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39 chapter 2 A Pint of Success How Beer Is Revitalizing Cities and Local Economies in the United Kingdom Ignazio Cabras Introduction In the United Kingdom, the numbers of breweries have increased significantly since the 1980s, with many small and micro businesses successfully able to diversify their offers and to expand their operations well beyond their local areas. While the implications for the industry derived from this growth have been investigated by a number of studies (Carroll and Swaminathan 1991; Swaminathan 1998; Tremblay and Tremblay 2005), more recent research has focused on the impact of new beers and brewing on local economies and on the development of business strategies targeting a growing demand for diversified artisan beers (Cabras and Bamforth 2015; Danson et al. 2015; Moore et al. 2016). This chapter contributes to ­ these studies by investigating how the revival of microbrewing has influenced, and is currently influencing, the beer scene in the United Kingdom. I use primary and secondary information, collected between 2009 and 2015 and related to British breweries and pubs, to explore and examine how patterns and growth and decline of ­ these two types of businesses have affected and still affect local economies and communities. In addition, I use in-­ depth interviews with brewers, representatives from industry organ­ izations, beer festival organizers, and publicans to analyze and further evaluate the social and economic effects associated with changes in the brewing industry. Untapped 40 The Rise of Microbreweries and the Decline of Pubs In 1980, the number of breweries in the United Kingdom was about 142. As shown in figure 2.1, by 2015 the number had increased to 1,424 (British Beer and Pub Association 2015; Campaign for Real Ale 2015), registering an astonishing 10-­ fold growth within this period. The rise of ­ these businesses can be described in three consecutive, interrelated waves (Cabras and Bamforth 2015). The first wave, arriving between the late 1970s and mid-1980s, was mainly due to a general dissatisfaction with the decline in the variety of beers available to customers. This situation led to the creation of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), a movement of beer lovers who lobbied for the revival of real ale—­ cask-­ conditioned ales brewed by traditional methods. CAMRA’s relentless activities and campaigns increased awareness about traditional ales and helped to create a potential customer base for new breweries that represented an alternative to mass producers (Mason and McNally 1997). Moreover, CAMRA changed the image of real-­ ale drinkers, frequently pictured as “bearded be-­ sandalled and with a generous girth born of sampling a ‘tad’ too much ale” (extracted from the Carlsberg-­ Tetley 1994 Report and quoted in Mason and McNally 1997, 408), by promoting them as customers keen to preserve beer traditions and values. The many opportunities related to an increasing demand for real ales attracted a variety of entrepreneurs, many with some previous experience in the brewing industry, to enter the market (Mason and McNally 1997). The second wave, which arrived in the early 1990s, was mainly characterized by the entrance to the industry of new found­ ers with ­ little or no previous connection with breweries or brewing, such as retirees or beer lovers in search of a­ career change (Knowles and Egan 2002). Two ­ factors characterize this period: the rapid increase in the number of new businesses brought the development of specialized real-­ ale producers, which enabled many new breweries to start with more efficient and more cost-­ effective brewing equipment; and the introduction of the Beer ­ Orders of 1989, which forced the larger brewers to ­ either sell or ­ free a large number of their pubs from being tied to them (Preece et al. 1999). The latter enabled the formation of large retailing companies or pubcos purchasing the majority of pubs and selecting a very limited range of breweries as their suppliers , creating fewer opportunities for new breweries to expand their supply network (Pratten 2007; Preece 2016). The third and most recent wave arrived early in the 2000s, which saw a further and sharper increase in the number of microbreweries, sustained by cheaper and easier-­ to-­ install equipment (Mason and McNally 1997; Wyld et al. Ignazio Cabras 41 2010) and by the introduction of Progressive Beer Duty (PBD) to support smaller brewers, granting ­ these businesses a lower tax levy than large brewers. The PBD boosted the growth of microbrewing throughout the country, shaping the size of new businesses, which tended to keep their production volumes low in order to take advantage of...


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