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Camra’s Good Beer Guide 2013 hails Britain's brewery boom

By Luke Nicholls , 13-Sep-2012
Last updated on 13-Sep-2012 at 11:30 GMT

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is today raising a glass to the 40th anniversary of its flagship publication the Good Beer Guide which reports that there are now just over 1,000 breweries operational across the UK - the highest number for over 70 years.

Compiled by Camra’s 143,000 members, the 2013 Good Beer Guide features the best 4,500 real ale pubs from across the UK, with details of food, opening hours, beer gardens, accommodation, transport links, disabled access and family facilities.

It reports that a record-breaking 158 breweries have opened up in the space of just 12 months - the highest rate of new openings ever recorded in the Guide’s 40-year history. The 1,009 breweries now operational across the country is more than twice as many as there were a decade ago.

The Good Beer Guide’s editor, Roger Protz, said: “The UK beer and pub industry has changed enormously over the last 40 years and throughout this period the Good Beer Guide has remained the definitive resource for keeping beer drinkers up to date when tracking down the perfect pint of real ale.

“A double-dip recession has done nothing to halt the incredible surge in the number of brewers coming on stream, making the small brewing sector surely one of the most remarkable UK industry success stories of the last decade.

“In fact, the boom in new breweries has, in many cases, made the term ‘micro’ obsolete, with some small brewers having become remarkably large, installing new equipment or doubling production to keep up with demand.”

Regional Pubs of the Year 2012

To coincide with today’s launch, the Good Beer Guide has revealed the following 16 Camra Regional Pubs of the Year for 2012:

  • Central Southern- Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage (38 Wallingford Street, Oxfordshire, OX12 8AX)
  • East Anglia- Compasses, Littley Green (Essex, CM3 1BU)
  • East Midlands- Just Beer Micropub, Newark (Swan & Salmon Yard, 32A Castlegate, Nottinghamshire, NG24 1BG)
  • Greater London- Hope, Carshalton (48 West Street, SW London, SM5 2PR)
  • Greater Manchester- Baum, Rochdale (33-37 Toad Lane, Greater Manchester, OL12 0NU)
  • Kent- Conqueror Alehouse, Ramsgate (4C Grange Road, Kent, CT11 9LR)
  • Merseyside & Cheshire- Lower Chequer, Sandbach (Crown Bank, Cheshire, CW11 1FW)
  • North East- Ship Inn, High Hesleden (Durham, TS27 4QD)
  • Scotland & Northern Ireland- Woolpack Inn , Tillicoultry (1 Glassford Square, Clackmannanshire, FK13 6AU)
  • South West- Tom Cobley Tavern, Spreyton (Devon, EX17 5AL)
  • Surrey & Sussex- Wilkes Head, Eastergate (Church Lane, West Sussex, PO20 3UT)
  • Wales- Bridge End Inn, Ruabon (5 Bridge Street, Wrexham, LL14 6DA)
  • Wessex & Channel Isles- Victoria & Albert, Netherhampton (Wiltshire, SP2 8PU)
  • West Midlands- Weighbridge, Alvechurch (Scarfield Wharf, Scarfield Hill, Worcestershire, B48 7SQ)
  • West Pennines- Bridge Bier Huis, Burnley (2 Bank Parade, Lancashire, BB11 1UH)
  • Yorkshire- Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield (62 Russell Street, South Yorkshire, S3 8RW)

Pubs are judged on all the criteria that make a ‘great pub’, including atmosphere, decor, customer service, value for money, clientele mix, and the quality of the real ale and cider/perry. The regional winners will now compete to be crowned National Pub of the Year, with the announcement made in early 2013.

The Magnificent Seven

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Camra's Good Beer Guide 2013 has heralded the following seven pubs which have made it into all of its forty editions:

  • Buckingham Arms, 62 Petty France, London SW1
  • New Inn, The Hill, Kilmington, Devon
  • Queen’s Head, Newton, Cambridgeshire
  • Roscoe Head, 24 Roscoe Street, Liverpool
  • Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset
  • Star, Netherton, Northumberland
  • Star Tavern, 6 Belgrave Mews West, London SW1  

Paying tribute to the ‘Magnificent Seven’ pubs, Protz said: "It’s a remarkable achievement for the publicans of these pubs to have maintained an exemplary standard of beer over all these years. The special thing about these seven pubs is that they vary so much in their location, size and heritage, showing how brilliantly diverse our pub industry remains, even through weathering the high profile storm of closures in recent years."

The Good Beer Guide 2013 is available today from retailers and from the Camra shop - www.camra.org.uk/shop - where it is priced £10 for Camra members and £12.99 for non-members.

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