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Craft beer revives British pub fortunes

The number of pub and bar companies in the UK being forced into insolvency has fallen by 7% over the last year, a new survey shows.

Investment in craft beer, quality food and refurbishments helped arrest the decline, as the number of pubs going out of business fell from 521 to 480 in the year to March.

Easier access to alternative finance from non-bank lenders meant that pubs and bars were able to buy beer on better terms and build “interior designer” beer gardens and roof terraces, according to a report by Ortus Secured Finance.

“Small and big pub companies alike are becoming increasingly aware of alternative finance and the value continued investment can have for their business,” said Jon Salisbury, managing director of the leisure sector lender.

“There is a real desire among a large demographic to spend on super-premium drinks. A £5 pint no longer raises eyebrows,” he added.

Research by UK brewer Miller Brand shows that £1 in every £4 spent on beer in London was spent on super-premium beer.

The UK on-trade craft beer market grew by 40% in the year to January, according to Nielsen CGA.

The latest figures reflect a longer trend of slowing pub closures, with the number of pubs being made insolvent falling by 16% since its peak of 574 in 2013/14.

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