August 2015 saw the government claim that Britain had returned to its “rightful role” as a global brewing powerhouse, with community pubs minister Marcus Jones declaring that a new brewery opens in Britain every other day.
A surge during the past two years has seen breweries opening up at rate of three every week – with all regions sharing this success.
Craft breweries, including Magic Rock in West Yorkshire, brew pubs such as One Mile End in East London, and award-winning regional breweries, like the Peak District’s Thornbridge, are all playing a part in the British beer boom. And the result has been an economic boost and jobs for young people. The latest figures show the beer and pubs sector is now responsible for 869,000 jobs in the UK.
However, while the rest of the UK has seen a slowdown in the number of new breweries being created as of late, London has reached a new high; jumping by 24 per cent in just a year from 29 in 2014 to 36 in 2015. This is according to UHY Hacker Young, which also suggested the ever-growing popularity of craft beer, alongside other boutique food and drink products, has meant the number of micro-breweries within the city has rapidly increased.
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The firm also claimed the success of such breweries has led to numerous business opportunities, including The Camden Town Brewery recently being acquired by AB InBev in a deal worth a rumoured £85m.
One of the key factors in the rising popularity of craft beer is its reputation as a luxury product, UHY explained, often viewed by consumers as an aspirational item.
James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young said: “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. It’s not surprising that London has such a large amount of new microbreweries, with the high numbers of young professionals working within the City.”
He explained that 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.
Simmonds added: “Many microbreweries within London have had such success in the last few years, that they have now become household names and this in turn has only spurred more entrepreneurs to try their hand at brewing. The popularity of craft beer has spread from its core followers in the ‘hipster’ areas of Shoreditch and Hackney across the Capital and the rest of the UK.”
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