Surge in British brewing ‘unstoppable’, says CAMRA beer guru
The British beer revolution appears “unstoppable”, according Roger Protz, editor of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, after the real ale campaigning body revealed a 10% rise in the number of breweries for the third consecutive year.
“More and more breweries have been launched to keep up with demand for full-bodied, full-flavoured beers,” said Protz.
“Britain now has more breweries per head than any other country and the range of beers on offer is the best in the world, ranging from the palest golden ale to the darkest, pitch-black stout.”
Over 200 new breweries are featured in the Good Beer Guide 2016, published this week. CAMRA says there are now 1,424 UK brewers – more than at any time since World War II – producing over 11,000 different real ales.
While one in every six pints sold in British pubs is now real ale, with kegged ales such as John Smith’s and Tetley’s in decline, the range of local and regional bottled ales available to retail has also risen.
Bottled beer entries to the Great Taste awards scheme have almost doubled in the past three years, with 178 different products entered this year. A Belgian-style Saison beer from Berkshire craft brewer Savour Beer – Sparking Beer Brut – appears in the 2015 Great Taste Top 50.
Variety is also increasing, with an average of around eight different beers per brewery, according to CAMRA. “Gone are the days when a brewery made just one or two different beers,” it says, “as brewers expand their repertoires to include porters, stouts, IPAs, fruit beers, or even beers aged in wine and whisky casks.”
Roger Protz said that while the movement is UK-wide, London is reclaiming its place at the centre of British brewing “London is the most remarkable success story. Today there are 74 breweries operating in the capital, compared to 54 a year ago.
“There are so many packed into areas such as Bermondsey and Hackney that weekend ‘brewery crawls’ have become a popular part of the London drinking scene.”
But it’s not just the Capital that’s thriving, he added. “London is closely followed by Greater Manchester, which has 19 new breweries, including four in Stockport and arguably the most amazing new brewery name: Zymurgorium in Irlam.”
CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2016 is available from camra.org.uk/shop.