Supplying the brewing, food and beverage industry.

History of the Association

History of the Association

The Association has a long and lively tradition of active campaigning on behalf of its Members and the Industry.  Below is a brief look at how the BFBi, previously the Allied Brewery Traders’ Association (ABTA) was formed.

1906:  The Liberal Party was returned to Parliament with an overwhelming majority and made no secret of its intention to introduce legislation to control the Brewing & Licenced Trades.

1907:  On 15th February a preliminary meeting of the Industrial Allies was held at Cannon Street Hotel, London.  The leaders were Montague Baird, a London and Glasgow Maltster; J Topham Richardson, a leader in the hop industry and Richard Garton, Head of a leading brewing sugar business.  A provisional committee was formed and the involved trades circularised.  Support was rapidly forthcoming and prominent engineers, including S Briggs JP, and heads of other branches of the industry gave additional support to the three early leaders.

1908:  By the end of the year Membership had increased to 1,700 firms.  However, on 3rd March 1908 the Licensing Bill was introduced in the House of Commons.  Among a gamut of sweeping changes aimed at the Brewing & Licenced Trades, its main proposal was that, at the end of 14 years, the ownership of all licenced premises should revert to the State.  Also, at the end of this term, local polls would give electors the option of voting for complete prohibition or a reduced number of licences.

ABTA distributed millions of leaflets, posters and pamphlets throughout the country, culminating in a demonstration on 29th September in Hyde Park attended by 250,000 people, including 120,000 members of the Brewing & Allied Trades.  Twenty speakers, heralded by bugles simultaneously, addressed the orderly crowd from 20 platforms, putting forward a resolution rejecting the Bill.

Such was the effect of this demonstration that the Bill received its coup de grace in the House of Lords on 27th November 1908.

Thus, the benefit of ABTA was established.   Other dates of importance during the past 100 years include:

1931:  The Chancellors budgetary proposal to increase duty on beer by 31 shillings/barrel was overturned in the budget of 1933 due to an enthusiastic ABTA Committee, led by Lieutenant Colonel Francis N Richardson.

1939:  World War II provided a fresh role for ABTA in combating the many supply problems threatening beer production.   Sir Winston Churchill was a regular speaker at the Annual Dinners.

1945:  The Association was approached by the Allied Control Commission for Germany resulting in a small team of Members visiting Allied occupied territory and producing a report which assisted the industry in its post war reconstruction.

1962:  A Joint Liaison Committee was formed with the Brewers’ Society (now the British Beer & Pub Association) to discuss matters of mutual interest.

1968:  A Joint Maker User Committee was formed with the Institute of Brewing (now the Institute of Brewing & Distilling) to co-ordinate research & development and encourage and promote the development of new ideas for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

1977:  Brewing Technology Services Limited was formed for the purpose of organising technical conferences resulting in the first UK Brewing Technology Conference in Harrogate.

1997:  Strategy Committee compiled a report on the Association and Industry, determining that the Association should extend its remit to embrace the wider beverage and food industry.

2000:  The name of the Association was changed at the AGM to the Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Association (BFBi) to better reflect the wider remit of its Members.

2003:  The Association, together with BBPA and the Brewers of Europe, secured a temporary derogation of isinglass from the Allergenic Labelling Legislation, this was later secured as a permanent derogation.

2006:  BFBi, together with the Brewers of Europe and drinks manufacturers from across Europe overturn a proposal to standardise dispense equipment across Europe to a German standard.

2007:  The Association celebrated its centenary and looked forward to the next 100 years.

2013: The Association supported CAMRA, together with APPBG, BBPA and SIBA to sucesffully lobby Governement in the removal of the Beer Duty Escalator and a cut in beer duty for the first time, it is believed, since 1959.