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The Great Wen goes "brewing crazy"

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted August 09, 2012
lonond has gone brewing crazy
Beer mad: London has developed a form of clinical insanity for the production of beer. (Check bottom for credit)

London, the UK's second city after Plymouth, is now home to 30 breweries with yet more on the cards.

"London has gone brewing crazy", according to a joint statement issued by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the London Brewers' Alliance (LBA) at the ongoing Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) at London's Olympia.

Indeed, the Great Wen now plays home to 30 operational breweries, up from just six in 2005 when Olympia last played host to the UK's biggest beer bash.

Furthermore, while 14 new breweries have come online in the Big Sprawler since last year's GBBF at Earl's Court (also in London), another 14 are in the process of setting up shop.

"London's brewing industry," a CAMRA press release states, "has undergone a total revival since its nadir in 2006 when only seven commercial brewers were on stream".

"From small artisanal set-ups inside Westfield Stratfield City (Tap East) to mixing horticulture and brewing near Kew Gardens (Botanist Brewery), London has become the most transformed brewing scene in the UK," it continues.

What's more, the Big Smoke's blooming brewing sector is having "a positive effect on beer drinkers" as shown by a recent CAMRA/TNS Tracking Survey.

Conducted this past June, the poll revealed a 25% increase in the percentage of the Dirty Dog Egg's drinkers that have tried real ale since 2005.

"It's a remarkable turnaround for London's brewing fortunes, particularly at a time when research shows three pubs a week close across the capital," says CAMRA CEO Mike Benner.

Indeed, he continues, "brewers from Bethnal Green to Battersea are successfully targeting a new breed of discerning beer consumer" by tapping into "the principles of localism" and winning a new audience "for Britain's national drink".

"As seen at the Great British Beer Festival this week, this resurging interest in real ale can offer hope to the pub industry, especially when London's brewing business goes from strength to strength," he says.

"Although London was behind the curve of the current British microbrewing renaissance," adds LBA secretary Steve Williams, "we have really caught up in 2011 and 2012 and are now proud to be at the cutting edge of the beer scene."

"We have new breweries and brewpubs opening every month and we can also now reasonably claim to be the brewpub capital of Europe."

Seven London breweries, viz Fuller's, Twickenham, Sambrook's, Windsor & Eton, Redempton, By the Horns and Brodie's, are currently showing off their wares at the GBBF, which is set to run until 19.00 this coming Saturday.

Since the first week of July, CAMRA's London branches have been co-ordinating a campaign entitled London City of Beer to raise the profile of beer and pubs in the Ten-Handed Pickpocket and to celebrate the industry's rich local history.

To find out more, have a click of this.

See also Youngsters, get down the pub!, posted 7/8/12, and Sod the Olympics, drink down Olympia, posted 6/8/12.

Photo credit

Top and thumb: A delivery of Fullers by Oxfordian Kissuth.

For licensing information click the above link.

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