That’s according to the Good Beer Guide 2014, released today by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra). The Guide, which is now in its 41st year, reveals that 1147 breweries are now producing beer – a 70-year high for the UK.
“There has been a boom in the growth of breweries over the last 12 months,” said the Guide’s editor Roger Protz. “And with more breweries comes greater choice for the drinker and more opportunities to buy locally produced brews.”
In the past 12 months, breweries have popped up across the UK in the most unusual of places – from a beer brewing pizzeria (CRATE Brewery in London) to a transformed Dairy Farm (Malt Brewery in Prestwood, Buckinghamshire) and a converted School outbuilding (Old School Brewery in Warton Lancashire).
One area which the Guide shows to have had ‘astonishing growth’ in the past 12 months is London, with the number of breweries inside the M25 doubling in the time between the 2013 and the new 2014 Good Beer Guide - with 23 new breweries opening.
One long-since-lost London brewery brand is now due to go back in to production. Once the second largest brewery in the UK, the old Truman Brewery in Whitechapel closed its doors in 1989, but the brand has been given a new lease of life with the grand opening of the new brewery taking place this week and beers due to hit bars across the capital in coming weeks.
Another area which has seen an above-average growth in breweries is West Yorkshire, with eight new breweries taking the counties total to 57 – the highest of any region in the UK.
“West Yorkshire has always been a strong area for beer, with Leeds, Bradford, Castleford, Halifax and Huddersfield, as well as many more smaller towns, boasting hundreds of fantastic real ale pubs,” added Protz. “In recent years numerous new breweries such as Collingham, Big River and Brass Castle have sprung up to supply the local demand.”
Breweries breakdown by CAMRA region (new breweries in brackets): -
- Central Southern – 42 (5)
- East Anglia – 119 (18)
- East Midlands – 133 (23)
- Greater London – 47 (23)
- Greater Manchester – 35 (7)
- Kent – 25 (3)
- Merseyside and Cheshire – 42 (6)
- North East – 42 (10)
- Scotland and Northern Ireland – 76 (9)
- South West – 129 (13)
- Surrey and Sussex – 48 (10)
- Wales – 64 (11)
- Wessex and Channel Islands – 44 (2)
- West Midlands – 109 (18)
- West Pennines – 61 (9)
- Yorkshire – 191 (20)
Compiled by Camra’s 150,000+ members, the 2014 Good Beer Guide features the best real ale pubs from across the UK, with details of food, opening hours, beer gardens, accommodation, transport links, disabled access and family facilities.
The Good Beer Guide 2014 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.