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Press Release

12/11/2021

CAMRA’s iconic Good Beer Guide shows industry’s resilience in the face of pandemic

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  • Nationwide brewery numbers have increased after a drop last year, showing the highest number of breweries on record
  • Foreword this year written by singer and publican James Blunt, who encourages consumers to support their local pubs 
  • Different regions reporting mixed bag of closures and reopenings two years on from the start of the coronavirus pandemic
  • Brewers not out of the woods yet, with issues around costs of goods, lack of business rate relief and Small Brewers’ Relief reform

CAMRA have published the 49th edition of the best-selling The Good Beer Guide, with contributors encouraging readers to support their local pubs and breweries in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Good Beer Guide is CAMRA’s premier publication, featuring the very best pubs to find a great pint in the UK. Nationally, the 2022 Guide has found the total number of independent UK breweries has risen to 1,902 in 2021 from 1,816 in 2020* – showing the highest number of breweries recorded in the Guide since publication began in 1974, and a national increase after recording the first decline in brewery numbers since 2008 in the previous edition. However, while 138 breweries have opened this year and are newly listed in the Guide, 75 have closed, with some regions reporting higher or equal numbers of closures compared to new breweries.

While last year’s edition of the Guide captured data pre-COVID, the 2022 edition shows the ramifications of 18 months of lockdown had on the industry. CAMRA has been calling on the Government to go further with its support package for pubs and breweries, to help mitigate the damage done to a sector in recovery, and still scarred by extended closures.

The Guide, which surveys 4,500 pubs across the UK, is considered the definitive beer drinker’s guide to the very best pints in the most picturesque and friendly pubs. Despite being hampered by lockdowns and restrictions in the early part of this year, thousands of independent volunteers have worked together to compile this year’s entries, helping to identify significant trends and themes locally and nationally.

CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said: “After the struggles of the past 18 months for the industry, it is great that The Good Beer Guide figures are showing the resilience of pubs and brewers in the face of strife – an increase in brewery numbers after they dipped last year for the first time, as well as over 500 new pub entries. This is great to see, especially coupled with the news from the Government’s latest Budget, including the announcement of a new, lower rate of duty for draught beer and cider.

“However, the industry is still vulnerable in the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdowns. Breweries still face issues around costs of goods, lack of business rate relief and silence from the Government on Small Brewers’ Relief reform. We are calling on the Government to make sure the new draught duty rate applies to containers 20L and up so that all our small and independent brewers can benefit.”

The foreword for this year’s edition of The Good Beer Guide was written by best-selling singer and owner of the Fox & Pheasant pub in Chelsea James Blunt, who has thrown his support behind the Great British pub and reflected on the industry’s struggles during the coronavirus pandemic.

He highlights the importance of pubs to communities and encourages Brits to get back to the pub to support their locals, writing: “Whilst, in recent years, there might have been a trend for people to drink cheap supermarket beer at home, those people have been locked away for the best part of a year, and now those people want out. They can taste real beer from the tap, and food cooked by a pro, and they can meet legally and joyfully.”

The Good Beer Guide 2022 is now available from the CAMRA shop at  https://shop1.camra.org.uk/product/the-good-beer-guide-2022 and there is an updated app version available for download on both iOS and Android device. CAMRA members can order the guide at a reduced rate of £12.00 + p&p. You can become a member and help save pubs for just £28.50* a year by visiting https://join.camra.org.uk/

CAMRA Press Office:

press@camra.org.uk

01727 337863

About The Good Beer Guide:

CAMRA’s The Good Beer Guide is the original independent guide to good beer and good pubs. Now in its 49th edition, the fully revised and updated Guide recommends pubs in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and offshore islands that serve the best real ale. From country inns through to micropubs and taprooms – if you love pubs, don’t leave home without The Good Beer Guide.

The Good Beer Guide is researched by independent volunteers across the UK with every pub featured visited at least once for assessment. It is the UK’s best-selling beer and pub guide, based on combined trade and direct sales.

The Good Beer Guide 2022 is published on Friday, 12 November 2021 and is available to order at https://shop1.camra.org.uk/product/the-good-beer-guide-2022

Alternatively, discover all of the pubs listed, and more, with CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide app, available on both iOS and Android devices at https://gbgapp.camra.org.uk

About CAMRA:  

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with over 160,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.

*The Good Beer Guide 2022 went to print on 4 October 2022. The brewery closure data captures information up to the end of September 2022.

Year # of breweries
1974 171
1983 209
1993 254
1997 389
1998 399
1999 435
2000 429
2001 448
2002 444
2003 465
2008 668
2009 711
2010 840
2011 1009
2012 1147
2013 1285
2015 1424
2016 1540
2017 1684
2018 1755
2019 1823
2020 1816
2021 1902

Ends

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