Today sees the publication of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide, reporting 170 new breweries opening during the past year to take the total figure to 1,285.
But The Statistical Handbook, published last week by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), puts the number of breweries at 1,442, which it says is 188% higher than in 2000.
The BBPA said its figures come from HMRC data, while CAMRA’s list was created using its internal Brewery Information System. A CAMRA spokesman said its statistics take into account instances where brewery ‘brands’ see a number of separate brewers working from the same space.
Despite their statistical differences, both organisations are united in their praise for UK breweries.
Beer Guide editor Roger Protz said: “Real ale is the only success story in a declining beer market.
“New breweries making handcrafted beers continue to come on stream, while many of the long-standing regional and family breweries are expanding with new equipment and new brands. Real ale has almost doubled its market share over the past decade.”
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said drinkers have a “greater beer choice than ever”.
Responding to the Beer Guide’s figures Mike Benner, managing director of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said: “This latest Good Beer Guide portrays a British brewing industry in excellent health. New brewery openings over the last year take the total number of brewers in the UK to over 1,200, a figure that would have been almost unimaginable to readers of this guide in the 1970s.
“As we welcome this growing wave of new brewers, we also thank the 20 pioneering microbrewers who in 1980 founded the Society of Independent Brewers and so set in motion the brewing revolution which today provides British drinkers with the most diverse, exciting and innovative selection of beers enjoyed anywhere in the world.”
The success of the brewing industry has been most notable in London, where numbers doubled last year. There have been seven new start-ups so far this year.
London Beer Factory is one of the new entries in this year’s guide.
Brewer Ed Cotton said: “The London Beer Factory is extremely proud to be part of the renaissance of brewing in the capital and delivering a range of tasty craft beer to the people of London. We are delighted at our inclusion in the Good Beer Guide 2015.”