UK sees 200 breweries open in the past year

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Increased demand: surge in independent breweries results in 200 new sites in the UK over past year (image: Getty/ Klaus Vedfelt)
Increased demand: surge in independent breweries results in 200 new sites in the UK over past year (image: Getty/ Klaus Vedfelt)

Related tags Beer Craft beer Brewery Finance

Some 200 new breweries have opened in the UK over the past year following an increased demand for craft beer, a recent study from UHY Hacker Young has revealed.

This meant the total number of breweries across the nation had increased to 2,426 with a surge in new independent breweries​ according to the accountancy group.

UHY Hacker Young partner James Simmonds said: “It is remarkable Britain’s craft beer boom is entering its second decade and is still registering significant growth in start-ups.”

According to the insight company, the craft beer industry in the UK has taken off over the past decade with demand from consumers for premium, artisan drinks leading to more entrepreneurs starting their own craft beer businesses.

Competitive market

Often aiming to follow in the footsteps of brewers like BrewDog​ and Beavertown​, which now register millions of pounds per year in sales.

However, the accountancy group stated the growth in brewery start-ups has started to slow as the craft beer market becomes increasingly competitive with growth in the number of breweries at 9.1% in 2021/22, having stood at 17.7% in 2018/19, according to HMRC.

Simmonds added: “The attraction of starting a craft brewery still remains for many. However, the challenge of making a success of a start-up in the sector is now greater than it was.”

Furthermore, UHY Hacker Youngs’ data showed some major craft beer brands had gained significant market share after being acquired by brewing majors, allowing them to benefit from the large distribution networks of their parent companies.

Previous purchases

Although this has made it more difficult for smaller brands to gain a foothold in the market, according to the accountancy firm.

Camden Town Brewery was bought by AB InBev 2015​, while in 2021 Heineken took control of Brixton Brewery​ after initially investing in the business in 2017.

Meanwhile, Greenwich-based Meantime has been owned by Asahi Group​ since 2016.

Simmonds said: “Some UK brewers that were start-ups only a few years ago are now major players worldwide.

“They now have access to distribution in both the on and off trade that younger brewers cannot yet match. Start-ups can still grow quickly through local and online sales if they have the right product and branding, however.”

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