IBA sheds staff; postpones BrewCon

The Independent Brewers Association announced to members today that it is cutting staff and has postponed BrewCon 2020 again following the extension of lockdowns across the country.

In May, the IBA announced that BrewCon 2020 was postponed and rescheduled for 9-11th November 2020 on the Sunshine Coast.

Due to cost reductions it has to make as a result, event manager Jason Sommers and head of marketing Maryann Separovic’s roles have been made redundant, and the executive team will continue to work reduced hours until the situation changes.

The move to cut staff echoes the challenges faced by other brewing industry associations that rely on event revenue to finance their operations. In April the US Brewers Association laid off 23 per cent of staff, and then a further 17 per cent in June, including craft beer program director Julia Herz.

IBA chair Pete Philip made the announcement in an email to subscribers.

“Like most of you, the IBA has had to think long and hard about our organisation and our service model as we have not been untouched by the pandemic and subsequent recession,” Philip wrote.

“So despite our best efforts to bear the impacts through cost-saving actions we now have to implement some drastic measures and permanent staff reductions in order to ensure the survival of the Association.”

Announcing the postponement of BrewCon, Philip said he hoped members understood the decision.

“The current situation with border lockdowns and virus outbreaks means that we needed to be realistic about the ability for everyone to attend so we are moving it to August/September 2021 with the hope that the virus will be somewhat under control and to give you all time to recover enough to be able to attend.

“This is a total bummer for us as we had a great program planned and some really fun experiences at the venue. Our aim was always to come together to celebrate our resilience and to shake off the negativity that we have all experienced this year but with the uncertainty, this seems like an impossible task, particularly at a time when we are all focused on saving our businesses.”

The industry association said it is still pushing ahead with a remodelled Indies Awards with more information about what this will look like forthcoming. Brewers can enter here.

In better news, the IBA is also launching its economic impact analysis research project and is hoping to make further announcements around state-based funding.

It s also working on a new set of indie seal branding tools and guidelines for its members, and will be continuing the fight against pregnancy warning labels after it announced they would be mandated by FSANZ earlier this year.

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