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Brewers get crafty

On 21/08/13 by Simon Goldrick (Policy & Information Officer)

The number of breweries in the UK has more than doubled over the last decade, with hundreds on display at last week’s Great British Beer Festival. Adventurous drinkers have fallen in love with new styles such as American pale ales and more classic brews including stouts and IPAs have been given a new lease of life. Regional breweries, from Adnams to Wadworth’s, have recently invested in microbreweries or pilot plants to create the flexibility needed to produce smaller batches and develop new recipes for a smaller market than catered for by their flagship brands.

In 2012 Brains Brewery invested in a 15-barrel brewery and launched the Brains Craft Brewery brand initially developing a series of IPAs in collaboration with beer writers, including Barry Island IPA. This and their Boilermaker have been highly successful, gaining supermarket listings with Morrisons and Tesco’s. At GBBF they featured, possibly the most outlandish beer present, their bacon and chocolate A-Pork-Alypse porter.

The year before Wadworth launched its Beer Kitchen range of beers including an IPA, a Belgian wit beer and an espresso stout, and are a great accompaniment to any meal. The IPA made a starring match with the medallion of beef at last year’s BBPA Annual Dinner.

At over 300 and 200 years old, respectively, Shepherd Neame and Harveys are building on their tradition with new pilot plants being used not to just to develop new recipes but to educate staff, customers and consumers. For last autumn’s Wandsworth Common Halloween Beer Festival a one-off 666 beer at 6% ABV with six malts and six hops was brewed by Shepherd Neame at their microbrewery. And earlier this month the winner of the Beer Genie ‘Beer Moment Competition’ won the chance to brew a beer on Harvey’s micro brewery site, showcasing the versatile nature of a smaller brewery.

It is a hugely exciting time for beer drinkers and the above are clear examples of the current levels of investment in UK brewing and industry development and how traditional breweries are combining their heritage with experimentation.


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