A Charter for the Future – the Next Chapter

By Jerry Avis- IBD ex-Chief Executive Officer

The Institute of Brewing & Distilling has been granted Chartered Status. This article seeks to provide general information on Chartership, the background to our petition and to answer some frequently asked questions. 

In such a rapidly changing world, the time has never been as right to promote the IBD's commitment to our profession and to recognise the endeavours of all those in pursuit of perfection in an industry that combines science, technology, art and craft.  

History – We Have a Lot of It!

In the introduction to his account of the  history of the IBD, “Brewers and Distillers by Profession[1]”  Ray Anderson notes:

“As brewing matured from a rule of thumb craft in mid Victorian Britain a new breed of Brewers emerged who sought enlightenment from science. To support these men there evolved the specialist in what became known as “brewing chemistry”. The new wave had its dissenters,  but with it came the beginnings of systemised education in brewing, aspirations towards making brewing a profession and hopes for the creation of a society  where Brewers and chemists could meet and discuss matters technical.” 

Ray’s historical account explores in depth the amalgamation of the two brewing organisations of the Incorporated Brewers Guild and the Institute of Brewing that was closely followed by the all-important inclusion of distilling and that now, together, comprise the IBD. 

Those students of our history will note that the organisation has been on the path to Chartership before and reference to “Brewers and Distillers by Profession” notes that there were two attempts by the IBG in 1927 and 1950 both of which failed and although no reason was given by the Office of the Privy Council it may have been because the IBD and the IoB were at odds over the place of examinations and training offered by both organisations.  This Institute of Brewing considered an application on its own behalf in 1927 and later in the early 1980s but neither were progressed.

These previous attempts demonstrate that the aspiration of recognising brewing and distilling as a profession has been a constant theme in our history. As a professional from either camp you are recognised as having a level of expertise and, undoubtedly, the passion for the business that goes alongside.  This knowledge may have come from a relevant qualification or from many years spent as a practitioner. In either case you are highly likely to have been helped by those who are more experienced.  Whether you are just starting on your journey or are well seasoned you will have shared in the heady combination of curiosity and generosity that are the hallmarks of brewers, distillers and allied professionals worldwide and which define your attitude to the pursuit of perfection and the mastery of your subject.

[1] Brewers and Distillers by Profession –
Raymond Gale Anderson (2012), available at

Peculiarly British and Outdated?

At this point you may well ask what chartership might bring to the IBD, whether there will be a benefit to the industry and more importantly how will it serve you as an individual to become a chartered brewer or distiller? 

Some might also observe that chartership is a peculiarly British thing, that Royal Charters go back in time over 800 years (see chartership history box) and could give rise to the impression that the Institute is being outdated, conservative or elitist.  This is very far from the case. Our industry never stops innovating and regulations never stop changing. The IBD and specifically chartership will show that your professional skills are up to date and that you keep pace with the industry to get ahead in your career.  For those working in professions where being chartered is the norm there is a clear sense of purpose and pride associated with the word – ask any chartered engineer, accountant, surveyor or architect.

To have arrived at this point in the process is to have satisfied two key criteria, one is that the IBD is pre-eminent in the field of brewing and distilling education and the second is that it is in the public interest for the Institute to be recognised as a chartered body with professionalism at its heart.  The first is relatively easy to demonstrate – over its life the Institute has delivered in excess of 40,000 qualifications to brewers and distillers worldwide.  The second criterion is satisfied through two considerations, one being the importance of providing beverages that are fit for consumption, produced in a safe and controlled manner and the second being allied to the enormous economic benefits provided by the hospitality industry and these form the basis of the wording in the draft petition.

What is a Royal Charter?

Royal Charters date back as far as the 12th century (the Weavers Company was the first in 1155 and The UK Cyber Security Council the most recent in 2021). Chartership today covers a wide range of over 1,000 recognised bodies including universities, charities and professional institutions. It is the monarch, on the advice of the Privy Council, who grants Charters. Originally, a Royal Charter was the only way to incorporate a company, whereas today new Charters are normally reserved for bodies that work in the public interest.

Although Chartership is a uniquely British institution it is something that has developed a strong global reputation and a  Royal Charter is considered a hallmark of quality and excellence for whichever profession it represents. Charters require a commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and continued learning.

The value a Royal Charter embodies is understood by the general public, which trusts Chartered professionals, recognising the dedication required to reach that level, and the commitment to high standards of knowledge and conduct. In an age when the public spotlight and external scrutiny are never far away, and consumers are more challenging than ever, being Chartered helps you stand out from the crowd. Where trust and confidence is hard to come by, a Charter symbolises the very best of a profession.

A body applying for a Charter is expected to meet a number of demanding criteria. These include the requirement that the institution should comprise members of a specific profession that are able to demonstrate a track record of achievement over a number of years.

Once a professional body is granted a Charter, it is then able to grant Chartered titles to those individuals that meet the strict qualifying criteria. This usually means that members must uphold the rules of the Charter, including complying with any Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements, and abide by a code of professional conduct. Anyone engaging with or using the services of a Chartered professional can expect that the person meets the requisite qualifications for that profession; that standards are monitored and kept up to date through CPD; and that there is a robust process in place if things go wrong.  A Chartered status is seen by professionals and the public alike as a hallmark of trust and quality.

What We Do in the Brewing and Distilling Industry is Right and Relevant

With the revitalisation of the craft through a resurgence of small independent companies and the drive of technology and innovation, the industry has not needed a trusted central body of excellence more since we started out in 1886. We can use chartership to re-establish the brand on the very foundation from which it was originally built. In doing so we will seek to support the following needs:


Our industry continues to evolve with emergent entrepreneurialism, innovation and globalisation driving up the technical and practical knowledge requirements across categories and countries. But, globally the industry lacks a consistently recognised and respected professional title.

Recognition of like-minded FELLOWSHIP, UNITED by the passion for BETTERMENT

Globalisation has revealed the shared values amongst Distillers and Brewers the world over; inspiration and innovation are crossing categories and counties like never before. But Brewing and Distilling lacks a single global home for like-minded professionals looking to share knowledge and opportunity. There will be a welcome for brewers, distillers and allied professionals who have qualified through a multitude of routes whether by certificate, diploma or degree, from the IBD, a university or academy.

A Charter for the FUTURE of Brewing and Distilling

Chartership has been respected the world over for over 800 hundred years, steeped in history, tradition and ceremony. But, it can often look backwards at history and stumble into stagnation, losing relevance, accessibility and impetus. We seek a Charter that recognises the FUTURE of our industry and supports those committed to being the best they can be in their pursuit of perfection.

“As brewing matured from a rule of thumb craft in mid-Victorian Britain a new breed of Brewers emerged who sought enlightenment from science. To support these men there evolved the specialist in what became known as “brewing chemistry”. The new wave had its dissenters, but with it came the beginnings of systemised education in brewing, aspirations towards making brewing a profession and hopes for the creation of a society where Brewers and chemists could meet and discuss matters technical.”

Being Chartered – The Benefits

Chartered status brings a number of benefits to the individual practitioner who holds the title, as well as to the professional body or organisation that holds Chartered status.

Chartered status for brewers and distillers will bring significant benefits for the industry and the sectors it supports:

  • a recognisable mark of quality, setting standards of professionalism and performance;
  • the development of a cadre of assured professionals who demonstrate excellence in the profession;
  • the opportunity to develop the best talent in the industry and address its global needs for qualified and assured brewing and distilling professionals.

For individuals and the profession, being Chartered:

  • raises the profile and value of brewing and distilling as a profession, and increases recognition of the individual;
  • offers a clear professional development route from a multitude of starting points;
  • raises awareness of brewing and distilling as a primary career choice;
  • provides parity of esteem with other professionals in other walks of life; and
  • signifies a commitment and adherence to professional and ethical conduct, providing public trust and confidence.

In summary, being professionally registered is a mark of excellence, and Chartered status offers public recognition of this. Ultimately, Chartered status provides an assurance of standards and professionalism for the public benefit.

Process – it Takes Time

Chartership is a relatively long process with a number of stages and an indeterminate timeline.  It is not unusual for the process to take three or more years.  The key stages are shown below:

  • Granting of permission to petition by the Privy Council (this was confirmed for the IBD at the beginning of 2022 and preceded by work that started in 2019).
  • Drafting: a package of Petition, draft Charter, draft Bylaws, and list of Non-Objectors is
  • Adoption by Board of draft Petition, Charter and Byelaws
  • Communication of the draft package to Council and membership with invitation for comment.
  • Extraordinary General Meeting to vote on adoption by membership of draft Petition, Charter and Byelaws – June 14th
  • Charter package delivered to Privy Council Office
  • The Privy Council will then form a Panel to consider the formal Petition and take advice from Privy Council Advisers (primarily Departments of State and Government Agencies).
  • Once advice has been received (and that can take anything from a week to several months), and it is favourable, there will be an eight weeks consultation period in the London Gazette during which time objections can be registered. If all is well, the Privy Council will recommend to the Monarch that the Great Seal should be applied so that the Charter will be granted from the date of sealing.
  • The Charter and Bylaws must be printed for the Seal to be applied by the Crown Office.  This normally takes a matter of weeks but we have been advised that, with Covid restrictions, there is a backlog of hundreds of sealings at the moment so it is a matter of months; (the Crown Office deals with many more sealings than just Charters of incorporation).  Normally the Charter is effective from the date of sealing.
  • It is then up to us when we begin to operate as a Chartered corporation once the Charter has been granted. It is usually the case that a newly Chartered corporation aligns the start of its operations with the beginning of its financial year. This also gives time to consult and prepare the Regulations (similar to the current IBD byelaws) under which the new organisation will operate.




Next Steps

By the time you read this, you will be able to read the draft Charter package and to offer your views. We will make the final draft available towards the end of May and you will be able to register your vote at the EGM on 14th June or by proxy in the weeks prior to the meeting.

If successful you will have played your part in the next chapter of the Institute’s long history to have your professional status further recognised and to benefit from more opportunities for continuous professional development across the industry, worldwide.

A number of people have contributed to coming this far on our chartership journey and I’d like to thank Stephanie Richardson, Steve Price and particularly Keith Lawrey from the Foundation for Science and Technology.