The number jumped 18% in just one year from 1,692 in 2015 to 1,994 at the end of 2016, the research from accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young revealed.
Overall the statistics showed that the number of craft breweries rose by 64% in the past five years, from 1,218 in 2012.
UHY Hacker Young said that micro breweries had also benefitted from the Progressive Beer Duty tax break, introduced in 2002, allowing breweries producing less than 5,000 hectolitres, to pay 50% less beer duty than their larger counterparts.
Attract investors into the sector
The accountants said that a number of high profile mergers and acquisitions continued to attract investors into the sector to help fund microbreweries.
In addition, other private equity funds were increasingly looking to capitalise on the growing success of breweries. For example, L Catterton, a private equity fund backed by LVMH, recently invested in the Scottish craft brewer Innis & Gunn.
“The craft beer boom has reversed around 70 years of consolidation in the brewing industry. There is plenty of growth still to come. However, the majors are beginning to make a fightback by acquiring craft brewers and launching their own artisan style brands like Hop House 13 Lager,” said James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young.
“The craft brewers can’t afford to rest on their laurels they will need to work hard to get their product into that limited shelf-space and bar-space.”
Craft breweries opened in 2016
UHY Hacker Young gave some examples of new craft breweries opened last year, including:
- Bellfield Brewery, launched March 2016 in Edinburgh – the UK’s first dedicated gluten-free craft brewery with beer made in small batches using traditional methods
- Toast Ale, launched January 2016 in London – makes craft ales from leftover bread, as part of a campaign to reduce food waste
- Verdant, launched January 2016 in Falmouth – started as homebrew when a group of friends wanted more hoppy, ‘hazy’ beers than those available in Cornwall