The boom in the number of breweries in the UK has caused a buzz but isn’t the only important number: how many people are actually employed in making beer?
We pondered this question back in 2013 and it came up again recently in discussion at Jeffrey ‘Stonch’ Bell’s blog.
So we finally got out the copy of the BBPA Statistical Handbook 2012 we borrowed from Beer Today 18 months ago (sorry, Darren — we owe you several pints and your book back) and added some more recent numbers from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) 2012 (revised) and the BBPA website to come up with this table:
|Thousands employed in making beer (excl. malting)||No. of Brewing Companies|
That suggests that, though there are more breweries than there have been since before World War II, the number of people employed in the industry is shrinking. In fact, we can put a rough number on it: in 1995, there were approximately 41.2 employees per brewery (EPB); in 2012, that was down to 10.7.
As to why that EPB number might have fallen, consider the picture illustrating this post: it’s from 1977 and shows men from Watney’s Mortlake brewery employed in the bottling hall, bottled beer transport division, road safety, the building department, draught beer transport… And there was a permanent team producing newsletters and magazines.
This isn’t necessarily bad news but it’s something to chew on.
Knowing our luck with dates and numbers lately, we’ve probably made a catastrophic miscalculation above. Let us know if/when you spot it in the comments below and we’ll fix it ASAP.