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Craft boom shows no sign of letting up


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Craft brewing has seen something of an explosion in recent years.  Whilst consumers may be spending less in pubs, they are now often more discerning, and looking to spend more money on a better quality product. Brands such as Brewdog have grown with clever marketing and great products. But is there any sign of a slowdown in an ever-expanding market?

With over 3000 breweries now battling it out for a share of the pie in the UK, it’s fair to say the industry is booming – it’s the first time this figure has topped 2000 since the 1930s[1], and a long way from the predicted downfall of the industry following the smoking ban of 2007.

Gordon Brown’s introduction of a tax break in 2002 for smaller breweries has certainly helped grow the industry over the years. Greater consumer choice has amplified the demand – now there’s the option of many different flavours, quality and choice.

Whilst the influx of new breweries is focused on the smaller, more innovative brands such as Bellfield Brewery, big alcohol producers have also been getting in on the act. Examples include Hope House 13 from Dublin’s famous Guinness brewery (owned my multi-national conglomerate Diageo). The biggest names have also taken the approach of buying up smaller companies to inch in to the market – with AB InBev’s £85m purchase of Camden Brewery a case in point[2].

But is one of the reasons for the success of the field the very independence of the breweries? It’s hard to say, but companies such as Brew Dog have certainly made much of their origins and independence in marketing their product.

But what of the future? With craft cider explored in 2017 through brands such as Westons Caple Road or Sheppys  Vat 07 and Vat 14, it looks as if that is the next line of drinks that consumers  will be introduced to. And with clean, modern packaging that looks to emphasise the heritage and quality of the product, it looks like a battleground that will be closely fought in the upcoming months and years.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/23/craft-beer-boom-pushes-number-of-uk-breweries-past-2000

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/21/camden-town-brewery-sold-inbev-worlds-biggest-drinks-company