SIBA welcomes sponsored guide dog

14 April 2015

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) welcomed a recent visit from Siba, the guide dog whom it is sponsoring, as he nears the end of the first stage of his training.

Siba, a Labrador-Golden Retriever cross, is now 11 months old and has been living with a puppy walker in the south west, learning basic commands and becoming socialised. The next phase of the training, starting in a couple of months, will see Siba moved to one of Guide Dogs’ specialist centres for six months of formal training before being placed permanently with a new, visually impaired owner.

The sponsorship is an initiative from the organisation’s south west region, with input from Tuckers Maltings in Newton Abbot. The £10,000 given by SIBA to Guide Dogs for Siba’s training was funded by proceeds from the annual, successful Tuckers Maltings beer competition and festival, as a way of thanking the local community for its support.

SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard, who has been involved with Siba’s sponsorship from the start, said, “It was a delight to meet Siba again and see how he has changed from an uncoordinated bundle of fluff to a calmer, more responsible animal who will make a wonderful guide dog after completing his training.

“We were particularly pleased to see that Siba was happy to spend time in the Tuckers Maltings bar, and hope that he may be able to lead his eventual owner to the local pub. One of the vital roles played by guide dogs is to connect their owners with their communities and there’s surely no better place to do this than in the pub.”

Tuckers Maltings chairman Richard Wheeler said, “The Tuckers Maltings beer festival has grown into a hugely popular event, thanks to the support of beer drinkers, publicans and others across the south west. We’re pleased that SIBA chose to show their gratitude to the local community through this sponsorship and are, like them, delighted with Siba’s progress.”

In 1993, SIBA’s south west region became the first to stage a beer competition and festival. The event was held at the premises of Tuckers Maltings, who have generously hosted it ever since. Last year’s event showcased 270 draft and 150 bottled beers to around 5,000 enthusiasts. The 2015 festival runs from Thursday, 16 April to Saturday 18th.