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British brewing goes ballistic!

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted September 21, 2012
sharp's brewery rock cornwall
Brewing boom: Sharp's in Cornwall is one of many making top-notch real ale. (Check bottom for credit)

Need a reason to celebrate down the pub tonight? Well, crack out the crisps 'cos the number of UK breweries has just hit 1,000!

In fact, according to a press release sent to us by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), an organisation that the Rake & Herald wholeheartedly supports, the actual number of operational breweries in Blighty now stands at 1,009, "the highest number for over 70 years".

As such, there are now five times more breweries in the UK "than there were in operation 30 years ago, four times more than there were 20 years ago and more than twice as many as there were a decade ago."

Furthermore, in the past 12 months alone a total of 158 new breweries have come on stream at a rate that we reckon works out at just over three a week.

But even if our calculator's crap, CAMRA still reports that this is "the highest rate of new openings ever recorded" in the 40 years that it has been publishing its British beer drinking bible, the Good Beer Guide.

Now, if that ain't worth celebrating, what is?

"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," says Roger Protz, editor of the aforementioned Good Beer Guide.

"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."

"As a ratio there is now just under one brewery for every 50 pubs in the UK, so for certain pubs who are struggling in the current climate there is a big opportunity to tap into this exciting market and work with a local brewery."

"In many cases, a pub serving quality real ale at the bar is an indicator of quality in other areas of the business and this is apparent with the 4,500 outstanding pubs that are listed in the Good Beer Guide's 40th anniversary edition."

Which of course you can read about on the Rake & Herald here.

Nice one.

Mines a pint of large.

See also CAMRA's British beer bible out now, posted 19/9/12.

Picture credit

Top and thumb: Sharp's Brewery in Rock, Cornwall by Tony Atkin.

For licensing information click the above link.

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