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UK has most craft breweries per head

The craft beer revolution is taking hold in more countries across the globe. Consumer demand and a growing passion for craft brewing mean you can now get an IPA in India or Iceland, a Saison from Belgium or Brazil, and an APA from the U.S. or Ukraine.

According to a new survey released by Alltech and The Brewers Journal, the number of breweries worldwide has surpassed 19,000, representing 209 countries and territories surveyed. Some 17,732, or 94 percent, of these breweries can be defined as craft beer producers. For the purpose of the survey, a craft brewer is defined as: having fewer than 30 staff; or producing less than 5,000 hectolitres per year; or more than 50 percent of the brewery being privately owned.

The craft beer movement has created a global surge in the number of new breweries opening, with the US and the UK alone seeing a greater than 10 percent increase in the number of craft breweries year-on-year. This has drastically changed the fonts and fridges in pubs and bars on every continent. The thrill of innovation, experimentation and community engagement is creating a new market for brewers and retailers.

The largest craft beer producer remains the US with 4,750 craft breweries, of a total 5,025 breweries. However, the UK has the most craft breweries per capita with 25 breweries per million people, compared with 15 in the U.S. and 16 in Germany.

“The US and the UK fermented their lead in craft beer production as a result of legislation that paved the way for craft brewers,” said Tim Sheahan, editor of The Brewers Journal. “In the US, the pivotal moment was in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter allowed home brewing for the first time since Prohibition. The UK’s watershed moment came in 2002 with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s progressive beer duty legislation that reduced beer duty to nil for breweries producing less than 5,000 hectolitres.”

Although the US is recognized as the originator of the recent craft beer movement, and has heavily influenced the modern take on traditional styles, there are more craft breweries in Europe than North America. The top ten craft beer producing countries are: the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.

The global momentum behind the craft beer craze has led Alltech, an international company with a brewing and distilling division renowned for its Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale®, to leverage its worldwide presence and create opportunities for craft brewers to network and showcase their creations.

Alltech hosts multiple beer festivals around the globe, the largest of which is the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair in Dublin, Ireland. Now in its 5th year, the event featured 38 breweries from five countries and attracted more than 7,000 attendees. The event has since been mimicked in other Alltech locations, including Kentucky, Canada, Brazil and China.

“It is fun to see what all of the other brewers bring to these festivals,” said Ken Lee, master brewer for Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. “There is a real spirit of collaboration among craft brewers, and, for consumers, perhaps that sense of community is just as appealing as the diversity of flavor.”