Britain has now trumped Germany as the brewing capital of the world, with an additional 170 breweries starting in the UK over the past 12 months, as local and artisan beers boom in popularity.

The number of breweries has grown by 15% over the past year, taking the total number to 1,285 – 25 over Germany, who had previously claimed the proud title of top brewing nation.

The number of breweries in the UK grew sharply after 2002 when tax relief for small brewers was introduced by the Labour government at the time.

Younger drinkers are also converting to real ale, boosting the popularity of the previously considered ‘old man’s’ beverage, according to a survey by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The editor of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, which was published this morning, said:

“Real ale is the only success story in a declining beer market. New breweries, making hand-crafted beers, continue to come on stream, while many long-standing regional and family breweries are expanding with new equipment and new brands. Real ale has almost doubled its market share over the past decade.”

Beer sales have been in decline over the past decade, with consumption per capita down 1.7% in 2013 compared to the previous year. However, figures show that beer sales soared by 9.5% between April and June this year, the highest level since 1997.

Much of this recovery has been attributed to the rise in popularity of craft beers.

Photo by Alan English