In Brief

UK brewery numbers rise on back of craft beer surge

New microbreweries increasingly becoming acquisition targets, say UHY Hacker Young

The number of UK breweries has risen by eight per cent as the popularity of craft beers continue to surge, according to a new study.

Research by UHY Hacker Young says there are around 1,700 breweries in the country – and with drinkers are happy to pay premium prices for a luxury product, microbreweries are becoming increasingly profitable and targeted for acquisition, said the group's James Simmonds.

"Craft beer is leading the way in the surging popularity of artisan products and has pushed aside other brands in high street bars," he said. This has "transformed many microbreweries into highly profitable businesses for entrepreneurs looking for a niche position in the food and drinks market".

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: "Thanks to the popularity of our pint, we're now seeing a record number of microbreweries opening up across the country, bringing quality beer to communities across the nation and creating countless jobs and opportunities for our economy."

According to the Yorkshire Post, the growth in microbreweries has had extra impact on Leeds, which has "become a capital of craft beer," says Simon Jenkins, adding: "The number of breweries has increased exponentially in recent years."

It is a different story across the Atlantic. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that a proliferation of small breweries has left owners struggling to find enough specialty hops, contributing to a drop in sales of craft beer.

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