When I first visited the United Kingdom slightly under two decades ago, making my way around the beer circuit was pretty easy. The Campaign for Real Ale, better known as CAMRA, published and still publishes an annual Good Beer Guide, so finding the best in breweries and pubs was a simple matter of buying a copy of the most recent edition, making a few pages of notes – no smart phones back then – and heading off for a pint or three.
Today, however, things are a bit more complicated. Since the dawn of the new millennium, and especially over the last decade or so, the number of operating breweries in Britain has exploded, even as the number of pubs has thinned considerably. On a population basis, the growth of craft beer in the U.K. has even dwarfed what we’re witnessing in the U.S. these days.
Consider this: With about 319 million citizens, the United States boasts 3,739 breweries, according to the Brewers Association’s mid-2015 statistical update, while the United Kingdom, with a population of about 64 million, claims somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1,200 breweries. Meaning that Britain has roughly one-fifth the population of the U.S., but about one-third the number of breweries!
(Read more at The Celebrator.)