British brewery numbers soar

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Britain has more small breweries than any other major industrialised nation, according to the Good Beer Guide.

Despite falling beer sales and pub closures running at a rate of 50 a week, 71 breweries were established in the last year alone, capitalise on demand for quirkier ales. Of the 711 breweries in the UK, West Yorkshire has the most (34), followed by Norfolk (31), Derbyshire and North Yorkshire (both 28) and Devon (27).

Among the new breweries is Morrissey Fox, founded by the actor Neil Morrissey at Marton cum Grafton, near York, and Mill Green, which brews beer with energy from solar panels behind the White Horse in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz said the nationwide total of breweries made the UK "undisputed top brewing country in the world".

"Britain has more small craft breweries per head of population than all other major industrialised countries; but it also offers tremendous choice," he said.

"While most other countries offer mainly mainstream lagers, Britain has enormous diversity – milds, bitters, strong ales, porters, stouts, barley wines, old ales, Christmas ales, spring beers, golden ales and harvest ales to name just a few. This rebirth of British brewing is due to the pioneering work of the Campaign for Real Ale – there are now more than twice as many breweries in Britain than when the campaign was launched in 1971 – and to the enthusiasm and innovation of independent brewers."

The guide features 1,297 new pub entries, but says goodbye to some old favourites that have shouted last orders for the last time, including the Jolly Anglers in Reading, Berkshire, and the Hope Poles, at Risbury in Herefordshire.