1. ITV Report

Brewery boom in Wales as eleven open in a year

Welsh breweries are thriving at a time when many pubs are struggling or have been forced to close Photo: AP Photo/Steve Helber

At a time when many pubs are struggling, it seems Welsh breweries are thriving.

Eleven new breweries have opened up here in the last twelve months.

And across the UK, 158 breweries have opened up in the space of a year - the highest rate of new openings ever recorded in the Good Beer Guide’s 40-year history.

There are now more than a thousand breweries in operation across the UK - the highest number for over 70 years.

The Campaign for Real Ale says the figures are ‘astonishing’ at a time when hundreds of pubs have closed.

A double-dip recession has done nothing to halt the incredible surge in the number of brewers coming on stream, making the small brewing sector surely one of the most remarkable UK industry success stories of the last decade.

– Roger Protz, Campaign for Real Ale

Chris Yewlett, also from the Campaign for Real Ale group, told ITV Wales there are two main reasons why breweries in Wales are thriving.

UK figures show there are now:

  • Five times more breweries than 30 years ago
  • Four times more than 20 years ago
  • More than twice as many as there were a decade ago

There is now the equivalent of almost one brewery for every 50 pubs in the UK.

Many pub owners blame the recession, crippling costs, supermarket competition and the introduction of the smoking ban for the decrease in the popularity of traditional watering-holes

But experts say many customers are continually seeking out local or specialist ales, which is why breweries are thriving.

Ray Davies, landlord and brewer at the Red Cow Inn in Aberdare, says brewing ale in a microbrewery on the premises has made a ‘huge difference’ to the business.

“People of all ages are seeking out something that’s different and of good-quality,” he said.

“Some local pubs don’t offer that."