The Downward Pressure of the brewing business – hows this sound for a vague ‘Pressure Tree’?
These are just a few thoughts that whiz around my head from time to time.
- The International / Multinational Brewer puts price pressure on those smaller than it because of their economies of scale and their massive marketing budgets for brand visibility.
- The National Brewers do all they can to keep their market share, this also involves economies of scale to make prices low.
- Family Brewers and those with tied estates are obviously feeling the pressure from above and want to keep market share, some of these breweries will also be feeling the pressure from smaller more innovative brewers below them.
- Medium Brewers, the ones that started out small or small-ish a few years ago, there is a lot of expansion going on, those that have expanded and are still expanding. This is kind of a weird group, they have got to their peak and still have the drive to climb higher, they could be expanding further in to bottling or Canning, they could be acquiring new Pub venues to sell through and without a doubt they are aggressively getting tied-line contracts signed for beer supply. These brewers are still innovative, still current, mostly producing interesting beer.
- The small Microbrewer, the lowest on the ‘Pressure Tree’. Microbrewers have the full weight of the others pressing down on them. No economies of scale, no marketing budget, minimal exposure. The only way these small guys can put pressure on the other groups is through innovation.
Now when I think of the ‘Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition’ and SIBA wanting to smooth the Beer Duty curve for brewers above 5000 Hectolitres the only people I see winning from this is everyone above the small Microbrewer, those that brew above 5000 HL who in some cases already put downward pressure on those smaller. Any change to the current Beer Duty system has to see the small brewers being driven out of the market.
So what can we do? (This is where things digress a little)
- Definitely campaign for there to be NO CHANGE to the current Small Brewers Relief on Beer Duty.
- Have a means of Direct sales to the public, Cans, Bottles open a bar or pub.
- Campaign for a truly free market for beer in the UK, Pubcos should be strictly governed against.
- Boycott places like Wetherspoons who only make themselves richer while only the bigger of brewers manage to make £1 or £2 per cask for what is usually bog standard beer, If Wetherspoons change to pay their supplier brewers a fair amount you may continue to drink in McSpoons.
- Boycott tied pubs? For all it sounds good in the Spirit of the Freehouse I don’t think this is fair, if a Pub provides a service, a meeting place for those around it then what we really need is for them to get a fairer deal from their controlling Pubco.
- Supermarket beer is way too discounted (loss-leaders) and there are regional brewers selling ‘faux-craft’ beer into supermarkets all branded up to look ‘crafty’ yet for the most part they totally missing the mark. Why are supermarkets allowed to sell beer so cheap that its killing pubs?
- CAMRA, just burn your Spoons Vouchers… if you use them you are only being part of the problem, and CAMRA you are too close to big business these days.
- And always remember, just like your electricity bill or how much a tank of petrol costs…. EVERYTHING ALWAYS GETS MORE EXPENSIVE.
For us here at Wishbone, August was our best month ever, then quickly usurped by October which was our best ever month… So thanks very much to all the drinkers and pubs for this, thanks to KWVR Beer & Music Fest for having us again too.
Our near-future path as a business is to get our beer into Cans, we have the canning date booked for 17th January 2019 so in a few weeks we will brew Dassler Lager so it has its proper lagering time in tank before canning and Zoikes and Cloudy with a chance of hops will be brewed in Jan just in time for the canning date.
All being well in February we will start a Crowdfunder with the aim of opening a bar somewhere in Keighley.