The number of breweries has stalled for the second year in a row as growth in the craft beer sector slows after a period of explosive growth, a new study suggests.
Accountancy group UHY Hacker Young said the total had fallen by one over the last year to 2,273 amid increased competition from multinational brewers, and a trend away from drinking beer among younger generations.
Multinationals have increased their market share by launching their own craft beer varieties, as well as acquiring many of the emerging independent craft breweries, said the report.
UHY Hacker Young predicted the craft beer market may be reaching “saturation point” among its existing core customer market.
James Simmonds of UHY Hacker Young, said: “Stalling growth in the number of UK breweries is not the whole story, with the UK remaining one of the world leaders in craft beer.
“In order to help the sector bounce back as quickly as possible from coronavirus, the Government should consider expanding the Small Brewer Relief to include a wider group of breweries.
“An increase in the level of business rate relief for brewers and pubs would also be welcome.
“Brewers should make use of this support available to them to scale up their online platforms, in order to increase their online sales directly to customers.
“Consumer habits are likely to change even after the lockdown has ended, and brewers need to be able to capitalise on where consumers are now looking to buy their goods.”