Brewery Numbers Highest in 70 Years

Pint of real ale - Brewery numbers are at their highest in 70 yearsWhilst pub closures have been a concern in recent years, data from the CAMpaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) points to a resurgence in British breweries.

According to CAMRA’s annual Good Beer Guide 2013, there are now 1,009 breweries in the United Kingdom with as many as 158 of those breweries opening in the last year alone. The recent rise in brewing establishments is the greatest rate of increase in the Guide’s 40 year history.

The total figure is the highest number of breweries in the UK in 70 years and is more double the number just a decade ago. The number reached an all time low in 1982 when there were just 200 breweries in the UK.

However, the group says that almost 10,000 pubs have closed over the last 10 years.

Looking at the recent record number of UK breweries, CAMRA points to growth in the number of micro breweries, those that brew small batches of beer, although Roger Protz, the editor of the Good Beer Guide, said the term micro brewery might be a misnomer;

“A double dip recession has done nothing to halt the incredible surge in the number of brewers coming on stream, making the small brewing sector surely one of the most remarkable UK industry success stories of the last decade. In fact, the boom in new breweries has, in many cases, made the term ‘micro’ obsolete, with some small brewers having become remarkably large, installing new equipment or doubling production to keep up with demand.”

Speaking about the resurgence of breweries, Protz added that there is now a ratio of around 50 pubs for each brewery in the UK and that pubs can capitalise on the business opportunities presented to them;

“[T]here is a big opportunity to tap into this exciting market and work with a local brewery. In many cases, a pub serving quality real ale at the bar is an indicator of quality in other areas of the business, and this is apparent with the 4,500 outstanding pubs that are listed in the Good Beer Guide’s 40th anniversary edition.”

The rise of real ale can be attributed to Britons’ changing tastes as they try to reconnect with local and traditional brews or even the economic downturn where they prefer to drink smaller quantities of more distinctive tastes.

Whatever the reason, a resurgence in the brewery business is a welcome sign in the beer and pub industry as one million jobs are believed to be supported by the trade.

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