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UK is now second-largest importer of US craft beer

By Nicholas Robinson+

26-Apr-2017
Last updated on 27-Apr-2017 at 09:54 GMT2017-04-27T09:54:27Z

Born in the USA: American craft beer is on the rise in the UK
Born in the USA: American craft beer is on the rise in the UK

The UK has become the second-largest importer of US craft beer in the world, jumping two places up the list behind Canada and increasing imports by 4.4% last year.

That’s according to the latest figures from the Brewers Association, a not-for-profit trade group that represents small and independent American craft brewers.

FIND OUT: The latest trends on craft beer at The Morning Advertiser’s Future Trends: Beer and Cider event on 26 June in London

More than 460,000 barrels, worth in excess of £94m ($121m), were bought by UK businesses in 2016, representing 4.4% growth over 2015 levels.

As a result, the UK accounts for 10.1% of all US craft beer exports, behind Canada (54.8%) and ahead of Sweden (6.6%), Australia (4.6%) and China (3.2%).

US brewers at all-time high

The number of small and independent brewers in the US is at an all-time high, growing by 16% a year to reach 5,301.

Last year there were 826 new breweries launched, while just 97 closed, according to the Brewers Association.

As a result, the segment now holds 21.9% of the US’s total beer market.

Future Trends: Beer and Cider

Craft beer will be a big focus at this year's Future Trends: Beer and Cider event, which will feature exclusive talks on:

  • Beer and cider overview – CGA Strategy
  • Beer trends – SIBA
  • The cask panel debate
  • Fruit beer – a rising trend?
  • Own-brew

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Brewers Association president and chief executive officer Bob Pease said: “This year’s export data demonstrates that demand is continuing to strengthen for small and independent craft brewers worldwide.

“In the UK we are particularly pleased to see robust growth given the pressures arising from Brexit and the emergence of the UK’s own dynamic and growing craft beer culture.”

The US and UK craft beer scenes complement one another, claimed Pease, adding both are built on quality, innovation and diversity.

Explosion of craft beer

“The explosion of interest in craft beer on both sides of the Atlantic is fuelling increased interest in the sector,” continued Pease.

“Greater choice is good for the industry and we believe a rising tide floats all boats.”

Independent US craft beer producer Wesley Keegan, who founded Tennessee’s TailGate Beer, told The Morning Advertiser there was room for flavoured US craft beers to grow in the UK.

There was no way demand for flavoured beers would drop and he did not foresee the market becoming oversaturated.

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