The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) says all its members trading on the Beerflex scheme now hold a valid FSQ certificate or other professional food and drink quality accreditation commissioned themselves.
This means 494 independent craft breweries can now provide necessary food safety and quality assurance demanded by many retailers. This also give consumers confidence they are drinking beer from the very best professional craft breweries in the UK, says SIBA.
SIBA’s FSQ (Food Safety and Quality), launched in 2015, provides members with a practical means of access to an independent quality-driven audit. SIBA recognised that not all members were ready to step up to schemes such as SALSA or BRC so created its own first step.
Nick Stafford, SIBA’s operations director, said: “Modern consumer culture and many retailers demand food safety and quality assurance from professional brewing businesses. Retailers wish to identify professional brewing businesses who are 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. The FSQ does just that and has been created as a cost-effective way of achieving this for those brewers not ready for the likes of SALSA or BRC.”
The compulsory FSQ enrolment (or other accreditations mentioned above) for those trading on Beerflex is the first step towards SIBA making the FSQ audit a requirement of SIBA full brewing membership by 2020.
SIBA chief executive, Mike Benner, said: “SIBA members have always agreed to abide by the FSQ standard (previously named SIBA’s Manual of Good Brewing Practice) when joining SIBA, and although written into our rules, we have not been good at promoting quality by enforcing this rule — our new scheme provides a means to do that.
“In a crowded marketplace, it is important that SIBA, as a trade association for independent craft breweries, creates a clear path for our members to differentiate themselves to retailers when selling their beer as they can prove they are professionally compliant. This accreditation will also give consumers confidence they are drinking the very best beer brewed by independent British craft breweries.”
He added: “We understand that it is important for some our smaller members who do not trade on Beerflex to witness the true value of the FSQ before making that decision to enrol into the audit, and for that reason SIBA has given these breweries until 2020 to make that business decision.
“Within two years SIBA will be able to prove and assure to all retailers and consumers that SIBA represents professional brewing businesses.”