Propel Morning Briefing

SIBA predicts Brexit boost for craft beer

As consumer confidence falls and experts predict negative consumer effects following the Brexit vote, a glimmer of positivity is coming from an unexpected source.

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) is predicting a boost in consumer passion for local beers from Britain’s craft breweries as past experience of economic downturn shows consumers opt to “trade-up on treats”.

Mike Benner, managing director of SIBA, said: “There is plenty of doom and gloom following Brexit and while it may be the case that many consumers will look for better deals on household spending generally, for beer there are some important lessons to be had from recent history. In the 2008-09 recession we saw many consumers applying ‘quality over quantity’, choosing premium local ales over mainstream beers. We also saw a strong ‘community-comfort’ effect whereby in times of uncertainty people tend to associate themselves more with their own local communities. In many ways it was these consumer trends that drove the continuing growth of local craft beer. We expect that trend to continue in the coming months of uncertainty. These effects could be positive for British craft-brewed beer in both the on and off-trade.”

SIBA is also predicting the weaker pound will have positive effects for pubs as more UK citizens choose to holiday at home and more overseas tourists are attracted to UK shores.

Benner added: “We know that the great British pub and our unique British beer are an essential part of the tourism mix and we may see some positive effects as ‘staycations’ rise and tourism authorities work to boost the number of overseas visitors. It is essential that pubs get their range right in light of this, ensuring that quality local beers from craft breweries feature heavily in their offer.”

While the biggest market for SIBA brewers is local, about 17% of members exported their beers in 2015 and SIBA expects this to increase in response to the weaker pound. Benner said: “Many SIBA members are understandably anxious over the uncertainty of trade deals following Brexit, but will also look to maximise the opportunity which arises from the growing interest in craft beer around the world. British beer is unique in this booming global market place and craft brewers will see opportunities arising from this.”


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