Bitter rivalry: conflict brews as craft beer makers take on big firm

Acivil war is brewing in the normally convivial craft beer fraternity, as anxiety grows about the threat posed by multinational companies’ insatiable thirst for every last drop of the market.

Heineken and Molson Coors are both “associate members” of the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba), a situation that rankles with some of its members.

In a recent ballot on the issue, they voted 101 to 60 to end the situation, but the motion did not carry because change requires a majority of all 861 members to vote in favour, and most did not turn up to do so.

Even if the big boys of brewing are shown the door, however, misgivings will persist. Heineken and Molson along with Budweiser’s owner, AB InBev (ABI), and Carlsberg have teamed up with Siba to provide funding for the “There’s a Beer for That” campaign, an industry-wide promotional initiative.

“They should be nowhere near anything that we do as they are the complete antithesis of everything we stand for,” said Tom McNeill of Heavy Industry Brewing in Denbighshire, north Wales.

Craft beer aficionados have good reason to mistrust major brewers beyond a distaste for bland beer. Heineken is persona non grata among some pub owners after its deal to buy thousands of pubs via a takeover of Punch Taverns, a deal many fear will lead to less choice at the bar.

The Dutch company was also fined for market abuse in Greece, where it was found guilty of trying to exclude smaller competitors from the market.

Carlsberg recently muscled in on the UK craft beer scene with a deal for London Fields Brewery, and Molson has also shown an appetite for smaller rivals in the US. It’s a trend that makes indie brewers break out in a cold, barley-scented sweat.

Nor is Siba alone in hosting unlikely bedfellows. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), the collective that thumps the tub for cask ale, accepted sponsorship for its Great British Beer Festival from the delivery company Beer Hawk.

The conflict was not apparent until it became clear that Beer Hawk is owned by ABI, a company that invites perhaps more suspicion than any other among beer lovers.BI agreed a $100bn (£76bn) deal to take over its only real rival SABMiller last year but has not rested on its laurels. The company’s thirst to dominate the global beer market is nothing short of relentless, evidenced by its determination to swallow up much of what moves in the beer world.

In the UK, it is most famous for taking over Camden Town Brewery, a deal some brewers fear will ultimately diminish the brand’s quality and innovation. Camden was just the latest domino to fall in a chain of craft breweries ABI has snapped up for its High End portfolio, but its horizons stretch far further.

RateBeer is a smartphone app that lets pub-goers rate brews as they drink them, sharing reviews and bookmarking tipples they might forget in the fug of the morning after. ABI bought a minority stake earlier this year and, while there is nothing to suggest it will be able to tamper with ratings, many users are unhappy.

Their concerns are particularly acute given that ABI accounts for half of the 20 worst-rated beers on RateBeer.

It has also tightened its grip on the international supply of key ingredients. Buying SABMiller saw ABI annex vast swaths of South African hop fields that produce sought-after varieties. These will be now be diverted exclusively to “craft” brands within the ABI estate, affecting rivals’ ability to make interesting new brews.

ABI has also opened a bar in Balham under its Goose Island brand, with more UK outlets expected to follow. That puts it in direct competition not only with pubs, but also with up-and-coming British breweries which rely on income from their tap-house bars to keep going.

Concerns about ABI’s grip on larger scale distribution in the US even attracted the attention of the Department of Justice, which forced the company to stop practices limiting the ability of smaller rivals to distribute their wares.

Practices like these make it easy to understand why craft brewers might see their larger rivals as an existential threat. Some now feel that those who are supposed to represent their interests are increasingly complicit in the big brewers’ efforts to choke off or co-opt the so-called craft beer revolution.

Siba and Camra might well look at the history of revolutions and remember that it doesn’t always end well for their leaders.


Nobel prize in economics awarded to Richard Thaler

University of Chicago academic described as a pioneer of behavioural economics whose work had made a ‘profound impact’



The 2017 Nobel prize in economics has been awarded to the US academic Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago for his contribution to behavioural economics.

The prize, worth 9m Swedish kroner (£845,000), is not among the Nobel Foundation’s official awards for literaturepeacemedicinephysics and chemistry, but was established separately by Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank, in memory of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences described Thaler as a pioneer of behavioural economics, which had progressed in recent years from a fringe and somewhat controversial field of research into a mainstream component of the economics profession.

He is a leading proponent of “nudge theory”, a concept of behavioural science that suggests small interventions in the environment, or incentives, can encourage people to make different decisions. Thaler co-authored a book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, with the US professor Cass Sunstein, which brought the subject to a wider audience in 2008.

The prize-givers said his research was often cited in marketing literature, while his insights helped people recognise marketing tricks and avoid bad economic decisions. They said his work had made a “profound impact on many areas of economic research and policy”.

Skills service provides support and funding

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) skills service provides support and funding for training to small/medium sized businesses in Calderdale and throughout the region. Over £100,000 has been awarded to Calderdale businesses to help identify training needs, support with skills planning and provide funding towards training costs. Grants of between £500 and £50,000 are available to eligible businesses and over 40 Calderdale businesses have been successful in securing funding. Funding is time limited and businesses are encouraged to contact the skills service to see how they can benefit. Call 0113 386 1910, email or find out more:

Case study-


A grant from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has helped a manufacturer of trademarked safety barriers expand its business.
The grant of over £1,500 from the LEP’s skills service is being used by Calderdale-based A-Safe (UK) Ltd to provide specialised accountancy training to new and existing staff, as the company plans to expand the financial administration facilities of its global headquarters.
A-SAFE UK, which invented and manufacturers fixed polymer safety barriers, supplies its products to some of the world’s largest organisations including Jaguar, Nestlé and Coca-Cola. Amongst the company’s product offering are barriers for pedestrian walkways, airport apron protection and car parks.

As the company continues to grow, the skills service from the LEP is enabling A-SAFE UK to introduce more accountants into the business, and train them with skills that are specialised to the industry.
Adrian Banks, finance director of A-SAFE, said: “The LEP has encouraged us to invest faster and increase our product range, which has meant that it’s possible to employ more people. As our plans for 2016 are to expand even further, we’re aware that we need to put a foundation in place that will support our international sites.

Adrian continued: “With the skills service, our expansion plans for next year are becoming a reality as we’ll be able to train new staff in accountancy that’s specialised to our needs. I was pleasantly surprised at how straight forward it was to apply to the LEP’s skills service, and it was easy to guarantee I received the funding that I needed.
We’re delighted that we could provide A-SAFE with the funding that the business needs for the next stage of its expansion plan.”
Mark Ridgway, LEP Board member and chair of the skills service management board, said: “With grants of between £500 and £50,000 available to businesses with a budget to put towards training, employers have the opportunity to work with a team of expert skills advisors, discuss their long term growth plans and skills needs, and put together a robust training plan for their staff.
“Offering a comprehensive service to businesses, the team of advisors support employers to tackle paperwork, source appropriate training provision and submit an application for funding. The LEP is dedicated to ensuring local businesses primed for growth have the skills to succeed.”
As part of the LEP’s wider ambitions to invest in business growth, the skills service can support up to 50% of training costs for eligible businesses throughout the Leeds City Region.

ORCHARD Facilities Management

ORCHARD Facilities Management staff at Elland base.

ORCHARD Facilities Management staff at Elland base.

ORCHARD Facilities Management has bought Independence House, one of Huddersfield’s landmark commercial properties, which it intends to use as a space to nurture start-up businesses.

The three storey Victorian property on Halifax Road has been acquired by Orchard Facilities Management and its charitable arm Henderson Firstfruits and will become Orchard’s UK headquarters as it expands its presence nationally over the next five years.

Orchard Facilities Management works with businesses nationwide looking after their complete facilities management portfolios including waste management, IT managed services, pest control, maintenance and compliance.

It currently employs 30 people at its current premises in Elland and is set to create a further 18 jobs in the next three years.

Russell Dean planning permission granted

russell dean store

A flood-hit furniture store in Mytholmroyd is to be rebuilt on stilts after plans were passed by council bosses.

Russell Dean is to stay but with the building lifted further off the ground to make it more resilient after it was hit by severe flooding in December 2015 when the River

The plans have been agreed by Calderdale Council’s planning committee and include a partial demolition of the existing structure and construction of a three-storey retail building.

The £3m works will begin shortly and the new store is planned to open on Boxing Day, exactly two years after the floods hit the village.

£8.5m digital support programme launches for Leeds SMEs

The £8.5m Digital Enterprise Programme is launching today to support digital businesses in the Leeds City Region to grow.Up to £5,000 per business is available to invest in new technologies or advance their digital skills. It can also be used to upgrade websites, enhance digital connections or acquire new hard or software.

This support is available to business through the LEP’s growth service.

The programme is part-funded by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 – 2020 and will be managed by Leeds City Council.

Roger Marsh OBE, chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “Possessing intel on the latest digital technologies and skills is not only relevant to those working within the digital sector, but fast becoming essential to any businesses looking to target new customers and improve their productivity by becoming more efficient.

“This exciting product adds to the growing amount of business support available via the LEP business growth service, a single point of contact for tailored business support. It will help SMEs in all our key sectors become more digitally savvy in their day to day activities. With grant funding also available to invest in new software and website upgrades, businesses will be supported to de-risk investments that can have a great impact on their bottom line.”

Cllr James Lewis, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council added: “A recent IPPR North report into the role of SMEs in building a digital powerhouse highlights that small businesses often see investment in new digital technology as risky because of the costs and time involved, particularly as many small businesses are likely to be extremely time poor. This new business support aims to take away some of that risk and help save time. With financial support available and a hands on approach from our digital advisers businesses will be supported to find the right support to help them grow.”

Businesses in the region have expressed a demand for this type of business support and this informed the bid for European Funding to establish the programme.

Mark Ambler, managing director of Blue Logic Computers, based in Leeds, said: “The Digital Enterprise Programme offers a real incentive for small businesses to upgrade their digital and ICT capabilities supported by a voucher. Many businesses may have been considering investing in a range of digital solutions to help them grow and create jobs and so the launch of the Digital Enterprise scheme offers them that push to get on and do it.
The Strategic Economic Plan for Leeds City Region sets an ambition for an additional 15,000 digital jobs to be created by 2025.

£10,000 Grants available

cffc and cmbc


Community Foundation for Calderdale have partnered with Calderdale Council to launch new Business Enhancement Grants for businesses who have recovered from the Boxing Day floods and are now ready to grow.

The deadline for the first round of applications is Friday 31 March 2017. Applications will then go through an approval process based on the criteria set out in the application form.

Before applying please familiarise yourself with our Grant Acknowledgement Requirements Booklet. CLICK HERE 

Since the floods, the Council and the Community Foundation have continued to provide intensive support to businesses to help them get back on their feet. The Council has paid out more than £4 million in grants and Business Rates discounts so far for immediate flood recovery and future resilience, and the Community Foundation has awarded over £600,000 through the Calderdale Flood Fund.

Now that over 90% of affected businesses are fully operational again, the Council and the Community Foundation are offering further financial support to businesses which have recovered from the floods and are in a position to start planning for growth.

Businesses can apply for a Business Enhancement Grant of up to £10,000 each to invest in their expansion, which could include buying new machinery or premises, developing their current premises or taking on new staff or apprentices.

Interested businesses can contact the Council at or on 01422 392222 for more information and an application form. The deadline for the first round of applications is Friday 31 March 2017. Applications will then go through an approval process based on the criteria set out in the application form, decisions on funding will be made by CMBC and Community Foundation.

Business Support

Did you know the LEP are launching a new business support programme?

Find out more on their website 

business lep

The Real Cider Co. – Cider of the Month

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The Grammar School, Hipperholme

grammar logo

Hipperholme Grammar School’s Annual Speech & Awards Night

“The annual Senior School Speech and Awards Night is the most prestigious event in Hipperholme Grammar School’s calendar. It was an honour for the School to hold this evening once again at Bradford Cathedral yesterday evening. Around seventy prizes and even more certificates were awarded to pupils for their outstanding efforts and achievements in the academic year 2013 – 14. Former and current pupils, their proud parents, teachers and guests were present at the Cathedral to applaud and celebrate their success. A Level and GCSE certificates were also presented to last year’s examination candidates.

The evening began with a warm welcome from Residentiary Canon at the Cathedral, The Revd Canon Sam Corley. Guest of Honour at this year’s event was Mrs Margaret Denton, Honorary Life Member of the Independent Schools Association and recently retired Headteacher, who was asked to present the prizes to the students. Mrs Denton also spoke to the students and their families. She reflected on the School’s Motto, ‘Doctrina Fortior Armis’ (The Pen is Mightier than the Sword) and that this is as relevant in today’s turbulent world as it was when the School was endowed in 1648 during the English Civil Wars.

Form prizes and GCSE and A level subject prizes were awarded for merit and achievement to last year’s students from Year 7 through to Year 13. The R B Jones Prize for Chemistry was presented to Year 13 student James Brown. The Jack Wilkinson Prize for English was received by Year 13 Rebecca Firth and the Kath Atkinson Award for Sports Studies was awarded to Stephanie Teale. Both R B Jones and Jack Wilkinson are former Heads of Department at the School.

Rotary Club Prizes were kindly donated by Brighouse Rotary Club and presented by Chair of Governors Mr Chris Redfearn on behalf of the Rotary President Elect, Mr Tony Perryman, to three pupils: Jarred Bland, Sophie Godlington and Christy Ellis. These prizes were awarded for ‘Service above Self’, ‘Outstanding Personal Effort’ and ‘Achievement in the Face of Adversity’.

In addition, the Chairman’s Prize was awarded to last year’s Head Boy and Girl, Oliver Firth and Marianne Suddards. There was also a special Headmaster’s Prize awarded to Laura Godlington.

In addition to the awards, pupils, families and guests enjoyed a wide variety of performances and presentations given by pupils from different departments, including School Council, House and Sports reports, poetry recitals and music from the School Choir.

Headmaster Jack Williams congratulated all the students on an extremely busy and fulfilling School year, and this year’s Head Boy and Girl Kane Butler and Abigail Phillips reflected on their time at Hipperholme Grammar School.

The evening concluded with everyone singing the School Song Carmen Hipperholmiense in Latin, which is sung by the whole School every Monday morning in Assembly!

Hipperholme Grammar School would like to thank Brighouse Rotary Club for donating prizes as well as the families of Jack Wilkinson and Kath Atkinson and the Trustees of R. B. Jones.


Headmaster Jack Williams, Guest of Honour Margaret Denton and Chair of Governors Chris Refearn.


Prize winners current Year 8 Hannah Coe, Jarred Bland and year 12 Lydia Chin with Headmaster Mr Williams

For more information: Sue Oliver, Marketing Manager, Hipperholme Grammar School

T: 01422 202256