Multiple specialists under fire for not supporting local beers

SIBA points to opportunity to exploit demand for locally-produced ales

A report by the Society of Independent Brewers claims that multiple specialists are not doing enough to make local beer available to their customers.

SIBA's Local Brewing Industry 2007 report says multiple specialists only have a 6 per cent share of volume sales of local beer, compared with 43 per cent for supermarkets and 14 per cent for independents.

SIBA's report showed that, despite ­customer demand increasing for local beer, multiples are not taking advantage of the trading opportunities with local breweries.

SIBA chairman Keith Bott said the off-trade should be considering the impact that the coming smoking ban would have on the on-trade and take advantage of the growing interest customers had in buying locally-produced food and drink to boost its sales.

He said: "There are opportunities for retailers here and now, waiting to be exploited. Changing the multiples' inertia will result in real momentum for beer. No wonder local brewers are very confident about trading opportunities this year."

The SIBA report shows local beer sales have risen by 7.5 per cent in the past year and 90 per cent of local brewers produce a bottled beer or will offer one by the end of 2007.

Locally-sourced beers make up half the range at branches of specialist chain Rhythm and Booze. Managing director Martin Swaine said: "If I had the choice I would probably stock 80 per cent local beers. If the small breweries got their act together and invested in bottling facilities, we'd certainly stock more."