating ISO 22000 documentation, if applicable.)
  • How long will it take?
    The audit will take no longer than a morning or afternoon.
  • Who will carry out my audit?
    Audits will be carried out by a independent assessor who will be professionally qualified. The auditor will call to introduce him/herself before they visit.
  • How will I know when my audit is?
    You will be contacted by SIBA with a proposed month for your audit. Should this not be convenient you can request a month of your choice by simply responding to the email advising with the contact details that are requested.
  • How will I receive my results?
    Following your audit and discussion with your auditor, the auditors’ report will be sent to the SIBA Food Technologist who will review and send on to SIBA who in turn will forward to you. The report will show one or more of the following categories:

    • Critical: based on SIBA Members’ Handbook/Food Safety and Quality Standard, (adherence of which is a condition of membership; based on HACCP, (a legal requirement); based on Labelling Regulations (a legal requirement); from September 2017, based on Heath & Safety At Work (a legal requirement). A Brewer will be required to take immediate food safety actions (and, from September 2017, safety at work actions), raised when a system that is need to the proper operation of the brewery is not in place or systems that are supposed to be in place are not followed. Evidence of corrective action must be received within 28 days of the audit report being received by the brewery for the brewery to remain enrolled in the SIBA FSQ.
    • Recommendations: the auditor can make recommendations to improve the brewery’s systems – sharing best practice. A recommendation is raised when the brewery has the required systems in place, but there are instances where the systems can be improved for the benefit of the brewing business.

    More specifically the scheme of standards will include:

    • HACCP
    • Raw materials
    • Brewing process and record keeping
    • Packaging process and record keeping
    • Cleaning regime
    • Premises maintenance
    • Testing procedures
    • Beer Quality
    • Health and Safety At Work
  • What happens when my business is enrolled?
    If the audit report shows no Critical Issues (immediate food safety actions (and, from September 2017, safety at work actions), it is enrolled and you will receive a certificate of enrolment from SIBA.
  • What happens if my business does not get enrolled following my audit?
    All breweries are enrolled after 28 days, because to have not made corrective actions renders the brewery at risk of harming consumers or legal non-compliance. SIBA make ‘Tools’ available to assist in resolving issues and these are in continuous development.
  • What are the common corrective actions?
    HACCP documents, ABV analysis, Brewers’ Grains administration, Excise Duty payments, allergens, traceability records, pest control.
  • Will the brewery need a further visit, if it receives Critical issues in the report?
    No, you will need to provide written evidence that these have been resolved.
  • How do I keep up to date with enrolment?
    12 months following your audit you may be required to provide written evidence on-line, which proves you are maintaining or improving standards.
  • Case Studies

    Our motive for signing up was not to continue trading with Beerflex but more to confirm that the brewery was operating within the law and the processes and methods we had in place were correct. Coming into the industry without formal experience meant that I was unfamiliar with these things and I had nothing but advice and my own initiative to go on. Preparation for the audit motivated me to ensure that the administrative side of the brewery was up to spec and had things such as HACCP and COSSH in place, as we initially started as a two man band these things were low on the list of priorities to begin with. The auditor (Ian Smith) had spent many years in a brewery environment and was extremely well versed and well selected on SIBA’s part. He was able to highlight what we were doing well and where we fell short. Another benefit was to have someone with such experience with you for the best part of a day in your brewery and I was able to ask question about things outside his remit and draw on his expertise to improve our methods.
    In terms of pass or fail it is more or less irrelevant. We would have failed on the day, were it structured in such a way. The critical and major issues that were discovered, one in our case was no product liability, can often be resolved on the day, all it took was a phone call to the insurance company for example. We were given advice before the auditor left and then a few days later you are presented with a draft of the audit, before it is submitted, to allow you to begin resolving any remaining issues.
    Once the report is in the hands of SIBA it is referred to their moderator and it is he who reviews the evidence you provide, that issues are correctly resolved before any certificate is issued and with us it took no longer than a few weeks.
    The whole process for me was not unnerving, but actually informative and I must stress having an expert in your environment is far more valuable than I realised.
    So in conclusion, you don’t just get a certificate that tell others that you are compliant, the whole process makes you look at your business holistically and gives you the confidence that you are in full control. You know your product, staff and plant are safe.
    Chris@idlevalleybrewery: March 2nd, 2017.

    We are working towards solutions for the recommendations made by Don Jeffrey. It was refreshing to meet an auditor with such vast and valuable knowledge and experience specific to the brewing industry and many of his comments and suggestions were extremely helpful. Please pass on our thanks to him for sharing his expertise and advice.
    Brigitte@allendalebrewery: March 9th, 2017

    May I take this opportunity to say that Don Jeffries was absolutely amazing as an Auditor. We have never undertaken an Audit & were unsure as to what to expect.
    Don was hugely knowledgeable & helpful. He guided us through the whole process.
    We understand more about what is required, have a few areas in which we need to improve.
    In a strange way – we enjoyed every minute of it & left the Audit with greater knowledge & understanding.
    He’s a top man!
    Jeff@consettaleworks: June 19th, 2017

    The booking process was seamless, and the time scales involved were reasonable. The auditor allocated was very helpful and supportive and all in all the whole process was informative and essential for our operation as we endeavour to be the very best we can and that is why we chose to join SIBA in the first place
    Dave@Priorswell: June 26th, 2017

    I am a fan of these initiatives, as it gives us a benchmark on what others are doing, and hopefully drives improvement in our business.
    In relation to the process, we found Rachel Evans to be very helpful, and had a very pleasant manner in the way she asked probing questions.
    My only request would be that your HACCP tool had the flexibility to add a section on local risks e.g. we are on a flood plain, and we take various preventative measures during the winter months to minimise risk/disruption, and there was nowhere to capture these types of risk.
    David@Broughton Ales: July 20th, 2017

    As regards the audit, we were very happy with John who undertook the audit, my only concern with ourselves being a small microbrewery was the time it took me to fully concentrate in completing the criteria necessary to achieve this, when we have a very limited team, and resources away from the busy day of Brewing, racking, Delivering and a huge amount of paperwork besides the audit. However, you guys have been very patient, and allowed the necessary time in those circumstances to complete, it has also highlighted some areas of improvement which we have implemented to assist, and help our existing procedures.
    Scott@Bullmastiff: October 6th, 2017

    The booking process was simple and easy. The tools available from SIBA were very helpful. Graeme Hall (Auditor) was pleasant and helpful. The audit was good for the business in terms of making us drill down into each and every process, a valuable exercise
    Waseem@BeerBrothers: January 30th, 2018

For any queries of questions you may have please contact the SIBA FSQ team at compliance@siba.co.uk