UK craft brewers offered 'independence' seal

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Craft brewers in the UK have been offered the use of a seal to promote their independent ownership, echoing a similar move in the US last month.

Earlier today, the Society of Independent Brewers released details of the 'Assured Independent British Craft Brewer' campaign. The concept centres around a seal that can be used on the packaging of beer produced by brewers with annual capacity of 200,000 hectolitres or less, who are independently-owned and agree to abide by SIBA's 'Food Safety & Quality' standard.

The trade association highlighted several recent craft brewer purchases, including Camden Town Brewery by Anheuser-Busch InBev, Sharp's by Molson Coors and, most recently, London Fields Brewery by Carlsberg.

"Buyouts ... are made in the hope of capturing the original customers and target market of an established, previously-independent craft beer brewery," said SIBA chief executive Mike Benner. "Consumers deserve to know that what they are buying is a genuine craft-brewed beer."

Benner cited market research commissioned by SIBA last year, showing that 46% of beer consumers regard craft beer as "made by small brewers rather than large corporations".

The campaign will target this summer's Great British Beer Festival, where it will be promoted on bar banners.

Late last month, the Brewers Association launched a similar seal in the US, also for independent brewers. The move prompted a response from Anheuser-Busch InBev, suggesting the seal highlights a "civil war" within the country's beer market.

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