The Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide 2019 reports a resurgence of independent breweries, with many putting social responsibility at the core of their business.
Since its first publication in 1973, the Guide has annually examined the changes facing Britain’s beer and pub scene, which has seen the number of UK breweries rise to 2,500 — 1,750 of which produce real ale. It reports that many new breweries are placing a greater emphasis on giving back to the local community by supporting charities or providing training and employment opportunities.
Smaller brewers are also becoming increasingly environmentally aware; introducing new processes to reduce their carbon footprint, and responding to consumer calls for more information on ingredients and niche products. This has resulted in more gluten-free, vegan-friendly and low-alcohol beer options than ever before, as many work to fill previous gaps in the market by creating recipes for specific audiences.
Some examples from the Guide include:
- Ignition in Sydenham, South London, which employs and trains people with learning difficulties to brew beer
- The Tap Social Movement in Oxford, which provides effective rehabilitation for people serving prison sentences
- Keswick Brewery in the Lake District, which uses sheep wool to insulate the brewing vessels and reduce its environmental impact
- Stratford-upon-Avon Brewery utilising a small solar farm, wind turbines and bore holes for their brewing, and giving all spent hops and malts to their pigs
The Good Beer Guide 2019 also reports that many of the country’s pubs are following suit to cater for new audiences and encourage consumers to try an expanding range of exciting brews.
Some offer a variety of glass sizes to give visitors greater opportunities to try the huge, ever-changing range of real ales available. Others have diversified from the ‘traditional’ pub to become micropubs, tap rooms, gastropubs and community-run pubs to cater to all tastes.
Tom Stainer, Chief Communications Officer at the Campaign for Real Ale says, “It’s fantastic to see such sweeping changes across the brewing and pub scene over the last few years. Brewing has become much more collaborative and socially minded for many brewers, with a new emphasis on giving back to local communities and creating beers suitable to all tastes and preferences. Many have even extended their offerings with dedicated tap bars, offering a direct route to market for many consumers.
“Pubs meanwhile have been keeping pace. The emergence of gastropubs and community-run pubs has helped to diversify the traditional pub offering to make them more welcoming to all sectors of society. In addition, micropubs have played an important role in bringing real ale to new places, filling gaps on high streets, improving choice for drinkers and providing a catalyst for real ale revival.”