A boom in new brewery sites has slowed down dramatically in the last 12 months as multinational firms muscle in on the growing demand for craft beer.
Growing competition from large businesses has hindered smaller brewers from setting up new outlets, causing the growth in openings to hit a five-year low.
The total number of breweries increased by just eight in 2018, marking a sharp slowdown from 390 openings in the previous year.
According to accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, which produced the data, the craft beer market has become difficult for new entrants as "multinational brewers continue to buy and invest the more successful craft breweries."
Among the high profile mergers and acquisitions involving multinational businesses in the craft beer sector is the Fullers deal for Dark Star, a craft beer business in West Sussex, and Heineken's acquisition of stakes in Beavertown Brewery, Lagunitas and Brixton Brewery.
"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 buy," said James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young.
He added: "Craft breweries need to ensure their business model is s sustainable and profitable at an earlier stage and not just rely on the idea they’ll constantly be able to grow their way out of trouble."
The total number of UK breweries reached 2,274 at the end of 2018, rising from 1,352 five years ago.