The U.K. has the most breweries per capita: 25 per million people
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 brewery 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 U.S. and the U.K. 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 U.S. with 4,750 craft breweries out of a total of 5,025 breweries. However, the U.K. 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 U.S. and the U.K. 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 U.S., the pivotal point was in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter allowed home brewing for the first time since Prohibition. The U.K.’s watershed moment came in 2002 with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s progressive beer duty legislation, which reduced beer duty to nil for breweries producing less than 5,000 hectolitres.”
Although the U.S. is recognised 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 10 craft beer-producing countries are the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.
“It is great to see so many different brews being developed for these festivals. In Ireland, we found that the majority of seasonals were launched for the first time at the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair,” said Gearoid Cahill, European director of brewing science, Alltech. “There is a real spirit of collaboration among craft brewers, and, for consumers, the opportunity to meet their favourite master brewer face to face offers a memorable experience.”