Beer lovers are increasingly reaching for pints of hearty, hoppy fare made by artisanal UK manufacturers, rather than the amber fizz of multinationals. Production by independent breweries grew by 15.8 per cent – or 526 million pints – last year. So, with two events celebrating small-scale UK beer production approaching – the Camra Great British Beer Festival (11–15 August) and the London Craft Beer Festival (13–16 August) – here are three reasons to celebrate the sector…
Breweries represent one of the UK’s oldest industries
A brewing industry was already established in Britain by the time the Romans arrived with their grapes in 55BC. Our taste for the frothy brew has passed down the generations – so much so that, by the 18th century, brewing had to move out of the kitchens of inns and private houses into vast industrial facilities to cope with demand.
It’s not just policemen who seem to get fresher faced: more young people are running pubs, with the number of landlords aged 25 to 34 having risen by a quarter since 2012, according to research by Barclays. This in turn draws in a new, younger crowd of pub-goers for whom beers such as Bitter & Twisted, Stiff Upper Lip and Goldeneye Pale Ale are trendy and highly desirable.
Refreshing tax legislation
In 2002, the Labour government, with Gordon Brown as chancellor, introduced progressive beer duty – tax breaks for brewers below a certain size. “The choice, variety, creativity, innovation and proliferation of styles we’re now enjoying can all be traced back to that single fiscal measure,” explains Julian Grocock, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers.
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