UK: Independent Breweries Return to Pre-Pandemic Production Levels

In a promising turn for the craft beer industry, a freshly brewed report unveiled today indicates a robust resurgence in the production volumes of independent breweries. According to the SIBA Independent Beer Report 2024, these breweries have witnessed a hearty 14% uptick in average beer production volumes compared to the previous year, marking a triumphant return to pre-pandemic levels after a challenging four-year hiatus.

One notable highlight from the report is the substantial surge in cask beer production, boasting a remarkable 10% increase year-on-year. This growth underscores a fervent renaissance within the craft beer sphere, aligning with consumer preferences for locally crafted libations.

The comprehensive report draws insights from extensive surveying data collected from numerous independent craft breweries, providing a comprehensive overview of industry trends and dynamics. Key findings also incorporate industry analysis, commentary, and specially commissioned consumer research conducted by YouGov.

Andy Slee, Chief Executive of SIBA, remarked on the encouraging findings, stating, "Demand for local, independently brewed beer in the UK is strong, with independent brewers reporting production volumes up by fourteen percent, meaning they have returned to 2019 volumes again." However, Slee cautioned against complacency, citing ongoing financial pressures and rising costs as persistent challenges faced by many small independent breweries.

The report sheds light on shifting consumer preferences, with a notable uptick in the consumption of local craft beer. According to YouGov research, 55% of beer consumers now prefer local craft beer, showcasing a steady ascent from previous years. This places local craft beer on par with global lager in terms of consumer appeal.

At the top of the table British classics Stout, Best Bitter, and Pale Ale hold the first three places respectively, showing the demand for traditional beer styles remains strong.

“No and low alcohol beer is massively increasing in popularity and thanks to new technologies which make it easier to produce great -tasting low or no alcohol beer more independent breweries than ever are catering to this growing market,” says Andy Slee.

While the report celebrates several positive indicators for the industry, it also identifies areas of concern. Notably, only 30% of 18-24-year-olds reported ever drinking beer, signaling a potential generational shift towards other alcoholic beverages. Additionally, challenges such as access to finance and distribution remain obstacles to sustained growth within the sector.

Despite these challenges, the report offers reasons for optimism, including positive strides towards sustainability, a resilient brewer landscape, and a growing consumer base for craft beer. As the craft beer industry navigates these opportunities and challenges, stakeholders remain cautiously optimistic about its future trajectory.

To download the report in full click here 

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