Independent brewers have reported a 9.7% rise in beer volumes in the past year, while the number of people employed full time in the sector has risen 25% to 4,000. That’s according to a survey of 264 members of the Society of Independent Brewers’ (SIBA) for the group’s Local Beer Report 2012. More than two-thirds (68%) of SIBA members said they have had to increase brewing capacity since starting their business, while 41% have had to relocate their premises at least once to satisfy demand. In total, 65% implemented major capital investment of between £20,000 and £100,000 during 2011 SIBA argues that independent brewers employ more people relative to their size than their larger equivalents. Small brewers employ one person for every 500 hectolitres produced, compared to one per 3,000 hl in larger breweries, SIBA said. “Within the brewing industry as a whole, every job in a brewery creates, on average, an estimated 21 further jobs in pubs and other parts of the beer supply chain,” SIBA said. SIBA is using its report to argue for the Government to act to help the sector, such as by abolishing the alcohol duty escalator, reducing the headline rate of beer duty, and reducing VAT for the on-trade. It also wants the qualifying limit for Small Brewers Relief, the tax breaks for smaller brewers, to be increased to include all brewers eligible under EU law, while the lower threshold should be increased. SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock said: “Local brewers’ ability to create jobs is surely a strong argument for Government to continue its support for the sector. “The Government appears to want its cake and eat it, but the truth is that a flourishing local brewing sector, making a sustainable contribution to local and national economies, has to go hand in hand with a similarly prospering pub industry.”