Craft Beer On The Up

We’ve all seen the plethora of fancy packaging in the supermarkets – usually something garish, something urban, and usually something to do with tattoos – but it’s undeniable, the craft beer explosion has been here for a little while already and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Away from the bright lights of mainstream commercial deals, the television adverts and the sports sponsorship, small start-up beer breweries are becoming big business all by themselves – and are a far cry from the 1970s Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) image of the purist beer drinker.

Demand for craft beer has exploded and the breweries have responded in kind. The UK is now home to more than 800 craft breweries – the highest number since the 1940s – and there are approximately 70-80 new openings each year. CAMRA membership has doubled in the past ten years, and tickets for its beer festivals now regularly sell out.

In terms of investment, the Society Of Independent Brewers 2017 members’ survey revealed that 22% of breweries invested more than £50K in 2016, and 10% invested more than £100K, with almost one out of six independent breweries planning to double their current levels of production, sales and turnover in 2018.

All this points to a confident and ever-growing market, with drinkers and investors alike now looking for a lot more than just cold fizz and generic big brands.


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Happiest in the snow, Carlton is an ex-police officer and prison governor who has migrated to the world of adventure travel via motoring journalism. Carlton drives boats and pickups with more enthusiasm than skill, and is currently working on his first novel in addition to his prison memoirs.