We’ve been banging on about unfined beer for years now, winning awards, converts, and probably a few enemies along the way.  I guess the old saying is true that you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.  Consumers are well on side, which is what matters most.  CAMRA has even awarded us for unfined beer, even if it isn’t official policy (yet!).  Now we’re taking our fight to what is possibly the toughest critic of all, the brewers’ association, SIBA.

Always advocates for action towards positive change, we submitted the following motion to be debated and voted on during the SIBA AGM on 7 March:

  1. That SIBA recognises that historic beer styles and modern beer drinkers do not ALL require clarity in beer.
  2. That SIBA removes clarity as a requirement for beer competitions.
  3. That SIBA proactively markets to and educates the trade and consumers on the potential benefits of hazy beer including:
  • Improved flavour
  • Improved aroma
  • Improved mouth feel
  • Vegan acceptance (where Isinglass is not used)
  • Reduced settling time
  • Reduced wastage / ullage
  • Increased demand from consumers for more natural products

The Brief Description is:

“Some haze components in beer, such as hop oils and yeast, can be beneficial to the quality, flavour, and perception of beer. All other beer producing nations have beer styles where cloudiness is an indicator of quality. Only in the UK do we actively dissuade consumers from drinking cloudy beer, primarily from a legacy of poor cellarmanship which resulted in an incorrect linkage between beer clarity and quality.

Modern consumers seek more natural products with stronger flavours and aromas. Examples outside the category include scrumpy cider, juice with bits, smoothies, etc. There is an increased perception of value when the product has goodness in it that consumers can see, taste, and feel. Beer is no different.

With large pub chains championing unfined beer, free houses increasing sales by switching to unfined beer, and CAMRA awarding medals to unfined beers over their fined counterparts, it is time that SIBA removes its traditional bias and embraces the opportunity that cloudy beer can bring.

We are not proposing that all beer is cloudy or that this is used as a measure to decrease brewing or cellaring standards. It is up to the brewery, the landlord, and the consumer to decide when cloudy beer is appropriate. But SIBA should remove its bars against cloudy beer (as it has done successfully with craft keg) and use this as a positive, proactive opportunity to engage modern drinkers, adding further excitement to the industry.”

We know there are other like minded brewers that would like to see these positive changes adopted.  It will not be an easy debate.  Strong old school opinions and prejudices are rife.  If you are a SIBA member, we passionately request that you attend the AGM to join the debate and hopefully support the motion.  If you are an eligible voting member of SIBA and can’t attend, you can nominate someone to proxy vote for you.  However, we are more likely to persuade people if we are all present and accounted for.  If you’ve got any questions or thoughts please contact me at [email protected] or 07887 556 521.  If not, I hope to see you on 7 March.

Brief description of details for discussion

Some haze components in beer, such as hop oils and yeast, can be beneficial to the quality, flavour, and perception of beer. All other beer producing nations have beer styles where cloudiness is an indicator of quality. Only in the UK do we actively dissuade consumers from drinking cloudy beer, primarily from a legacy of poor cellarmanship which resulted in an incorrect linkage between beer clarity and quality.

Modern consumers seek more natural products with stronger flavours and aromas. Examples outside the category include scrumpy cider, juice with bits, smoothies, etc. There is an increased perception of value when the product has goodness in it that consumers can see, taste, and feel. Beer is no different.

With large pub chains championing unfined beer, free houses increasing sales by switching to unfined beer, and CAMRA awarding medals to unfined beers over their fined counterparts, it is time that SIBA removes its traditional bias and embraces the opportunity that cloudy beer can bring.

We are not proposing that all beer is cloudy or that this is used as a measure to decrease brewing or cellaring standards. It is up to the brewery, the landlord, and the consumer to decide when cloudy beer is appropriate. But SIBA should remove its bars against cloudy beer (as it has done successfully with craft keg) and use this as a positive, proactive opportunity to engage modern drinkers, adding further excitement to the industry.