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Hic! Apparently London is now overflowing with 129 functioning breweries.
On his excellent website, beer aficionado Des de Moor revealed the dizzying number — which has rocketed from a paltry nine breweries in Greater London in 2006. (The only time that number was lower in almost half a century was in 1976, when London had just eight breweries.)
Thanks Thurston that is really interesting. Shows that little Firkin peak really clearly & also how consistent the recent growth has been until the past year. https://t.co/o0IhWolrxN— Des de Moor 🏳️🌈 (@desdemoor) January 9, 2020
It's weird to think that 14 years ago, the concept of craft beer was relatively unheard of in these parts, and that Meantime was really the only London setup that could claim it was doing craft beer at all (although please don't get us started on the definition of craft beer, we'd like to leave the office this evening).
Things went through the roof in the 2010s with the likes of Beavertown, Fourpure and Camden Town arriving on the scene (and all later selling out to major manufacturers). In the last decade, London's breweries grew by 115. We swear we drink more West Coast APA these days than tap water.
A twist in the tale is that stalwarts like Fuller's — making beer in London since 1845 — started marketing their own 'craft beers', in a bid to climb aboard the wave ridden by tiny outfits in the city's converted garages and railway arches.
The question we hear (and ask) again and again, is whether we've hit 'peak brewery'. It's true that some breweries pulled out of the race (Late Knights, Earl's and UBrew to name a few). The growth rate looks to be slowing down, too.
Then again, we've not officially hit peak brewery until that 129 number starts to fall. And even though we only(!) got six new breweries between 2018-19, we know for a fact that more are on the way. Take the plans for the Walthamstow Beer Mile. Even for those Londoners who don't drink alcohol, there are breweries like Big Drop, dedicated to non boozy brews.
There is one problem with this research — within a week or two, another brewery will open and it'll be out of date.