The popularity of craft beer in the UK shows no sign of abating with new figures showing the number of UK breweries has risen 8% in the past 12 months to almost 1,700.
The number of UK breweries has risen by 65% in the last five years
With breweries increasingly being seen as profitable businesses and attractive acquisition targets, the number of breweries in the UK has seen a 65% rise in the last five years, according to accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.
The number of breweries in the UK rose from 1,558 in 2014 to 1,692 in 2015 – an 8% increase – the company’s research shows.
Breweries which have recently opened or are set to open in the UK include The Gasworks Brewbar from the team behind The Dockyard group of bars in Manchester; 10 new microbreweries which will operate from one location in Bermondsey as part of the open brewery, Ubrew (brewer of IntelligentX’s ‘self-improving’ AI beer); and Bradford Brewery, which launched in 2015 in Bradford city centre.
Following SAB Miller’s purchase of London’s Meantime Brewing Company in May 2015, other acquisitions of UK microbreweries by multinational brewing companies are likely.
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The success of UK microbreweries is also demonstrated by the growth of Camden Town Brewery which, after opening in 2010, was purchased by AB InBev in December 2015. It is now expanding beyond Camden with the opening of a new brewery in Enfield.
“Craft beer is leading the way in the surging popularity of artisan products and has pushed aside other brands in high-0street bars. Many are now firmly established household names,” James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said.
“This increasing popularity has transformed many microbreweries into highly profitable businesses for entrepreneurs looking for a niche position in the food and drinks market.”
“As a result of their success, microbreweries across the UK have also become attractive acquisition targets for larger breweries.”
“It is likely that larger breweries will continue to show more and more interest in the smaller breweries that are popping up around the UK so they can benefit from the interest in craft beer.”
Due to the increasing popularity of high quality craft beer, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has recently launched a new classification, ‘Assured Independent British Craft Brewers’, so that consumers can identify genuine UK craft beer.
UHY Hacker Young suggested that the weakness of the pound as a result of the Brexit vote will benefit the craft beer industry more than their more mainstream competitors, as these products are made locally and unlikely to be affected by any increase in import charges.
International breweries, however, may have to increase their prices to compensate for the extra costs that they may face. the company said.