Big Brewers - Crafty? Yes. Craft beer? No.
The industry is in an interesting place at the moment, with the current number of breweries at its highest level since the 1930s. According to CAMRA this number has increased about 8% from the 2015 level of 1424, with 139 breweries opening in 2015.
We have lost a few, like Celt Experience for business reasons and others, in my eyes, to the circling sharks of the larger multi-national companies, such as InBev’s takeover of the Camden Town or SAB Miller’s takeover of Meantime.
But it shows that there is definite interest in both the start-up and development of the industry, which is so vital to the continual evolution of pub industry. Indeed, the industry as a whole has been perceived to be ripe for takeovers as breweries are seen as profitable and larger companies are looking for acquisitions.
Also, the fact that the bigger companies are circling should be seen as a credit to all of the brewers; their hard work and passion have affected the turnover and profit of the ‘mega-brewers’ and these purchases are in retaliation. Along with the fact that the ‘mega- brewers’ are now releasing craft products to jump on the marketing bandwagon of that dreadful word show again be taken as a compliment.
To be honest, I hope the brewery owners will remain strong and turn down the cash that I’m sure will be waved in front of them in the coming months.
Whilst at the Nettle and The Volley, we will always support the independent and forward thinking breweries, and we wish them well in increasing their volumes and sales and hopefully they keep adding to the number of fermentation tanks for many years to come. Once the issue of ownership passes from the passionate to the accountants of multi-nationals, who only answer to shareholders and pension fund managers, that’s we could potentially see the industry on a slide, and beers will start disappearing from our trusty beer boards.
I, for one, hope it remains at just Camden and Meantime who turn to the dark side (or should that be that be shiny, plastic notes side), for many years to come.