As always this year, I have checked the number of physical breweries per country in the RB database.
The numbers are still increasing, but the growth rate is declining, both in absolute numbers and the relative rate:
2017: +2336 / 14.1%
2018: +2441 / 12.9%
2019: +1836 / 8.1%
There are also big regional differences, where some bigger countries see a stagnation (Germany, England) whereas others are going very strong. Only countries with 30+ physical breweries are listed.
As our listing of contract brewers vs client brewers is all messed up, neither of these are counting.
What can be attributed to actual number of breweries and incomplete data set I let others judge…
Some of this is going to be due to admin activity. I know that New Zealand has definitely grown in terms of physical breweries over the last year. Their drop is because nobody had ever pruned off the closed ones before, which I did a few months back, and closed about 30ish breweries, most of which were closed five years ago plus.
The Germany drop still seems very odd, as they’ve had active admins over the last few years. Perhaps they cleaned up micro v. client breweries? An actual drop in brewery numbers in Germany would be very unexpected.
Hard to say, we definitely had some closures in 2019 both among traditional and also craft brewers. I feel the Craft market stagnated a bit at least in terms of brewery openings compared to the previous years, but the existing ones are still churning out quite a few new beers.
It is also quite possible we aren’t quite splitting as many brands out into client/commissioner entities as we did when that system was new - that could explain a artificial bump of openings in the past.
I do a big tidy up of English and Welsh breweries every Autumn plus we have an active group of users who supply up to date information of brewers, places and beers, so this could be the reason for stagnation of growth.
Talking about closures I just spotted three Greater London breweries that have shut (one in 2016). However there are probably as many breweries not added to RB yet so who knows what the real stats are.
I found a list of UK breweries by county on a beer wiki site and straight away spotted a few that never made it onto RB before closing in Surrey, Berks and Hants. At some point I am going to go through them properly.