Friday, 4 October 2013

Is Craft Beer a Bubble?: The Session #80

I'm making a rare foray into a beer bloggers institution today as today's question is something I've pondered already.

Though in the UK 'Craft Beer' has a slightly contentious connotation I'm simply taking it a meaning microbreweries in this context. 

The huge rise in the number of breweries in recent years has made many people concerned about what the future holds. As pubs close and overall beer sales continue to decline how can the number of breweries keep on rising rapidly? Will the rising wave have to end in a crash?

I don't think so. One thing I learnt when working at a microbrewery was just how small many of them were. Many of them employed only one or two people and in the grand scheme of things the amount of beer they can produce is really a drop in the ocean. This was brought home to me when I saw that Fullers, a reasonably size but not massive brewery, produces as much beer as the 600+ SIBA members combined.  

When I think back to the dark days when most news you heard about breweries was the latest closures there must be a huge amount of capacity lost from shut regional breweries that the rise in micros hasn't come close to equaling.

I'm sure some breweries will close. And rapid growth in brewery number can't go on for ever. But I see no reason for a bubble to burst.


  1. Lets hope its a plastic bubble with more longevity than soap! :)

  2. Yep, a lot of people (including some who should know better) confuse (micro)brewery numbers with volume.