Brewers get behind Seal of Independence

15 June, 2018 by Andy Young

The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) recently launched its Seal of Independence which was established to help consumers identify which beers are brewed by independent Australian brewers, and Charlie Whitting, Editor of Beer & Brewer, spoke to a number of brewers who are now showing the seal on their beers.

Officially launched earlier this month, the IBA’s Seal of Independence follows similar marks of independence launched overseas, with the US Brewers Association recently launching their own Independent Craft Brewer Seal.

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TheShout reported last month that Western Australian brewer Crafty Monkey was the first in the state to adopt the seal, and brewer Ross Terlick said: “There are a lot of consumers out there who would be very surprised to find out who actually owns their favourite beer, and while it may not change their mind about buying it, at least now they will be able to make a more informed decision. There are varying scales of production, from small brewpubs to large production breweries out West, but everywhere you go, you find a great love of beer and a very friendly and open industry. As the IBA’s Seal of Independence gets bigger and starts being seen by consumers over the next few months, we hope that more Western Australian brewers will sign up and support the movement.”

Ben Summons of Stone & Wood, explained why he decided to adopt the seal, saying: “It is the mark that unifies the indie brewers and helps drinkers identify who is behind the beer they are considering to buy. We believe that when a drinker buys an independently brewed beer they are choosing to support homegrown, local people (mums and dads, artisans, innovators), in their community who have put everything on the line to follow their passion and bring new life into their local community. Local jobs are created, innovation and choice thrives, grass roots communities are supported, and company tax dollars stay in Australia. It’s a vote for the little guys having a go, and the people and communities they are linked to.”

Summons added that he would “absolutely” encourage other brewers to get on-board with the seal, he told Beer & Brewer: “We know more and more drinkers are interested local and independent beers. Market data also highlights this is the case with consumption too. By getting behind the Seal it helps create more awareness for the indie brewers and makes it easier for the drinker consider and choose independent.”

And while he said its still too early to be clear what the reaction has been, he added that the brewer had a really positive response on social media when they announced that they are supporting the seal.

For James Davidson at Bright Brewery in Victoria, the seal provides a strong link to one of the brewery’s core values – authenticity. He said: “The Seal of Independence is a quick identifier that the beer you are purchasing is an authentic indie beer, brewed here at Bright Brewery by people who care about the beer they make and the impact is has on our economy, community and culture.

“The seal indicates that there are real brewers and beer lovers behind the label who you can actually meet and talk to about it, and that your money is going into an Australian business and helping the local economy. We care more about the flavour and quality of the product and what brewing means to us, rather than keeping stakeholders or foreign markets happy. We don’t need to make up stories or use spin to support our beers, the product speaks for itself, and the IBA Seal is a consistent way to confirm that.”

Davidson also encouraged more brewers to sign up, adding: “We are a very small industry and must partner, collaborate and work together to grow a sustainable future for authentic local beer. The more passionate brewers that show their support for indie beer, the bigger our collective industry voice will be to help influence growth and positive change for the businesses that care about beer as a force for good and not just a commodity. With so many non-independent and foreign owned companies and corporations releasing beers that look like they are made by a small local brewer, the IBA Seal needs genuine support to help us stand apart from the pretenders.”

Queensland’s Burleigh Brewing has also adopted the seal, with Peta Fielding telling Beer & Brewer: “Consumers often want to know not only what they’re buying, but who they’re buying from and, indirectly, what they are supporting in that process.

“Burleigh Brewing is a private, locally-owned business that’s driven entirely by what’s best for our beer, our team and our community. We’re all about living, and sharing, our passion. Using the seal enables consumers to know that message is genuine and truly who we are – not a manufactured marketing approach to appear like something we’re not.”

In the ACT, Bentspoke Brewing Co, has also adopted the seal, and co-founder Richard Watkins said: ““It’s very important for independent brewers to have a united voice as a sector when dealing
with serious issues, and to have a forum to discuss matters that impact all small brewers.

“We are excited to sign up to the IBA’s Independence Seal, as it will equip customers with the knowledge to make considered purchasing decisions, and will help bring the stories of Australian brewers into public discussion.”

IBA CEO, Alexis Roitman says their Independence Seal aims to change the discourse around craft beer in Australia and to support the smaller brewers of the nation.

“Our Independence Seal is about education; ensuring that consumers know about the provenance of the beers they find at the bar, pub or bottle shop and why this is important. The response to the Independence Seal to date has been extremely positive. We believe the seal will point consumers in the right direction and boost the appeal of indie beer, which is ultimately our end goal,”