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Hopes high for British brewers

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) annual members’ survey, the results of which are being presented at SIBA’s BeerX in Sheffield today, paints a confident picture for the brewing industry, with four out of five brewers expecting their turnover to increase in 2016 and one out of six breweries making ambitious plans to double turnover by 2018.

mike benner SIBA MD2The fact that SIBA’s membership has now reached 850 independent breweries is also being cited as a positive sign for the industry.

“More and more drinkers are discovering the huge range of fantastic beer brewed by Britain’s independent craft brewers. SIBA’s members brewed 532 million pints in 2015 and this demand for quality, locally brewed beer has helped our membership grow to 850 brewers, approximately 60% of all breweries in Britain” said Mike Benner, SIBA’s Managing Director.

Growth in keg, canned and bottled beer

SIBA say that whilst traditional cask beer still makes up the majority of the beer being brewed by their members, there is a growing demand for quality beer in other formats such as bottle, can and keg. Currently just over a quarter of SIBA’s members produce some keg beer, something which is sure to grow in coming years.

Mike continued, “Although the majority of our members’ beer is brewed in cask (78.9% in 2015) it is exciting to see that more production is planned for excellent, flavoursome beer brewed in keg, bottle and can in 2016 (predicted 23.4%). These formats now allow independent brewers the opportunity to offer great beer to new markets that may not have a cellar such as bars, restaurants and hotels. It is definitely an exciting time for Britain’s independent breweries.”

Brewers meeting demand for more variety 

SIBA’s British Beer Report also shows that brewers are increasing the number of beers they brew regularly. In 2014 29% were brewing seven regular beers or more, but in 2015 this grew to 34%. In addition to the regular brews, 1 in 4 breweries brew more than 10 seasonal beers a year.

Mr Benner added, “The range of styles now available is staggering and we’re seeing our members lead the way in expanding what people think of when they envisage ‘British beer’ – with everything from sour Belgian styles and powerfully hopped American style IPAs, to English classics such as Barley Wine and Imperial Stout being brewed in the UK right now.”


The report also showed that despite SIBA members selling over 80% of their beer within a 40 mile radius, 16.8% are now exporting, with an additional 53.6% stating they want to export in the future.


It seems that the renewed popularity of beer is also leading to a renewed confidence amongst those running craft breweries, which SIBA say means more jobs being created in the industry over the next 12 months. 73% of independent brewers say they expect to recruit at least one new employee over the next 12 months, which equates to 930 new jobs being created solely by their members by next year.


SIBA’s membership has grown by 49 breweries in the last 12 months from 786 to 850.

Dr Ignazio Cabras from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, who conducted the research,  commented,“Figures gathered from the survey reveal the good state of health of SIBA members and of the British beer and brewing industry overall. Levels of production and employment are continuing to increase, with younger workers probably benefiting most from the training schemes offered within the industry. Breweries are also increasingly looking overseas to place their beers, and this is likely to bring multiple opportunities for the wider supply chain which supports the industry, including increasing the level of recognition and appeal of British craft beers worldwide”.

To read the full report please visit www.siba.co.uk/beerreport2016