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Number of micropubs doubles in the last year

By James Wallin, M&C Allegra FS

- Last updated on GMT

Number of micropubs doubles in the last year

Related tags Real ale Ale Beer Universal quantification

The number of micropubs in the UK has doubled in the last year and is expected to reach 800 by 2018, according the Micropub Association.

Martyn Hillier, who co-founded the organisation told M&C​ that there were currently 162 members but the total number of micropubs in the country was easily over 200 – double the figure at the start of 2015​.

He said this had been achieved​ without the support of either the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) or the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and predicted that eventually there will be 15,000 micropubs in the country.

He criticised plans by Moorhouse’s Brewery managing director David Grant​ to launch a chain of micropubs, saying this would defeat the point of the concept.

Hillier, who runs the Butcher’s Arms in Herne, Kent, said: “This is a model that has real momentum at the moment. I have always said that there is room in the market for ten micropubs for every microbrewery and there are currently 1,500 microbrewries.

“A few micropubs are starting to experiment with craft ales and some are even putting lager in. There’s one opening up in Dover that is focussed on cider.

“I think it’s fine to have variety but the micropub movement was founded on real ale and that is at its heart. It’s the difference between a micropub and a small pub. With sites this small I don’t see how you can hope to keep your beer fresh if you are also trying to stock every other drink people could order.

“We are seeing a broadening of our audience, although we still haven’t cracked the under-40s. Quite a few people bring their sons in but by and large we haven’t quite captured that market yet.”

On Grant’s plans to build an estate of micropubs, Hillier said: “For the type of customers we’re attracting I think there are two main attractions – good beer and a landlord that they know. If you start owning chains of them then that takes that individuality away.

“In terms of what David Grant has said – firstly his figures are way off and I wonder if he’s trying to make it sound more of a challenge than it is. He thinks it costs £50k to open a micropub but I would say you can do it with £5k.

“I also didn’t understand his idea of getting someone who knows what they’re doing to run it. If they know what they’re doing, why wouldn’t they just do it themselves?”

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