Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pay to play?

This is an awkward one for me. Let's say I heard a story - that incentives are being sought by some pubs supplied through SIBA's DDS scheme.  Now, it's acceptable for a brewer to supply a pub with marketing materials, glassware even, to support the brewer's products which the pub has sourced through DDS.  But worryingly, I've heard (and I really can't say more than that) that some pubs are soliciting "off the books" contributions from the brewers as a condition for making orders through DDS.  These incentives may be anything from a contribution to items normally considered part of the pub's costs (over and above marketing support), to an extra cask or two delivered gratis. 

If this is truly happening - I'm appalled. Of course, I appal easily. I should really save my outrage  for more serious matters, but there you go.

If any SIBA brewers have come across this kind of thing, I'd hope that they would think very hard about reporting it officially. This kind of shit is exactly what we don't want.  DDS would become another way where larger1 businesses (who might be able to afford this kind of promotion) can deny market access to smaller2 ones (who, I guess, can't).  Anyone involved in this kind of deal should consider if there isn't a whiff of the old Bribery and Corruption about it. (note: IANAL)

You might wonder why I'm going on about this here, rather than raising the matter privately, inside SIBA.  At this point, I'm mainly interested in other people's experience. Ever heard of this? Come across it yourself? Think it's bollocks?

If anyone wants to comment in confidence, my office door is always open. (Well, it would be if the circ pump in the big chiller wasn't making such a racket)

1. or unscrupulous
2. or large, scrupulous ones