The latest Beer Report from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) found the independent scene went from strength to strength after last year’s cut in beer duty, with the organisation’s members increasing sales by 7.9% in volume terms, to 1.55 million barrels.
SIBA claims 33 million more pints of ‘local beer’ were drunk in the UK last year, compared to 2012.
And the growth was said to be good news for the economy, with the study claiming 900 new jobs were created in the course of the year and a further 700 are expected to be added this year.
The organisation said 5500 people are now directly employed by the brewing sector in the UK.
Furthermore, SIBA claims small brewers are playing a vital role in supporting jobs in the licensed trade, with each job in brewing supporting 21 others: 18 in pubs and one each in agriculture, supply and off-trade retail.
SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock said the Beer Report 2014 – the 12th annual overview of the industry – underlines the buoyancy of the local beer sector.
“We are delighted that, once again, we are able to portray a successful, vibrant and innovative independent brewing sector,” he said.
According to the report, SIBA’s member brewers produced 4000 permanent cask ales in 2013, up 25% from 2012, as well as 5800 permanent and seasonal beers.
Golden ale was the most widely-produced type of beer, with 97% of the organisation’s members listing one in their portfolios, while 89% listed a traditional bitter and 60% a strong bitter or IPA.
We are delighted to portray a successful, vibrant and innovative brewing sector.
More than half of the 250 brewers interviewed produced a stout or porter in 2013, while a smaller percentage brewed more unusual green hop and unfined cask beers (at 14% and 5% respectively).
Although draught beer – most of it in cask – accounted for the vast majority of beer produced by SIBA members, the report found that a majority of brewers (75%) are now bottling some of their beers. A significant share of SIBA members, 19%, are also producing craft beer in keg format.
And the work done by local brewers is having a knock-on effect on the wider brewing industry, said Grocock.
“Long-lived regional and national brewers have installed small-batch ‘craft’ plants so they can experiment themselves, while foreign microbrewers – primarily in the USA – have embraced traditional British styles at the same time as pushing the boundaries of innovation, which is especially true of modern IPAs,” he said.