UK breweries breakthrough 2,000 barrier for first time since the 1930s

The number of breweries has broken through the 2,000 barrier for the first time since the 1930s, a new study has revealed.

Published 23rd Oct 2017
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

The milestone follows a 64 per cent increase over the past five years, said accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.

The UK has experienced a craft beer "revolution", with rising sales of artisan beers in pubs and supermarkets, while more microbreweries are opening, the research found.

James Simmonds of UHY Hacker Young, said: "The craft beer boom has reversed around 70 years of consolidation in the brewing industry. There is plenty of growth still to come.

"However, the majors are beginning to make a fightback by acquiring craft brewers and launching their own artisan-style brands.

"The craft brewers can't afford to rest on their laurels - they will need to work hard to get their product into that limited shelf space and bar space."

There are now approximately 150 breweries in Scotland alone, where the brewing scene has grown dramatically thanks to the work of the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and of course organisations such as the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), which have helped to make brewing more accessible, as well as supporting smaller breweries to grow.

A study by Visit Scotland last year found that a "strong interest in Scottish craft beer products has developed from across the globe", chiefly within the Nordic nations of Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, but also in countries like the US, China and Spain.

Colin Valentine, the national chairman for CAMRA, said: "Whilst CAMRA have not set up any breweries, we were instrumental in creating the conditions whereby people felt confident in setting up their own brewery confident in the knowledge that, if they produced a quality product, then there was a market for it.

"It is also the case that many people who set up breweries were active CAMRA members for many years before doing so."


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