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18th March 2024

Insolvencies of breweries jump 82% in the last year – 69 brewers go under

  • Industry hit by rising inflation and cost of living
  • Smaller craft breweries being hit the hardest

The number of UK breweries going insolvent has jumped 82% in the last year, rising from 38 in 2022 to 69 in the year ending December 31 2023* says Mazars, the international audit, tax and advisory firm.

Mazars says that a large portion of the insolvencies are of smaller craft breweries that have suffered from an oversaturated market, high interest rates and soaring inflation.

The rise in interest rates has made it more expensive to lease brewing equipment and inflation has pushed up many of the biggest costs to brewers such as electricity prices, hops and wage bills.

As the cost of living crisis rages on, some consumers have turned away from the ‘premium’ beers produced by smaller craft breweries in attempt to curb spending.

Mazars says that the craft beer market has become increasingly crowded throughout the last decade. Now many craft brewers are competing for a place in a shrinking market as consumers cut costs.

Many craft breweries have been unable to expand past local markets, restricting their profitability.

Paul Maloney, Associate Director at Mazars says: “Despite the popularity of craft beer and ‘hipster’ independent breweries, the cost-of-living crisis is continuing to take its toll on brewers.”

“With a lot of consumers tightening their belts, cutting costs by buying a mass-market brand lager instead of a craft beer is a relatively easy thing to do.”

In comparison to large beer producers, small breweries tend to suffer from limited routes to market and lack of distribution channels to consumers. These companies may rely heavily on patronage from their local community, including bars, pubs, and restaurants as buyers. As financial challenges impact consumers, fewer craft breweries are able to financially support themselves.

Paul Maloney says, “For smaller brewers – as opposed to mass market manufacturers – regular local customers make up a lot of their sales. If those sales drop off, they can face financial difficulties very quickly.”

Examples of breweries that entered administration in the past year include Brew by Numbers, the Greenwich-based brewery which is listed as one of the Top 100 Breweries in the World by RateBeer. Additionally, North Yorkshire’s Black Sheep and Liverpool’s Love Lane Brewery both went into administration in 2023.

* Source: Insolvency Service



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About Mazars

Mazars is an internationally integrated partnership, specialising in audit, accountancy, advisory, tax and legal services*. Operating in over 90 countries and territories around the world, we draw on the expertise of more than 42,000 professionals – 26,000+ in Mazars’ integrated partnership and 16,000+ via the Mazars North America Alliance – to assist clients of all sizes at every stage in their development.

*where permitted under applicable country laws.

In the UK, Mazars has approximately 130 partners and over 2,250 employees, and is ranked one of the top 10 firms nationally.

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