IBA bullish despite tough year


The Independent Brewers Association’s annual report showed an organisation making major progress despite the huge challenges presented to it and the wider industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the IBA report for 2020-2021, chair Peter Philip, who finished his term last year and handed over the reins to Young Henry’s Richard Adamson, said the year had been a “rollercoaster”.

Major wins including the increase of the excise rebate, which has made a huge difference to smaller brewers, were counteracted by the lockdowns impacting hospitality operations.

According to its full-year results, revenue for the organisation declined to $988,308 from $1.6 million in the previous year.

This was primarily driven by revenue declines in the conferences and events category, which dropped to $381,057 from $928,275 the previous year. After expenses, a loss of $38,874 is attributable to members.

Membership income, however, grew to $370,160 from $356,100 and the number of brewery members increased 13 per cent, the IBA said.

But despite the difficulties it and the rest of the industry have faced, the IBA was bullish about the prospects of independent beer. Independent brewers grew 10 per cent, it said, with rates of growth highest in the small brewer category, it said.

According to IRI Liquor Market data published in the report, independent beer increased its market share to 10.4 per cent, up 2.8 per cent from last year.

IBA report successes

The IBA’s wide remit has seen groups across the organisation involved in areas including skills, sustainability and state and federal lobbying in the 2020-2021 year.

The IBA’s sustainability Project Group, for instance, received a grant from Greening Industries South Australia to help develop an energy use benchmarking tool and best practice guide.

Skills have also been a major area of focus for the IBA, and the team secured subsidies for the Victorian-based Federation TAFE and Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute to run Certificate III courses in brewing, as well as funding from the South Australian government to work with TAFE SA to run a trial Certificate III course.

It has also supported the development of BrewLab in Queensland and partnered with TAFE NSW to fund and deliver a ‘train the trainer’ course to address a long waiting list for entry into its brewing courses.

The future

Amongst some of its most complex advocacy exercises, the IBA has been working with FSANZ and stakeholders to make brewer’s voices heard in the ongoing discussion regarding labelling requirements.

Last year FSANZ announced a consultation into energy labelling requirements for alcohol, and the IBA intends to “ensure the next phase of labelling requirements are fair, reasonable and co-designed” following the issues raised during the pregnancy warning labelling consultation.

Additionally, the IBA report announced that it would be lobbying for a national Container Deposit Scheme register, after major challenges with the set up and organisation of CDS schemes nationwide. The IBA is involved in a working group to develop the national register, and how the system can be better streamlined, as Tasmania and Western Australia gear up theirown schemes.

The CDS investigation is being undertaken by accountancy firm Deloitte with recommendations due to the Minister’s Forum in April.

The Indies in their first year as a virtual event in 2020 were a major success, said the IBA, but following some issues with the scoring matrices for the champion state breweries going back to 2019, an independent consultant has been brought in to review and make recommendations for the Indies in coming years.

The IBA is also due this year to release its 2031 vision, which is costing $300,000, and has been funded by the NSW Government, which has thrown its support behind the IBA in recent years.

Find out more about independence, sustainability, diversity and more on the Beer is a Conversation podcast with new IBA chair Richard Adamson.

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