2023 sees net rise in UK breweries

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Raise a glass: Net number of breweries increases (Credit: Getty/ Sigrid Gombert)
Raise a glass: Net number of breweries increases (Credit: Getty/ Sigrid Gombert)

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The total number of breweries in the UK has risen in the second quarter of 2023, according to new data from the SIBA UK Brewery Tracker.

Covering the period from the start of April 2023 to the end of June 2023, the tracker shows the net number of breweries across the UK increased by two over that three-month period.

The Society of Independent Brewers Association (SIBA) chief executive Andy Slee said: “Seeing the net brewery number​ rise across the UK is not only a sign that confidence in the sector remains, but that the demand for quality locally made beer continues to rise.

“However there has been a significant number of brewery closures and change of ownership, with some consolidation and buyouts alongside new businesses opening.

“So, while modest growth is ahead of expectations and common perception, it’s not quite the overly positive picture that the headline figures paint.”

The new opening figures highlight the consumer demand for craft beer and the growth in popularity of brewery taprooms, with recent consumer polling showing eight out of 10 people believe a well-run independent brewery has a positive effect on its local community.

What’s more, 98% of SIBA brewers said they considered their local community to be important to them.

Community assets

Slee said the trade body was seeing more and more people discover the importance of supporting their local businesses, and in particular their local brewery taproom, which in many areas is an important community asset.

“All of this said, trading remains challenging​ with input cost inflation running ahead of prices and the other well documented issues facing the broader hospitality trade,” he added.

The South East saw the largest increase in brewery numbers​, with a rise of three, with the Midlands and the East of England also in growth, with an increase of two breweries in both regions. Wales also had a modest rise of one brewery overall.

Who makes the tracker?

The North West, West of England and South West all ended Q2 with no net change in brewery numbers, whereas Scotland had the largest decrease with minus three, followed by Northern Ireland on minus two and the North East on minus one.

The tracker was compiled by full-time professional staff employed by SIBA, and is cross-referenced by the trade body’s regional directors in each of the eight SIBA regions across the UK.

The organisation takes a number of factors and data sources into account, alongside its own data analysis and extensive research, which includes, but is not limited to, HMRC registrations.

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