In February 2013, we reflected on just how far ‘craft beer’ had spread beyond the trendy bits of major cities. Our conclusion then was that it was a ‘noisy niche’ rather than mainstream.
But a lot has happened in the last year.
- We said a ‘craft beer bar’ in Truro would be a sign of ‘mainstreaming’: that hasn’t happened, but there is now a bottle and jug shop selling beers from Weird Beard, Brewdog and other pointedly ‘craft’ brewers.
- The same team opened a ‘craft beer micropub’ in Exeter (pop. 117,000) before Christmas — the last decent-sized, student-filled UK city to be without one?
- The Teign Cellars opened in Newton Abbot (pop. 24,000) in May, selling beers from breweries such as The Kernel and Magic Rock in sleepy Devon.
- The Hub, a posh burger and BBQ bar in St Ives, Cornwall, has amped up its ‘craft beer’ offer, serving beer from, e.g. the Wild Beer Company, from cask, keg and bottle, with (CRAFT KLAXON!) ⅓-pint measures available.
- Beyond the West Country, in Royal Tunbridge Wells (pop 55,000), Fuggles Beer Cafe appeared towards the end of last year.
Are bars and shops also opening outside major cities in parts of the country we know less well? We suspect so, and intelligence will be gratefully received.
Our guess is that, though ‘craft beer’ still doesn’t have an outpost in every town in the country, it might not be far off by the end of 2014.