Insolvencies of breweries jump 82%

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Priced out: Breweries battle soaring costs and the cost-of-living crisis (Credit: Getty/MontyRakusen)
Priced out: Breweries battle soaring costs and the cost-of-living crisis (Credit: Getty/MontyRakusen)

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The number of UK breweries going insolvent has jumped 82% in the last year, according to audit, tax & advisory firm Mazars.

It has risen from 38 breweries in 2022 to 69 in the year ending December 31 2023.

Mazars said 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 claimed that 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, said: “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.

Maloney added: “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.

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