The Good Beer Guide has announced that Britain leads the way in being the location of the most small breweries of any industrialised nation, with last year seeing the opening of at least 71 new ventures.
It seems that to try and tackle the fast failing industry with pub closures and drops in beer sales, a number of beer loving entrepreneurs are cashing in on the demand for independent premium ales to savour rather than binge on.
West Yorkshire is the most brewery-rich with no fewer than 34, followed by Norfolk with 31, Derbyshire and North Yorkshire with 28 while Devon has 27.
Some of the more interesting breweries include actor Neil Morrissey’s venture, Morrissey Fox based at Marton Cum Grafton near York and Mill Green, which is located behind the White Horse in Sudbury, Suffolk, where the beer is brewed using solar panels.
Duncan Sambrook is an en example of one of these many entrepreneurs, who after bingeing at a beer festival in 2006, decided to pack in his job as a management accountant at Deloitte, to open the Sambrook Brewery in Wandsworth, London. Just one year in he already employs five full time staff, supplying 9,000 pints of Waadle Ale to 80 pubs a week - now that’s impressive.
“The concept is a London beer for Londoners,” he said.
“It’s gone fantastically well. We’ve had huge support from the local community, publicans and CAMRA. Because of support of local CAMRA members, pubs have been ringing us up.”
Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide stated that the growing numer of breweries in the UK made it the “undisputed top brewing country in the world”. “Britain has more small craft breweries per head of population than all other major industrialised countries; but it also offers tremendous choice,” he said.
“While most other countries offer mainly mainstream lagers, Britain has enormous diversity - milds, bitters, strong ales, porters, stouts, barley wines, old ales, Christmas ales, spring beers, golden ales and harvest ales to name just a few.
“This rebirth of British brewing is due to the pioneering work of Camra – there are now more than twice as many breweries in Britain than when the campaign was launched in 1971 – and to the enthusiasm and innovation of independent brewers.”
The specilaist guide cites no fewer than 1297 new pub entries, but conversely is having to close the book on some golden oldies that have recently closed, like the Jolly Anglers in Reading, Berkshire and the Hope Poles, at Risbury in Herefordshire.