A microbrewery is a brewery that produces less than 15,000 beer barrels a year. These breweries will often have a pub on the premises and will concentrate on the quality of the beer as opposed to the price of the product.
The modern picture of a microbrewery
The growth of these craft pubs and as they are otherwise known, has increased from the 1970’s. In an era where the large multi-national brewery are becoming more and more dominant, these smaller breweries have fitted into an area of the market that has been ignored.
The larger breweries have been concentrating so much on the major brands so that the smaller, local beers have been squeezed out of the markets. Creation of groups such as CAMRA (campaign for real ale) has brought public attention to the plight of the original beers. This has resulted in the micro brewing industry filling a gap in the market that has been created.
In a way it is a return to the most traditional forms of breweries when the local ale house would brew its own beer and then advertise to the local population when the ale was ready by the use of a hop pole. Micro brewing is a strange mixture of modern technology making the most of the traditional brewing techniques.
In the UK there are now more breweries than there has been for 70 years. This is made even more remarkable by the fact that in the less decade there has been a drop in the numbers of people who have been drinking beer in the country.
With over 1500 breweries open, more and more are experimenting with new ingredients that are producing new flavors. The smaller brewers are now exploiting overseas markets. Thornbridge Brewery has doubled its exports in the last year and exports now take care of 35% of its turnover.
Camden Town Brewery grew rapidly
The recent success of the these smaller breweries has resulted in immediate responses from the larger companies The Camden Town Brewery was created by Jasper Cuppaidge from the Horseshoe pub he had bought in Hampstead in 2006.
Starting with a family recipe he took 3 years to refine his brewing skills before naming the brewery the Camden Town Brewery. The operation expanded after he started to rent 5 railway arches next to Kentish Town West Station. “Hells lager” soon became the brewery’s signature drink and the brewery became so successful that it was sold to Anheuser Busch InBev for 85 million pounds in 2015. This is not the only microbrewery to have been bought out the by largest multinational brewing company in the world. It has so far bought out 10 of these smaller craft companies in the United States alone.
It has been so aware of the impact that the microbreweries are having that its flagship company, Budweiser even produced an anti-craft beer advertising campaign. The adverts which ran for two years mocked both the beers and those who drank it but wisely the campaign has recently stopped.
The massive growth in microbreweries has had a massive impact on the brewing industry globally. For the consumers it has been really good news as it has seen a return to the production of traditional beers plus experimentation in brewing richer tasting ales. In a period of reduced sales for the industry this area has been an undoubted success story.