Beer, beer and more beer! That is what England is known for from going to the football, using at the same time, to meeting up with friends on the weekend for some enjoyable drinks. Over the years England has gone through many different habits of drinking from real ale to alcopops to the gin obsession! However, as time has progressed in the country, English beer drinkers have now become obsessed with craft beer and people will only drink the craft beer delicacy that is in all bars and supermarkets.

So who started the revolution and who are the heavy hitters in the game at the moment? There are many to choose from and it shows no sign of stopping for these companies from trying to get ahead of the curve to beat off the competition.

Craft beer history

The origins of craft beer can vary. In America, there were only three heavy-hitting beer companies. Budweiser, Millers and Pabst all dominated the market but people wanted to taste something different. Unfortunately, there were laws still in place that prohibited home brewing and nobody was able to market their own beer. However, it became legalised and the growth of craft beer began.

Prior to legalisation, Anchor brewing company decided to use the inspiration of traditional English Ales and start creating their own craft ale. As we know today, Anchor in San Francisco has created some of the best craft beers on the market including Steam and Porter.

Cross over the pond

Although the inspiration came from England, it had to make it back over the pond to the UK and make it into the market against the traditional lagers and ales; a familiar story for craft ale.

However, there were craft beers in the UK with the Selby Brewery producing beers to challenge the likes of Heineken who owned lots of beer products in the UK. But the craft beer scene changed when brewers were using different countries’ hops.

With the likes of West Coast IPAs becoming readily available for breweries, the UK breweries were taking inspiration from this. With the help of the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown cutting beer duty tax by 50%, the brewery industry soared after 2002.

In 1995 there were just 92 registered breweries yet by 2017 the UK had over 2000. In 2017 alone, 424 new breweries opened and many of those are still trading to this day! 

Who helped make it mainstream?

Now you will see craft beer everywhere! In the pubs, in the shops and advertised on TV. However, it was not always the case but companies like Brewdog, Camden and Beavertown have really dominated on the market proving that craft beer can make it onto the mainstream.

However, there are so many more that are staples in the top supermarkets such as Northern Monk, SALT, Brooklyn, Goose Island and many more.

Who are the emerging smaller breweries?

The one thing that is great about craft beer is the home feel you get from the bars and even the production. With smaller breweries and smaller distribution, you feel like you are making a difference to smaller companies rather than buying the more generic chain beers which they are mass-produced with an incredibly similar taste across the board.

However, across England, there are lots of small breweries doing the business for people. You only have to look at the capital and see pop-up-style bars using the breweries’ products. In Manchester alone, there is a huge area essentially dedicated to smaller breweries where business is booming.

So look out for these breweries when you are next browsing online or in the shops looking for a new beer to try:

  • Cloudwater, Manchester
  • Sureshot, Manchester
  • Brew by Numbers, London
  • Vocation, Leeds
  • Thornbridge, Bakewell
  • Magic Rock, Huddersfield
  • Tiny Rebel, Newport
  • Red Willow, Macclesfield
  • Kernel, London
  • Alphabet, Manchester

There has never been a better time to get into the craft beer industry, even as it continues to gain popularity among beer lovers. But the competition will be stiff, so you must focus on quality and efficiency. If you are unsure where to start, consider looking at for resources and tools to help you achieve this goal.

Do any other countries have the craft beer scene?

There is certainly a demand and other countries are certainly producing fantastic craft beers that the English market do look to get their hands on. In Belgium, there is obviously amazing Belgian beers that have been produced in the country by small companies for generations. In Denmark, companies like Mikkeller and To Øl and over in Sweden Omnipollo are all premium beers that are sort after all over Europe.

Craft beer is here to stay and will be enjoyed by thousands in 2023. Who knows you might become one of the founders of a new brewery by just producing your own beer at home.