Number of UK brewers tops 1,000

THE number of breweries in the UK has topped 1,000 – the highest figure for more than 70 years, new research has revealed.

• NUmber of breweries in UK have risen above 1,000 for first time in over seven decades

• Twice as many brewers now in operation compared to a decade ago

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• Number of micro breweries have risen despite recession and pub closures

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said a record 158 new breweries have opened in the past year, the highest number ever recorded in the group’s

annual Good Beer Guide.

Camra said it was an “astonishing” number, with twice as many breweries now in operation compared with a decade ago, and about one brewery for every 50 pubs.

Many micro breweries have opened in recent years, but smaller ones have expanded despite a steady flow of pub closures.

Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide, said: “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.

“Beer drinkers in the present day are faced with an enormous variety and choice like never seen before on these shores. Whilst historically there were more breweries in the UK pre-1930s, the distribution and communication networks of the modern day mean that real ale has never been so accessible to consumers, or to pubs wanting to meet demand for serving locally produced beer.”

Camra spokesman Jon Howard said some of the most successful Scottish breweries in the guide include Fyne Ales in Cairndow, Sulwath in Castle Douglas, the Hewston in Hewston, the Black Isle in Munlochy, Williams Brewery in Alloa and two breweries based in Edinburgh: the Caledonian and Stewart Brewing.

More than 1,000 new pubs are featured in the 2013 guide, which marks Camra’s 40th anniversary, taking the total to 4,500, including seven which have been included in every edition: The Buckingham Arms in Petty France, London; The New Inn, Kilmington, Devon; The Queen’s Head, Newton, Cambridgeshire; Roscoe Head, Liverpool; The Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset; The Star, Netherton, Northumberland; and The Star Tavern, Belgrave Mews West, London.

Mr Protz added: “It’s a remarkable achievement for the publicans of these pubs to have maintained an exemplary standard of beer over all these years.

“The special thing about these seven pubs is that they vary so much in their location, size and heritage, showing how brilliantly diverse our pub industry remains, even through weathering the high profile storm of closures in recent years.”