Local breweries are shaping Britain’s taste for beer

Jane Ryan

01 August 2018

Our love of all things local has changed the British beer palate, says off-licence chain Majestic.

With 210 wine and beer shops, it's been looking into British beer buying habits, and the results show we’re opting for what our local breweries make rather than traditional styles.

‘Local breweries respond to local tastes, we therefore think this is a customer-led trend. It's often you see whole regions opt for distinct styles which adds to the overall picture of diversity. Some of our stores will be heavier on fruit beers or darker beers because that's what their customers are saying they enjoy,’ says Beth Pearce, beer buyer at Majestic.

This data flies in the face of the stereotype of what each area in Britain drinks – especially the idea of bitters in the north and generic lagers in the south.

Using its gathered results, Majestic has created a beer map of Britain, charting each area’s favourite style. IPA and pale ale styles clearly dominate the map. However, surprises include regions like Yorkshire – known for its traditional love of bitter – which is now leaning towards big fruit flavours such as marmalade porter and grapefruit IPA.

‘It’s a great way of picking up on the local trends as our customers are the ones telling us what to buy,’ says Pearce.

Lager was the least represented style, featuring only around Aberdeen and Nottingham. Meanwhile London almost unanimously opted for IPAs, Wales went for dark beer and the Highlands preferred big brooding, hop-driven Indian and American pale ales.

Golden ale found favour in Kent and a large swath of the North, while fruit beers weren’t just popular in Yorkshire but also Essex and parts of the West Country.

‘Local beers are thriving as never before and people’s tastes are changing, reflecting the huge supply now on offer. We also think that the environmental angle, which means less "hop miles" than those wracked up by huge international brewers, is becoming more important,’ says Pearce.

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