Register of Good News/Bad News

Pressure gauge.

Pres­sure Gauge by M&R Glas­gow from Flickr under Cre­ative Com­mons.

This year, 2017, has started with a vague sense of gloom in the beer industry: the ‘shake-out’ everyone’s been predicting for years might finally be here, and individual items of bad news keep leaping up on our Twitter timeline and elsewhere.

Alter­na­tive­ly, this is just a per­fect­ly nor­mal phase in the life of any trend: so some busi­ness­es close, but oth­ers open, per­haps health­i­er and more appro­pri­ate to the times than those they replace. The boom, says this point of view, has a long way yet to run.

Our gut instinct is that after a decade or more of unfet­tered excite­ment we are about to see some kind of dip or drop or change, what­ev­er you want to call it, but that over­all the tra­jec­to­ry con­tin­ues to be upward, and that things keep get­ting bet­ter.

Bet­ter’ is, of course, high­ly sub­jec­tive: you might not con­sid­er fur­ther growth in the num­ber of brew­eries to be good news, or might not approve of the type of brew­eries we’re gain­ing, for exam­ple. The list that fol­lows is just our read­ing of whether each item is pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive over­all – whether it con­tributes to an ongo­ing buzz around beer, or damp­ens the mood. We’re not going to log every pub clo­sure but will make a sub­jec­tive judge­ment about whether a par­tic­u­lar pub or bar was sig­nif­i­cant in terms of ‘the scene’.

Though it was tempt­ing to trawl back through 2016 we’ve decid­ed to make this easy on our­selves and only start track­ing from Jan­u­ary 2017. As you’ll see, though, there are some his­toric head­line fig­ures for con­text.

If there’s some­thing you think ought to be includ­ed email us via contact@boakandbailey.com, Tweet in our direc­tion @boakandbailey, or mes­sage us via facebook.com/boakandbailey.

Here we go.

Good News Bad News
Brew­ery num­bers up to 1,540 in Sep­tem­ber 2016, from 1,424 in Sep­tem­ber 2015, from 1,285 in 2014.

(SOURCE: CAMRA 1 | 2 | 3. Oth­er sources say 1,700.)

Lon­don brew­ery num­bers up to 96 in Jan­u­ary 2017 from 78 in Decem­ber 2015

(SOURCE: Beer Guide Lon­don.)

Microp­ub num­bers up to 285 in Jan­u­ary 2017, from 200 in Sep­tem­ber 2015.

(SOURCE: Microp­ub Asso­ci­a­tion.)

Insol­ven­cies in the pub and bar trade down from 521 in year end­ing March 2015 to 480 in year-end­ing March 2016.

(SOURCE: Ortus Finance via Morn­ing Adver­tis­er.)

Pub clo­sure rate slow­ing from 29 per week in June-Decem­ber 2015 to 27 as of Feb­ru­ary 2016; and to 21 per week from Decem­ber 2015 to June 2016.

(SOURCE: CAMRA/CGA 1 | 2 .)

Pubs clos­ing at a rate of 21 per week with a net clo­sure rate of 549 in the six months to June 2016.

(SOURCE: CAMRA/CGA.)

Shop clo­sure: Beer in a Bot­tle, Bev­er­ley, E. Yorks, ceased trad­ing in Decem­ber 2016
Bar clo­sure: The Grav­i­ty Sta­tion, Cardiff, per­ma­nent­ly closed as of Jan­u­ary 2017.
  Shop clo­sure: Brew­Dog Bot­tle­Dog, Lon­don, ceased trad­ing in Jan­u­ary 2017
  Fes­ti­val can­cel­la­tion: No Birm­ing­ham Beer Bash in 2017. (Update: see Birm­ing­ham Beer Bazaar below.)
New bar: Sacre Bleu, Cam­bridge, to fea­ture 10 keg lines and bot­tled Bel­gian beer, open­ing Jan­u­ary 2017.  
Brew­ery expan­sion: Williams Bros, Alloa, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.  
Brew­ery expan­sion: Aleche­my, Liv­ingston, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.  
Brew­ery expan­sion: Hop Stuff, Lon­don, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.  
Chain expan­sion: Craft Beer Com­pa­ny, Lon­don, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.  
Brew­ery clo­sure: North Union, Sheffield, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.
Brew­ery Reprieve: Rebel Brew­ing, Corn­wall, went into liq­ui­da­tion in 2016; under new own­er­ship as of Jan­u­ary 2017.  
Bot­tle shop expan­sion: Hops + Craft, Exeter, mov­ing to larg­er premis­es, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.  
Brew­ery in admin­is­tra­tion: Quan­tock Brew­ery, Som­er­set, announced Jan­u­ary 2017. (Saved – see below.)
New bar/micropub: Rea­sons to Be Cheer­ful, Bur­nage, Man­ches­ter, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.  
Brew­ery clo­sure: Wrekin Brew­ery, Shrop­shire, announced (we think) in Jan­u­ary 2017.
Event can­cel­la­tion: The Brew­ing Equip­ment and Tech­nol­o­gy Expo has been can­celled, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.
Shop clo­sure: spe­cial­ist retail­er York Beer and Wine to close after 32 years, announced Jan­u­ary 2017.
Bar open­ing: The Craft Rooms, Lin­coln, announced Feb­ru­ary 2017.
Brew­ery Reprieve: the Quan­tock Brew­ery, Som­er­set, saved from clo­sure, announced Feb­ru­ary 2017.
Brew­ery sale: Sacre Brew of Wolver­hamp­ton sell­ing up after three years, announced Feb­ru­ary 2017.
Bar clo­sure: Moo Bar, Pen­rith, repos­sessed by land­lord, announced Feb­ru­ary 2017. (N.B. Some may not feel this is bad news.)
Brew­ery expan­sion: Red Squir­rel (Mad Squir­rel), announced Feb­ru­ary 2017.  
Brew­ery clo­sure: Hop Art Brew­ery, Farn­ham, Sur­rey, announced in Feb­ru­ary 2017.
New indie beer fes­ti­val: Birm­ing­ham Beer Bazaar, announced March 2017.  
New spe­cial­ist bot­tle shop Brewk­lo­pe­dia, Leices­ter, announced March 2017.
Bar clo­sure Brew­Dog, Home­r­ton, Lon­don April 2017.
Brew­ery in admin­is­tra­tion Cot­tage Brew­ing, Som­er­set announced April 2017.
Brew­ery in admin­is­tra­tion RCH, North Som­er­set announced April 2017. (Link to PDF; ref. p.36.)

UPDATE 21/06/2017: brew­er to con­tin­ue pro­duc­ing three RCH ales under a new brand, Pitch­fork Ales.

Brew­ery in admin­is­tra­tion Tom Wood’s, Lin­colnshire announced June 2017.
Brew­ery declared insol­vent Sen­tinel, Sheffield announced June 2017. (Still trad­ing.)
Brew­ery num­bers report: Indus­try pub­li­ca­tion The Brew­ery Man­u­al says UK brew­ery num­bers may have peaked, pos­si­bly now in decline. (Brew­ery Man­u­al, June 2017.)
New spe­cial­ist shop Beer Amble­side, Cum­bria spot­ted June 2017.
Craft beer bar and shop clo­sure: Hip­po Beers, Glas­gow, announced July 2017.
Craft beer bar clo­sure: Pure Craft, Not­ting­ham announced July 2017.
Craft beer shop opens: Beer­craft, Bath (August 2017)
Craft beer bar clo­sure: Craft Beer Co, Clapham announced August 2017.
Brew­ery in admin­is­tra­tion: Com­bined Brew­ers AKA Com­bined Brew­ers, announced Sep­tem­ber 2017.
Craft beer shop opens: Bot­tles & Books, Bris­tol (August 2017)
Craft beer bar opens: Craft Beer Co, Old Street, Lon­don (Sep­tem­ber 2017)
Brew­ery num­bers up to 1,704 in Sep­tem­ber 2017, from 1,540 in Sep­tem­ber 2016

Source: CAMRA

Brew­ery clo­sure: Yates of Cum­bria, on the mar­ket for two years, has not found a buy­er and is to fold, announced Sep­tem­ber 2017.
New craft beer bar: the Paper Duck, Har­borne, Birm­ing­ham, opened in Octo­ber 2017.
New spe­cial­ist beer shop: Hop­sters, Ipswich, opened in Octo­ber 2017.
Brew­ery clo­sure: Ballard’s, Sus­sex, found­ed 1980, announced Octo­ber 2017.
New craft beer bar chain: Thornbridge/Pivovar announce plans for ten bars in Decem­ber 2017.