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.

  • https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/09/bitter-rivalry-conflict-brews-as-craft-beer-makers-take-on-big-firms

Town twinning: Visits from Todmorden’s two twin towns

Our coach of 43 adults and children was warmly welcomed by our Roncq hosts, despite the late hour (we missed the designated ferry).

ADVERTISING After a free day with our host families, we drove to the historic town of Guise, to learn of a fascinating social experiment, founded in 1846 by Jean Baptiste Godin. Godin was a ‘Utopianist’ philanthropist who channeled the profits from his cast-iron manufacturing business into building the “Familistère” or Social Palace to house his workers – three huge four-story, rectangular blocks of family apartments, each block with a large, glassed-in central courtyard where children could play in bad weather and to encourage ‘social sympathy’ among the inhabitants. This ‘palace’ is set in parkland but within a short distance of the factory.

The site also provided creches, schools, a theatre, shops with goods at minimal mark-up, a cafeteria, swimming pool, communal laundry, allotments, it was in fact, a worker’s utopia. In 1880 Godin completed his vision by converting his project into a co-operative society, to be owned by the workers themselves. The Society survived two world wars and was only wound up in 1968. An amazing man! During our visit we also toured a museum showcasing historic crafts and artifacts; a garden centre and a snail farm where we learned how to breed, prepare, cook and, yes, eat them.

Our visit to Roncq concluded with a social evening together, with food, music and bonhomie. A little less than a month later, it was our turn to host a group of some 40 town-twinners from our twinned town of Bramsche. They arrived in Todmorden on Saturday evening, just in time for (some) to be whisked off to the Town Hall to enjoy an excellent opera-themed concert given jointly by Todmorden Orchestra and Choral Society. On the free day on Sunday, most were entertained by the wonderful Hand Made Puppet Parade in Hebden Bridge during the day and an evening at the Golden Lion, listening to an accompanying band from Bramsche.

Monday saw a walk around Aysgarth Falls in the sunshine where some of the younger german participants were hardy enough to strip off and swim. Then it was shopping and fish and chips in Skipton on the way home. The following day the group visited Cliffe Castle in Keighley and then Haworth where they learned about the Brontes. In the evening we hosted our social evening at the Fielden Centre with an excellent buffet from Ham Corner, music and dancing. Wednesday brought non-stop rain sadly.

Fortunately the organised trip was to the Armories in Leeds with a chance to shop but the visitors were decidedly damp by the time they returned to Todmorden. The group had an early departure on Thursday, intending to spend the day at Bridlington before catching the boat from Hull. However, the weather thought otherwise so I hope there was a Plan B.

Despite the bad weather of the last days, it was judged to have been a very successful trip and we look forward to our return visit to Bramsche next year.

http://www.todmordennews.co.uk/news/town-twinning-visits-from-todmorden-s-two-twin-towns-1-8643549

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 skills@the-lep.com or find out more: www.the-lep.com/skillsservice

Case study-

Calderdale_M_E_-_A_SAFE

BARRIER MANUFACTURER EXPANDS WITH LEP INVESTMENT
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.

CONTINUED GROWTH
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.

BOOSTING EMPLOYMENT THROUGH TRAINING
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.

Helping first time buyers onto the property ladder

blog 6First-time buyers in Calderdale are invited to an open day to find out about affordable ways to get on the property ladder. The focus is on ‘shared ownership’ and Calderdale Council is working with local housing providers to encourage more people in the borough to take up this option. Shared ownership schemes are mainly aimed at first-time buyers who are struggling to pay for a mortgage on 100 per cent of a home. Instead they buy a share of their new home, starting at 25 per cent, and pay a discounted rent on the remaining share. There is the option to buy a bigger share later on. Councillor Daniel Sutherland, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for planning, housing and environment, said: “Shared ownership is a great way to get a stake in a home when you can’t afford or can’t borrow enough to buy outright. Giving more people access to affordable homes is a key part of our priority to reduce inequalities in Calderdale.” A new shared ownership housing scheme in Southowram was completed by St Vincent’s Housing Association last December. Rachel O’Connor, Development Manager for St Vincent’s said: “St Vincent’s has a long history of working with the Council to provide affordable housing solutions in the borough. The new homes at New Street represent a fantastic opportunity for local people to buy a quality home at a reasonable price.” People can find out more about shared ownership through an open day at the scheme, at New Street, Southowram, on Saturday, February 25, from 10am until 12 noon. To register your place on the open day, call the housing association on 0161 772 2120.

Read more at: http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/news/politics/helping-first-time-buyers-onto-the-property-ladder-1-8389376

ROKT raise their game

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Work has begun on what is believed to be the UK’s highest man-made outdoor climbing wall. Higher than both the Tower of London and the Angel of the North, the towering ROKTFACE wall at ROKT climbing centre in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, will see people climb routes up to 36 metres. The climbing wall will be created on one of the faces of a sky-scraping disused flour silo, which sits alongside the Calder and Hebble canal. Around 2,500 anchors are being drilled to create up to 28 unique routes. The £75,000 project is being led by ROKT climbing centre in partnership with Calderdale Council to help raise the profile and participation of healthy activity as well as tourism for the area.

It will give daredevils views of up to around 20 miles across Yorkshire when completed in spring. Bosses hope it could create around 10 new jobs. Euan Noble, ROKT’s commercial director, said: “ROKTFACE will give people of almost all climbing abilities the chance to effectively climb into the clouds and go higher than ever before. Thanks to our partnership with Calderdale Council, we’re turning dreams into reality. “We opened six years ago with a dream of creating something different and inclusive – for climbers of all ages and abilities – and this is another step towards that. “On Boxing Day 2015, we were under several feet of water and some thought ROKT wouldn’t survive. Just over a year on we are bigger, better and stronger than ever thanks to our customers and the community.

 

Read more at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/work-begins-on-highest-climbing-wall-in-uk-1-8378540

 

Bridge reopens a year after flooding demolishes it

 

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Elland Bridge which was devastated by the Boxing Day Floods and had to be demolished has finally re-opened to vehicles. The Canal & River Trust and Calderdale Council worked on the project to rebuild the bridge and this morning the first vehicle made its away across the structure.

 

Coun Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council said: “This is a hugely important day for Elland. The community has been incredibly resilient since the devastating floods, but we know that everyone has been eager to see the bridge fully open. Now that we’ve reached this major milestone the community can start to properly get back on its feet. “The Council and the Canal & River Trust have worked extremely hard to reach this stage, as we know how important the bridge is for residents, businesses, commuters and tourism. The rebuilt bridge will be much stronger and more flood resilient, whilst preserving most of the original historic features, and it will serve the community well for many years to come.”

A minibus carried people from all parts of the Elland community, from business people and community groups to school students and nursery children, as onlookers gathered to cheer them on. Elland C of E Junior and Infant School choir sang the song that they had written about Elland Bridge.

 

Simon Bamford, director of asset delivery for the Canal & River Trust, said: “We couldn’t be happier that the main road works have been completed and that local people can once again drive over Elland Bridge. This has been a complicated and challenging project but the local community have shown great patience and understanding and we’re very grateful for their support. “With the road now open we’ll be focussing on completing the remaining works at canal level, building the new towpath underneath the bridge and repairing the canal bed which was damaged during the floods. The whole project is expected to be finished by March.”

 

The newly-rebuilt Elland Bridge re-opened to pedestrians and cyclists in mid-January after being out of action for more than a year. However, construction workers suffered some setbacks which forced the Council and the Trust to delay the full re-opening by a month. There have been complications with installing essential cables and pipes for utilities and the cold and wet temperatures caused problems laying waterproof material to the bridge. The rebuilding of the bridge is being financed through the Department for Transport flood recovery fund.

 

Local Soap Co comes up smelling of roses

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Local Soap company Yorkshire Soap Co is celebrating after experiencing its best ever trading period, despite being hit by the winter floods of 2015.

The Yorkshire Soap Company employs 65 staff and has premises in Leeds, Beverley, Knaresborough, two stores in York as well as the original Hebden Bridge site.

Two years ago the Hebden Bridge store was hit by floods with nearly all the stock destroyed. However, soap base manufacturer Stephenson Personal Care came to the rescue.The Horsforth-based firm delivered nine pallets of emergency soap base material free of charge which Mr Warren and Mr Doyle were able to turn into £10,000 worth of saleable stock, effectively keeping them afloat.

Helping to boost cash flow through an innovative type of funding that helps you access the money you’ve already earned, but have not yet received

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The LEP has partnered with Market Invoice to help fund local businesses, using their outstanding invoices. You can get an advance from £5,000 up to £3 million.

The LEP is working with MarketInvoice to help fund local businesses. They say “Together, we’re helping to boost cash flow through an innovative type of funding that helps you access the money you’ve already earned, but have not yet received”.

If you issue invoices for goods and services that you’ve delivered and need to wait for them to get paid, we can help you get access to much needed funds faster. Using MarketInvoice, you can get an advance of up to 90% of the face value of your invoices and have the money in your account within 24 hours.

The LEP is funding invoices owed to businesses based in the Leeds city region through the MarketInvoice platform. If you’d like to benefit from this funding, please visit: www.marketinvoice.com/financing/lep

Grants of between £10,000 and £250,000

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Grants are available for small and medium-sized businesses in Calderdale, looking to grow their business and create new jobs.

Businesses can use the funding for capital investment in fit-out and refurbishment of buildings, plant, machinery and equipment, creating permanent jobs in the Leeds City Region.

 

  • Your project must create permanent new jobs in the Leeds City Region (which covers the local authority areas of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York).
  • You must have private finance available: either your own, from a bank, or other commercial finance to invest alongside (please note: the minimum total project cost is £50,000 – therefore you must have at least £40,000 of private sector finance to invest).
  • For every £1 of LEP funding sought, you must be able to provide at least £4 of private sector investment.
  • Projects must support the City Region’s key growth sectors: specifically life sciences and related industries, digital and creative industries, low carbon and environmental industries, manufacturing and financial and business services.

 

To find out more Email BusinessGrowth@the-lep.com

Calderdale firm train staff for innovative thinking

Calderdale based Falconer Print and Packaging Ltd. has taken the next steps towards its business growth goals by investing in their workforce and training their staff. Falconer approached the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through their membership organisation the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) to take advantage of the support and funding offered by the skills service.

The BPIF helps their members access grants from the LEP growth programmes to meet a variety of needs from capital investment to training, through finding the relevant contact and assisting with the required application. Through the LEP skills service, businesses can work with a skills advisor to identify appropriate training provision, gain support to create and implement a training plan, and eligible businesses can get funding to support with training costs.

Falconer design and manufacture packaging for a variety of products including cosmetics, giftware, drinks, luxury confectionery and healthcare brands. They also produce a wide range of pharmaceutical packaging with in line braille. They have ambitious growth plans including increasing turnover by  5-10 percent year on year, in turn creating additional job opportunities in sales, pre-press and within operations on the shop floor. They are also planning to grow the business by tapping into new markets. This includes plans to expand into luxury packaging, as well as geographically growing by increasing the exporting element of the company.

The business was successful in securing funding for 11 staff to undertake a management and sales development program. Following on from their initial application, Falconer were awarded additional funding for both Managers and Officers to complete management development workshops, and have received overall grant funding of £12,500 which they have invested in their workforce in order to grow the business.

Calderdale based Falconer Print and Packaging Ltd. has taken the next steps towards its business growth goals by investing in their workforce and training their staff. Falconer approached the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through their membership organisation the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) to take advantage of the support and funding offered by the skills service.

The BPIF helps their members access grants from the LEP growth programmes to meet a variety of needs from capital investment to training, through finding the relevant contact and assisting with the required application. Through the LEP skills service, businesses can work with a skills advisor to identify appropriate training provision, gain support to create and implement a training plan, and eligible businesses can get funding to support with training costs.

Falconer design and manufacture packaging for a variety of products including cosmetics, giftware, drinks, luxury confectionery and healthcare brands. They also produce a wide range of pharmaceutical packaging with in line braille. They have ambitious growth plans including increasing turnover by  5-10 percent year on year, in turn creating additional job opportunities in sales, pre-press and within operations on the shop floor. They are also planning to grow the business by tapping into new markets. This includes plans to expand into luxury packaging, as well as geographically growing by increasing the exporting element of the company.

The business was successful in securing funding for 11 staff to undertake a management and sales development program. Following on from their initial application, Falconer were awarded additional funding for both Managers and Officers to complete management development workshops, and have received overall grant funding of £12,500 which they have invested in their workforce in order to grow the business.

John Sherwood, Commercial Director of Falconer explains “we anticipated some significant changes to personnel within the organisation which meant that our newer managers needed to be brought up to speed. We also wanted to encourage a culture of innovative thinking to create a more efficient, productive way of working and continue to grow the customer base as well as building on existing external relationships. The training was tailored to support the strategic plans for the company and has enabled us to move forward with our plans to expand and reach new customers. It has also allowed staff to identify and grow target sectors against specific goals, and given us a new way of thinking, ensuring all our activity links back to our value proposition and business aims.

“It’s very important to us to continue to invest in growing our business, and we are currently planning to submit an additional application to the LEP skills service focussing on strategic management and leadership training.”

Through the LEP skills service 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. Businesses can also apply for grants of between £500 and £50,000 to contribute towards their training costs in some cases attracting funding for up to 50% of training costs.

The funding is time limited and applications must be submitted by 31st March 2017.

To find out if your business is eligible for skills support and funding, please contact the team on skills@the-lep.com or 0113 386 1910.

www.the-lep.com