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8th May 2024

Beer from independent breweries returns to pre-pandemic levels after 4 tough years of recovery for the sector

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A new report published today shows average beer production volumes amongst independent breweries have risen by 14% compared to 2023, returning to pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 4 years. Cask beer has also seen a big increase, with volumes up 10% year-on-year, according to the SIBA Independent Beer Report 2024.

New surveying data of hundreds of independent craft breweries forms a key part of the findings in the SIBA Independent Beer Report 2024, which also features industry analysis and commentary, as well as specially commissioned consumer research via YouGov. It was this YouGov research which showed a growing consumer pull for independent craft beer, with 55% of beer consumers saying they now drink local craft beer, up from 47% who said they drank it in 2023, placing it on level-pegging with Global lager.

“Demand for local, independently brewed beer in the UK is strong, with independent brewers reporting production volumes up by fourteen percent, meaning they have returned to 2019 volumes again. The short-term issue for small independent breweries isn‘t demand; it’s profitability, rising costs and financial pressures such as lingering Covid debt. Far too many breweries are simply trying to survive rather than thrive, so whilst there are many positives signs highlighted in the report, for now it’s cautious optimism.” Andy Slee SIBA Chief Executive

The SIBA Independent Beer Report highlights 43% of independent brewers citing ‘survival’ as their top priority, though this is significantly down (-20%) from 2023 where a majority of 63% were just trying to survive.

Another red flag for the beer industry are the figures showing just 30% of 18-24-year-olds ever drink beer, falling behind wines and spirits, and almost a quarter of consumers (24%) say they never visit their local pub.

The report also tracks brewing trends, such as which beer styles breweries are producing – most notably lager has continued its rise up the charts to number 4 this year, with 56% of independent brewers now producing a craft lager, up +5% on the 2023 year’s survey and the biggest growth category for 2024. Also on the up is non-alcoholic beer, with a +2% growth taking the number of breweries now making an alcohol free beer to 8% .

“No and low alcohol beer is massively increasing in popularity and thanks to new technologies which make it easier to produce great -tasting low or no alcohol beer more independent breweries than ever are catering to this growing market.” Andy Slee, SIBA Chief Executive.

At the top of the table British classics Stout, Best Bitter, and Pale Ale hold the first three places respectively, showing the demand for traditional beer styles remains strong.


1. SIBA members are reporting beer production volumes up +14% since our last report, overtaking pre- pandemic levels for the first time, with cask volumes up +10% year-on-year.

2. 65% of SIBA members say they have made positive steps towards becoming more sustainable in the last 12 months.

3. Despite reported doom and gloom, and some high profile casualties, we have only 1% fewer brewers in the UK today than we had a year ago.

4. 55% of beer consumers now drink local craft beer, up from 47% who said they drank it in our 2023 YouGov poll. This puts it level with the 55% who drink global lager.

5. Although 43% of SIBA members cite “survival” as their main priority, this is down -20% from 63% last year.


1. 43% of SIBA members claiming “survival” is their main priority is still way too high.

2. Only 30% of 18-24-year-olds EVER drink beer, falling behind wines and spirits, and almost a quarter of consumers (24%) say they NEVER visit their local pub.

3. Distribution of independent British beer in tied pubs falls woefully behind the latent demand for it.

4. Access to finance remains a challenge and is stifling further growth.

5. The average selling price for keg beer in to the on-trade has risen only +6% since 2019, and some routes, such as wholesale, have actually seen prices fall.


To download the report in full: Please click here (low res / high res)

For supporting beer and brewing images: Please click here

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