The world can sometimes be a harsh place so the best way to improve it is either to give to charity or make great beer.
Either one is a fantastically positive contribution to society, but SIBA members are in fact doing both. It polled 500 of its members and found that 84% of independent craft brewers have donated to charity in the past year.
Some are so generous they give to multiple charities and 21% have supported more than five charities in the past 12 months.
Examples abound across the UK, such as Cullercoats Brewery in Tyne & Wear, which has raised more than £30,000 in the last five years for the lifeboat charity RNLI.
Cullercoats donates 3p from every pint it sells and just reached the one million pint mark, ploughing vital funds into this life-saving charity.
‘We’re proud to have reached the £30,000 milestone, it’s been a lot of hard work but very satisfying,’ said owner and brewer Bill Scantlebury.
‘We hope our fundraising achievement helps to highlight the benefits of corporate giving through permanent charitable donations. Our aim for the future, as well as raising even more money for RNLI is to be a firm favourite for local drinkers, and publicans. We value our strong community ties and work hard to promote other local businesses and community events.’
Over in Wales, Pembrokeshire brewer Bluestone hosts an annual choir competition, which last year raised £1,100 for the Air Ambulance and Cancer Research UK. A second special event at the brewery then raised £4,400 towards treatment for a two-year-old from the community after the child was diagnosed with cancer that year.
‘Charity and community events such as these amazing fundraisers by Bluestone are constantly being organised by independent brewers across the UK and we felt it was time to shine a light on the fantastic work being done, which often goes unnoticed even to the surrounding area of the brewery,’ said SIBA managing director Mike Benner.
‘Britain’s small brewers are now a common feature of communities across Britain and are just as much a part of the local social and economic fabric of the communities they serve as pubs – creating jobs, supporting local charities and providing a place for the community to come together in the brewery tap.’
The survey results are part of a SIBA report highlighting the vital role pubs and pars play in their local communities. It said that pub closures are being offset by craft brewers opening tap rooms and brewery shops in their communities, giving locals a place to converge.
More than 30% of the 500 independent brewers that SIBA polled have a tap room or off-trade shop now, and these account for more than a quarter of their turnover.
SIBA added that its members employ two-thirds of their workforce from within a five-mile radius of their breweries, and are particularly vital to young adults.
‘On-site brewery tap rooms are popular because people love being able to drink beer direct from the source and our brewery has the added benefit of also being the location where the hops are grown and processed,’ said Sarah Saleh, Unity Brewhouse co-founder and brewer. ‘A lot of our customers are not pub goers, but love having somewhere to meet where they can share a drink with friends and neighbours.’
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