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Mark Baird hosts first official engagement as new SBPA president


The Scottish Beer & Pub Association’s new President, Diageo’s Mark Baird – who succeeded HEINEKEN’s David Paterson – has held his first official engagement in the role.

The evening saw the SBPA and joint-host, Gordon MacDonald MSP welcome Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), their staff, journalists and industry stakeholders to the Kilderkin pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, to celebrate beer and pubs in the country, at the packed-out event.

In his speech, Mark highlighted the importance of the industry, not only to Scotland’s economy but also to its heritage, culture and identity. He repeated SBPA calls for greater support for the industry, highlighting the recent record investment by SBPA members in their operations in Scotland. 

New SBPA President Mark Baird comments:

“I am delighted to be taking on this role and this was a fantastic event to kick it off. Scotland faces many policy challenges and our sector plays a central role in the Scottish economy, with almost 60,000 Scottish jobs reliant on beer and pubs. Our challenge is to ensure that the priorities of Scottish brewing and pubs remain at the top of the policy agenda.

“The event last week at Kilderkin did exactly that, allowing our members a chance to directly communicate with MSPs in a relaxed environment, while also serving as a networking event. Holding the event outside the Scottish Parliament campus and in a pub also allowed us to showcase the industry at its best, and served as a literal example of the investment by the industry.

“It’s also important to note the huge contribution that former President David Paterson has made over the last two years. In that time, the industry and association has gone through immeasurable changes. David’s leadership has been a key driver in getting the association and industry into the position it is today.”

Former SBPA President David Paterson comments:

“Mark is already well known to stakeholders across the on and off trade and brings a great deal of expertise to the role of President.  It’s been a real pleasure working with him over the past few years and I know that he has a strong agenda going forward to showcase the positive impact of beer and pubs across Scotland.  He will play an important role in bringing all those with an interest in our great industry together to focus on the real issues during these uncertain times.  I congratulate Mark and we all very much look forward to working with him as our new SBPA President.”

Campaign for beer duty cuts moves up a gear in Scotland, with new postcard campaign.

SBPA post card

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association has teamed up with CAMRA and SIBA to call for Scottish support to reduce the beer duty burden on Scotland’s pubs, The organisations are distributing postcards via the Scottish Licenced Trade news today.

Publicans can send it off to their local MP to show how important a reduction in beer duty is to the prosperity of the Scottish pub trade, particularly at a time when there are a wide range of other pressures affecting licensees.

The postcard calls on Scottish Parliamentarians to write to the Chancellor, George Osborne, ahead of the 2016 Budget on 16th March, asking for a further one penny in duty off a pint.

The last three Budgets have seen three consecutive, one penny cuts following the end of the beer duty escalator, which saw beer taxes rise by a staggering 42 per cent, from 2008 to 2013.

This has brought great benefits, with a pub pint now estimated to be 20 pence cheaper than it would have been under previous tax policy.  It has also boosted employment in pubs by 19,000 across the UK including over 1,300 in Scotland.

The postcard also highlights the huge discrepancy between the duty paid by Scots and other beer drinkers in Europe. Scots pay a huge 52 pence per pint, compared to just 4 pence in Germany and Spain.

Analysis from 2013 showed that beer drinkers in Scotland paid more in beer duty than the whole of Spain and more than twice that of the Czech Republic, the world’s biggest per capita beer drinker – at over £300 million per year.

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, Scottish Beer & Pub Association, says:

“This is a great campaign that the whole industry can get behind. On line readers can get involved too, via ‘email your MP’ tools from the BBPA at and CAMRA. The more people in Scotland who back the campaign, the better the chance of a historic, fourth cut in beer duty.”

Scottish Beer & Pub Association comments on first anniversary of change in drink drive laws

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Commenting on the first anniversary of the change in the drink drive laws in Scotland, Brigid Simmonds Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said:

“We welcome any reduction in drink driving, but there is no doubt that the changes have put pressure on pubs, particularly in rural areas.

“We would like both the UK and the Scottish Governments to help pubs in other ways, with strong support for further reductions in beer duty during this Parliament, and tackling the huge business rates burden faced by community and high street pubs, including further extension of the Small Business Bonus Scheme, and support for a new rate of VAT on pub and restaurant meals.

Scottish Beer & Pub Association seeking senior adviser

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association is seeking a senior adviser to engage with stakeholders on key industry issues. The SBPA is part of the British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing the interests of the brewing and pub sectors in the UK.

Based in Edinburgh, the role will entail developing and maintaining strong relationships with the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government as well as local and trade media. Working closely with colleagues in London and industry members, the senior adviser will also provide support and advice on briefings, position papers, consultation responses and media queries as appropriates

Key duties will include:

  • Representing the industry in the political arena, with particular focus on the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government but also including Scottish MPs on wider UK matters
  • Delivering a focused public affairs contact programme
  • Working closely with colleagues in supporting the work of the Association’s Executive Committee
  • Representing the industry in meetings and on working groups with external stakeholders as appropriate
  • Building press and media relations particularly local and trade press
  • Advising and inputting on Association submissions to the Scottish Government and other related stakeholder consultations

The role would suit an experienced public affairs professional, ideally with existing strong links with the Scottish Government and Parliament and with the ability to develop these further. Excellent communication and relationship building skills are an absolute must as is the ability to work remotely but as part of close-knit team managing a very busy agenda. A positive “can do” attitude is key as is genuine desire in promoting what is a vibrant and diverse brewing and pub sector in Scotland.

The salary will be dependent on skills and experience but is likely to be in the region of £40,000 – £45,000 (pro-rata) plus benefits. Initially the role will on a one-year fixed term contract 3-4 days per week and be largely field-based. The closing date for applications is Friday 27th November 2015. To apply, please send email your CV with a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the position to Pamela Bates. Email Alternatively call Pamela on 0207 627 9173 for further information.