UK Consumers Reject Big Beer “Crafty” Brands As True Craft Beer

The vast majority of beer drinkers in the United Kingdom don’t believe that large-scale brewers like AB InBev can make craft beer.

Here’s what we know…

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), a UK craft beer advocacy organization similar to the Brewers Association in the United States, recently released the results of a study which said that 98% of consumers think a beer brewed by any major brewer can’t be considered craft.

SIBA’s craft beer report focused on the issue of large brewers either launching their own “crafty” products, such as Guinness’ Hop House 13 lager and Big Beer majors buying up smaller producers according to the Drinks Business.

Casting doubt on the marketing of smaller breweries that have been acquired or received investment from large-scale firms in recent years, 43% of the survey’s respondents said that a craft beer could only be made by a small brewery, while 42% said a craft brewer must be independent.

And in a striking rebuttal to Big Beer the survey found that only 2% of consumers surveyed said that craft beer could be made by a global brewer.

Just as in the US, the integrity of the craft beer movement is a highly emotional subject within the UK brewing industry.

Last summer, when London’s Beavertown brewery sold a 49% stake in its business to Heineken for £40 million the UK craft beer community jumped ugly.

Several bottle shops announced that they would no longer be selling Beavertown’s beers, and other breweries also pulled out of Beavertown’s upcoming beer festival, the Beavertown Extravaganza.

“People are used to buying beers from across the UK in their favorite pub, bar or retailer, and for them it is the size and independence of that brewery which defines whether or not it is a craft beer,” said Mike Benner, SIBA’s chief executive.

To help clarify things “SIBA launched the Assured Independent British Craft Brewer seal as a way of differentiating beer from truly independent craft brewers from the mass produced products of global brands – many of which are now being marketed as craft,” Benner added.

Once independent UK Brewers Now Owned by Global Drinks Giants

Fuller’s – bought by Asahi for £250m in 2019

Fourpure – acquired by Lion in 2018

London Fields – bought by Carlsberg for about £1m in 2017

Meantime – bought by SAB Miller for £50m, then sold to Asahi in 2016

Camden Town Brewery – sold to AB InBev for £85m in 2015

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Image credits : SIBA and Beavertown

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