The total number of breweries in the UK for the first quarter of 2023, according to figures released by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) through its UK Brewery Tracker – which tracks new brewery openings and closures across the UK to give net numbers both regionally and nationally – stated the UK has lost just four breweries since the start of 2023.
The figure amounts to a 0.22% loss and a “much better picture than many in the industry would have predicted given the mounting pressures on small independent breweries”, said SIBA.
SIBA chief executive Andy Slee said: “It is very positive to see some areas of the UK now in growth and a national figure that has beaten the odds to remain relatively stable, despite the challenges faced by brewers.
“With rising raw material and utility costs, alongside existing market access issues, far too many small breweries are closing but the figures paint a much better picture than many predicted.
“Small breweries have a hugely positive impact on their local community, providing jobs, raising money for charity, supporting local initiatives, and providing access to the freshly brewed local beers that are now in such demand across the UK. All small independent breweries deserve your support.”
According to the SIBA UK Brewery Tracker, figures released today (6 April 2023) show Wales leads the UK in terms of brewery growth, with its net number rising by an impressive five breweries overall while, the south-east and west of England both saw a net fall of four businesses.
The news of breweries showing more stability in 2023 is in stark contrast to last year’s figures, which saw the number craft breweries going bust rose threefold, according to accountancy firm Price Bailey using statistics from the Insolvency Service.
Price Bailey head of insolvency and recovery Matt Howard said: “While many multinational brewers have seen profits surge over the past year, smaller independent brewers generally operate on much tighter margins with minimal exposure to foreign markets. They produce smaller batches of beer and cannot leverage economies of scale to offset inflationary pressures.”
SIBA UK Brewery Tracker Q1 2023 - covering period 1/1/23 to 31/3/23
Number of breweries now
Net +/- versus pre 1/1/23