The Craft Beer Industry Association (CBIA) has voted to remove large brewers from its membership and has been renamed the Independent Brewers Association (IBA).
According to IBA, Australia’s small and independent brewers voted overwhelmingly in favour of the reform, which will become effective 30 days from today.
On the decision to rebrand to IBA, Executive Officer Chris McNamara told Beer & Brewer that it is because ‘craft’ has become such a nebulous term to be able to describe.
“Essentially the term ‘craft’ has been co-opted now, you can go into Red Rooster and they’ve got a ‘crafted range of rolls’. And the big guys have been using craft as well, so independent is something that we can define and something that we can own.”
IBA says the reform is a move designed to create a body that is better placed to address the challenges faced by small brewers in Australia.
Under new rules for what was the CBIA, membership will be prohibited for brewers that are more than 20 per cent owned by large brewers or other businesses that hold significant brewery holdings in Australia or overseas.
Previously the Association had allowed membership by breweries such as Little Creatures, Malt Shovel and Mountain Goat, all of which are 100 per cent owned by global brewing companies.
McNamara told Beer & Brewer that the above-mentioned breweries have been notified and are happy for IBA to pursue with the process.
“We have had discussions with them in the last couple of days letting them know that it looked like the vote was going to go through and they’re happy for us to pursue the process.
“Constitutionally we need to contact them and say that the board doesn’t feel that they meet the requirements anymore and then there’s a formal process where we give them notice of the decision we’ve made on a certain date and they’re allowed to come along and discuss it, and then the board makes the decision from there,” said McNamara.
IBA Chair, Peta Fielding, said that this is a great day for the Association and for small, independent breweries in Australia.
“Our industry is a shining light in Australian manufacturing. There are now more than 400 small, independent brewing businesses, up from just 200 when the Association began five years ago. The industry directly employs more than 2100 people and generates an estimated $655 million in economic output.
“Our members face challenges in their businesses with issues such as taxation, market access and licensing that don’t align with those of larger global organisations,” Fielding said.
“These changes allow us to narrow our focus on addressing the needs of the businesses that need it most.”
“As we move onto this next chapter of the association we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the significant contributions the larger brewers made as founding members of the Craft Beer Industry Association.”