The data, compiled by Funding Operations, shows that the biggest independent craft breweries (founded in 1995 or later) have increased their turnover almost five-fold since 2011-12, when it stood at £27m.
Scottish craft brewery and bar chain owner BrewDog makes up nearly 60% of the top 30’s turnover, and has been the driving force behind the industry’s growth, according to Funding Options.
Independent breweries sold off
The independent sector would have been even larger had several independent breweries not been sold to private equity firms and larger drink companies.
Meantime Brewing was sold to SAB Miller for £50m in May 2015, while Camden Town Brewery was purchased by AB InBev for approximately £85m in December 2015.
Funding Options says that more entrepreneurs are opening breweries, having been attracted partly by the potential of selling their brewery on to a larger competitor. A record 520 new breweries were launched in the UK last year according to business advisory company UHY Hacker Young.
Small brewers need financial assistance
Funding Options founder Conrad Ford said: “The UK’s craft beer revenue growth has actually accelerated slightly in the past year, which is a phenomenal result.”
“Many of the UK’s most prominent craft brands have achieved widespread success and have attracted huge buyouts, and a new group of smaller companies will have similar aspirations.”
“While the more established craft breweries can finance their own growth, it is the newer companies that often need additional finance to give them a leg up and help them reach their full potential.”
“For every successful craft beer, there will be many more who haven’t been able to give success a proper shot – this is often down to a lack of competitive finance.”
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the number of new trademark registrations in the UK for beer brands has risen by 19% during the past year.