Inside London’s craft beer boom - UK
IOL Business - Apr 4th 2016, 12:18
London - A growing national thirst for “craft” beers has prompted a surge in the number of new breweries opening in London, new figures released on Tuesday show.
Thirty-six new breweries opened in the capital last year, a new record high and a 24 percent increase on the 29 that opened in 2014, according to the accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.
The rest of England saw a slowdown in the number of new breweries opening in 2015, with launches easing to 249 from 278 in 2014. However, despite the national decline, the total number of breweries in the UK stands close to an 80-year high at 1 424, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). The organisation also says that Britain now has more breweries per head than any other country in the world.
In addition, craft microbreweries - which make flavoursome ales and lagers from “natural” ingredients on a relatively small scale - are at the vanguard of that trend. “Craft beer has quickly become the drink of choice for pub-goers - especially in London which has cemented its position at the centre of the UK's craft beer industry,” said James Simmonds, a partner at UHY.
“It's not surprising that London has such a large amount of new micro-breweries, with the high numbers of young professionals working within the city.
“Because craft beer is viewed as a luxury good, customers are prepared to pay a higher price in comparison to other more commercially branded beers”.
Craft beers were originally associated with “hipster” parts of London such as Shoreditch and Hackney, but their appeal has now spread across the capital and also further afield in the UK.
The growing popularity of craft beers has caught the attention of the global brewing giants.
Last year, AB InBev bought out the Camden Town Brewery for around £85m and SAB Miller snapped up Camden's Greenwich-based craft rival Meantime for around £50m.
However, the takeovers have prompted some craft beer aficionados to worry about whether the quality of their preferred beverage will be maintained.
Other drinks giants are launching their own craft ranges to capitalise on the trend, with Carlsberg producing a “Crafted” range in 2004.
In Scotland 27 new breweries opened in 2015, up from 26 in 2014. Wales saw 17 new breweries open, up from 11 the year before. In Northern Ireland, there were six new ones.
Three of the new London breweries include the Long Arm Brewing Company in Ealing, the 40ft Brewery in Hackney and the Bullfinch Brewery in Lambeth. All were opened in 2015.From © Independent On-line 2016. All rights reserved.
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