Memorandum submitted by Jeff Rosenmeier
My name is Jeff Rosenmeier and I started Lovibonds
Brewery Ltd in Henley-on-Thames in June 2005. I did not come from
the beer business originally, so we started very small which enabled
us to do some market research without a lot of risk. We currently
produce between 7-14 hl/week. I would like to explain what I discovered
to be my local market. I am a very frustrated local business man,
so I hope you appreciate and take on board the dire state of affairs
that this tied or managed pub system is causing for craft brewers
There is a strong brewing tradition in Henley-on-Thamesthe
town is dotted with extinct malthouses and old brewery buildings.
With the departure of Brakspears in 2002 we thought that surely
we would have a market opportunity. Below is a list of the traditional
pubs within the centre of Henley:
|The Horse and Groom||Greene King
|The Argyll||Greene King
|The Catherine Wheel||Wetherspoons
|The White Hart||Brakspear
|The Rose and Crown||Brakspear
|The Queens Head||Brakspear
|The Bull Inn||Brakspear
|The Three Tuns||Brakspear
|The Three Horseshoes||Brakspear
|The Saracen's Head||Brakspear
|The Row Barge||Brakspear
|The Bird in Hand||Free House
Out of 15 pubs, only one of these are able to purchase our
beer. The others within pub company ties will not be able to take
our beer, even though the person running the pub would love to.
Each of these pub's landlords are forced (in their lease terms)
to buy their beer (this also includes wine, spirits and soft drinks)
through an approved wholesaler.
This type of market suppression for the craft brewer is not
limited to Henley-on-Thames, but can be found throughout Britain.
There are now 600 or so craft brewers like myself whose growth
is stifled in these market conditions.
I do not believe that the Government should allow the brewing
and pubco industry to self-police their actions as they have already
been allowed to effectively stop free trade in the beer business.
If you look at the above list of pubs, all of them (bar the free
house) has a distribution contract with Scottish and Newcastle,
meaning that 80% or more of their beer trade comes from 1 very
large producer. In my mind, this perfect monopoly has been created
in the beer industry due to the government's laissez-faire
attitude and it is time for action.
We would love to trade with all of the above establishments,
allowing us to grow sustainably within the community. Instead,
we have to travel further a field to find those that are permitted
to buy from us. I'm unsure how you write legislation around it,
but I would like to see anyone who owns a pub be allowed to trade
with all producers within a local market (say 30 mile radius).
At one time Henley-on-Thames supported more than five breweries
within the village limits|today, given the market that I have
discovered, we are finding it hard to keep our one alive.
29 September 2008