Report Shows Positive Effect of Independent Breweries Felt by Communities Across the UK

Eight out of ten people in the UK believe that a well-run independent brewery has a positive effect on its local community, according to a new report published today.

The SIBA Craft Beer Report 2023 – which features new brewery survey data, industry analysis and commentary, as well specially commissioned consumer research via YouGov – shows more people than ever are discovering their local brewery bar or taproom, or buying direct from the source via a webshop.

This community spirit is a sentiment shared by brewers themselves, with a whopping 98% of SIBA brewers saying they consider their local community to be important to them.

“Our members sales footprint has transformed over recent years as brewers look to meet the growing local demand for quality independent craft beer. Over a quarter of independent brewer sales are now direct to consumers, with over 40% now running their own bar or taproom as well as seeing an increased trend in online sales.” Andy Slee, SIBA Chief Executive.

The SIBA Craft Beer Report also highlights some of the challenges the industry is facing, providing a post-Covid health check for a struggling on-trade, with beer sales via pubs yet to recover to previous levels.

“Beer sales are still well short of pre-pandemic levels, thanks to the stuttering recovery of the Nation’s pubs and the pressures on people’s spending from the cost of living crisis,” Andy added.

The report shows pub visits fell sharply in the last 12 months, with 20% of the population not visiting a pub at all – traditionally a critical outlet for local beers and independent breweries. Access to pubs is also a challenge for small brewers, with Global companies continuing to control the Nation’s beer taps;

“Small independent breweries lead the way in innovation – producing the UK’s most flavoursome, interesting and high quality beers – yet we only account for 6% of the UK beer market, which is still dominated by globally-owned, main stream brands.

It’s vital that small independent breweries are able to deliver the beers the research clearly shows are in-demand, whether that’s via their own taprooms and shops or via the vital pub trade.” Andy Slee, SIBA Chief Executive.

The SIBA Craft Beer Report 2023 has been officially launched today at BeerX UK in Liverpool, the UK’s biggest beer and brewing trade event. The report is published by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the UK’s leading trade association for independent craft breweries, representing over 700 brewing businesses.

SIBA Craft Beer Report 2023 summary


1. A sale direct to consumers, whether by pub, bar, website or taproom, is the most profitable route for most brewers. These sales seem to be growing fastest with over a quarter of all output now sold through these channels.
2. Cask beer is a fresh, hand-crafted product, sold in reusable containers, often in local communities. SIBA members appear to be leading cask beer recovery.
3. A growing number of consumers believe that genuine craft beer should be produced by an independent brewery. Only 3% believe it can be made by a global brewer.
4. Nine out of 10 SIBA members would recommend SIBA membership to a friend, which presents SIBA with a huge opportunity given we still represent less than half of all registered independent brewers.
5. Independent brewers are local heroes. Eight out of 10 consumers say a well-run independent brewery has a positive effect on its local community, and 98% of SIBA brewers consider their local community to be important to them. Two-thirds of SIBA brewers are planning to grow this year.


1. SIBA member breweries saw average production recover further in 2022, after the devastating impact of the pandemic in 2020, but it still remains -11% below 2019 levels.
2. Brewers were only able to increase their prices by 2%, which represents a real term fall in prices in an environment of double digit inflation.
3. There has been a significant fall in the overall number of consumers ever drinking beer, especially among women, and more than a fifth of consumers say they no longer drink any alcohol.
4. Pub visits fell sharply with more than a fifth of all consumers not visiting a pub in the last 12 months. This means broadening routes to market is essential for brewery survival.
5. The craft beer sector is still failing to make in-roads on the issue of inclusion and diversity, with a continued and very significant over-representation of white males in the workforce.