10 May 2019

Craft brewery openings in 2018 at lowest rate in five years

United Kingdom | Looks like the craft beer boom has stalled in the past year, with only eight breweries opening compared with 390 in 2017, according to a survey by the accounting firm UHY Hacker Young.

As Big Brewers like AB-InBev, Heineken, Lion and Asahi have muscled in on the UK’s craft brewing sector by buying up several of the more successful brands, the growth in the total number of breweries was the slowest in five years.

UHY Hacker Young’s report reveals that there were 2,274 breweries at the end of 2018, up from 1,352 in 2013.

Five years ago the sector was still in its “gold rush” stage, the report claims, making it easier for new entrants to quickly gain market share. But with the industry maturing, it is now much harder for start-ups to gain a foothold. “We’re not saying that the market is shrinking, just the number of players is consolidating and sales growth is going to be harder to come by,” said James Simmonds, a partner at UHY Hacker Young.

Camden Town Brewery was sold to AB-InBev in 2015 in a deal reputedly worth GBP 85 million (USD 133 million). Last year, Fuller’s purchased 100 percent of Dark Star, a craft brewer from West Sussex, for an undisclosed sum, before selling itself to Asahi earlier this year for GBP 250 million (USD 390 million). Dutch brewer Heineken has snapped up stakes in breweries Beavertown and Brixton (both in London), while Australia’s brewer Lion took over Huddersfield’s Magic Rock as well as London’s Fourpure, and Carlsberg bought London Fields.

Craft brewery openings in the UK (2013 to 2018) (Source: UHY Hacker Young)


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