Independent British brewers flourish

Local, meaning mostly smaller, breweries are outperforming the overall beer market in Great Britain. According to the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) there was a 16.8% average increase in individual brewers’ sales turnover.

“In 2009, through the worst of the recession, local brewers record volume growth of 3.75%,” the report states, and “those in production throughout 2008 and 2009 grow 3% year-on-year.”

It attributes the success to several factors, “including the continuing strength of the real ale movement, the boost given by Smaller Brewers Relief, the success of SIBA’s affiliated commercial Access to Market operations, and the modern purchasing trends of an increasing proportion of consumers, who demand distinctive quality and the provenance of true local produce.”

It also points out that while the current industry “is deeply rooted in proud British traditions” that two-thirds of its 700 members have been in business less than 10 years.

SIBA has 443 full brewing members. More than 98% are “local brewers” or “microbrewers.” In fact, more than half brew fewer than 1,000 hectoliters (about 850 US barrels) per years.

Although the report is long on good news it also includes SIBA’s pre-election manifesto, which calls for continued backing for tax breaks offered by Progressive Beer Duty (PBD). It calls the beer duty escalator to be canceled, beer duty frozen, and lower duty rates for lower strength beers.