Monday 3 October 2016 12:00 am

The UK’s still got a taste for craft beer as number of breweries rises 65 per cent in five years

The UK’s love for craft beer isn’t showing any signs of waning. According to accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, the total number of breweries increased eight per cent in the last year, from 1,558 in 2014 to 1,692 in 2015. Over the past five years, the number of breweries has shot up 65 per cent, from 1,026 in 2010.

UHY Hacker Young said that craft beer has increasingly been seen as a luxury item by consumers. The boost in popularity and global reputation has in turn sparked a demand for craft breweries – established names such as Brewdog and the Camden Town Brewery (which was snapped up by AB InBev in December) have been joined by newer upstarts such as Long Arm Brewing, Bradford Brewery and Bullfinch Brewery trying to make waves in the competitive market.

UHY Hacker Young added that as a result of this premium labelling, consumers are more willing to cough up cash for craft beer than a more mainstream brand.

“Craft beer is leading the way in the surging popularity of artisan products and has pushed aside other brands in high street bars,” said James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young. “This increasing popularity has transformed many microbreweries into highly profitable businesses for entrepreneurs looking for a niche position in the food and drinks market.”

Simmonds also noted that microbreweries were increasingly cropping up on the radar of larger breweries as acquisition targets. “It is likely that larger breweries will continue to show more and more interest in the smaller breweries that are popping up around the UK so they can benefit from the interest in craft beer.”

The Camden Town Brewery’s sale to AB InBev caused a backlash when it was announced, with craft beer fans criticising the independent brewer’s decision to become part of the world’s biggest beer company.