The total number of breweries in the UK has risen in the second quarter of 2023, according to figures released today from the SIBA UK Brewery Tracker. 

brewery brewhouse

Covering the period from the start of April to the end of June, the SIBA UK Brewery Tracker shows the net brewery number across the UK grew slightly (by two) over that three-month period.

“Seeing the net brewery number rise across the UK is not only a sign that confidence in the sector remains, but that the demand for quality locally-made beer continues to rise,” said SIBA chief executive, Andy Slee.

“However, there has been a significant number of brewery closures and change of ownership, with some consolidation and buyouts alongside new businesses opening. So whilst modest growth is ahead of expectations and common perception, it’s not quite the overly positive picture that the headline figures paint.”

The new opening figures highlight the consumer demand for craft beer and the growth in popularity of brewery taprooms, with recent consumer polling showing eight out of ten people believe a well-run independent brewery has a positive effect on its local community. And that community spirit is a sentiment shared by brewers, with 98% of SIBA brewers saying they consider their local community to be important to them.

Andy added: “We are still seeing more and more people discovering the importance of supporting their local businesses, and in particular their local brewery taproom, which in many areas are a hugely important community asset.

“All of this said, trading remains challenging, with input cost inflation running ahead of prices and the other well documented issues facing the broader hospitality trade.”

The South East saw the largest increase in brewery numbers, three, with the Midlands and the East of England also in growth with a rise of two in both regions. Wales had a modest rise of one.

The North West, West of England, and South West all ended the second quarter of the year with no net change in brewery numbers, whereas Scotland had the largest decrease, down by three, followed by Northern Ireland, two down, and the North East, one less.

The SIBA UK Brewery Tracker is compiled by full-time professional staff employed by the Society of Independent Brewers and is cross-referenced by SIBA regional directors in each of the eight SIBA regions across the UK. The organisation considers a number of factors and data sources alongside its own data analysis and extensive research, including, but not limited to, HMRC registrations.