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Legal requirements for weighing are not clear, say 88% of breweries

Legal requirements for weighing are not clear, say 88% of breweries

88% of UK breweries believe there is not enough awareness about the requirement for Trade Approved weighing scales in breweries.

However, three quarters of breweries are currently using Trade Approved weighing scales, according to a recent survey we conducted.

Earlier this year, we became aware that the need for Trade Approved scales in breweries was not as widely as understood as it should be. Despite, of course, the potential consequences of using unsuitable weighing equipment - fines in excess of £1000, and in the most extreme cases, imprisonment.

Brewery weighing survey

During 2019 a record number of breweries have been calling Marsden following a visit from either Trading Standards or SALSA, desperate to replace their non-approved weighing equipment with legal-for-trade equivalents.

A discussion with SIBA resulted in full page piece on the subject in the SIBA Journal, and we followed this with a survey submitted to over 200 breweries around the UK.

The results of the survey underlined what we expected. 88% of breweries believe that there is not enough awareness in the industry about why Trade Approved scales are needed.

The more encouraging result is that 75% of the breweries in the survey are already using Trade Approved scale. However that does leave a quarter of breweries, potentially, using unsuitable weighing equipment.

SALSA accreditation

After completing the survey, Mark Easterbrook from Pheasantry Brewery told us: “The only reason I changed my weighing scales was my understanding was raised when I did the SALSA accreditation.

“We do cask and bottle beer so it’s important we can demonstrate that we comply with current regulations.”

Other breweries highlighted the need - and inconvenience - of initially purchasing non-approved scales for one weighing task, learning about the regulations - and then having to buy a second, Trade Approved, scale - usually with a different capacity/accuracy. This could possibly be avoided if there was greater awareness of the topic.

Trading Standards visits

Craig Fisher of Sheffield Trading Standards clarified the applications where Trade Approved scales are required in breweries. “Any checks that are carried out in breweries to ensure the volume being sold is accurate, must be done using Trade Approved equipment. The weighing of ingredients to be added to the recipe however is not controlled weighing, so the scale here does not need to be Trade Approved.

“Inspectors will check brewery scales to ensure they have the correct markings if they are deemed to be used for trade.”

If you’re a brewery and you’re unsure if you should be using Trade Approved scales or not, contact Marsden. We can offer advice and guidance on the correct weighing equipment for your needs, and help you reduce the number of separate weighing scales you need to buy for your brewery.