Ale aficionados will be pleased to hear the latest from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra). In the last 12 months, 158 new breweries have opened in the UK – that’s the most in a single year since comparable records began. It takes the total number of breweries to more than 1,000 across the British Isles, and means that one brewery has opened for every 50 new pubs in the period. We’ll drink to that!
Part of the growth in brewery numbers is due to the success of so-called micro-breweries which produce small batches of independently made beers. Camra says that there are dozens of these that can no longer be described as ‘micro’. A typical example is Scottish brewer BrewDog, which started just six years ago with two employees, and now has 67 staff on the role with growing export operations.
The brewery figures come in stark contrast to the other face of the drinks industry, the pub trade. More than 10,000 watering holes have closed over the past decade, with many attributing the decline to the smoking ban, rising duty on alcoholic drinks and the advent of super-cheap booze from major supermarkets. Not to mention a whopping great recession.
The editor of the Good Beer Guide said that whilst there were many more breweries in the 1930s, the choice of drinks today is much wider because of modern communications and the efficiency of distribution networks.
MT reckons that calls for a swift one. Pub at lunch? You're buying.