Well, I disagree. Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased that the beer sector is growing in the UK, and with a lot of the new breweries operating sizeable kit, there is the potential for quite a bit of volume production from these craft beer producers. But a growing number of breweries doesn't make a success story, you need quality as well as quantity and it is just a matter of time before the brewing bubble bursts.
A couple of months ago I made a beer. In fact, I made two. The first was an coffee stout, using dark malt and a little bit of ground coffee. We boiled it up on my friend's stove, put it into a plastic bucket with a lid to ferment and then a week later, bottle conditioned it and let it it ferment again. The second was an ale that we chucked a bunch of elderflowers into the boil to give it a bit of a floral note. The exercise was great fun, making a beer was simple. Just following a recipe, tweaking it a touch to give it our own flair and then a fortnight later, you have beer to drink. It was totally satisfying. We even mocked up some labels poking fun at Brew Dog and stuck them on. Was it beer? Yes. Was it tasty? Yes. Should I give up my day job and open a brewery? Not a chance as I'm simply not good enough at it - despite the help of my more experienced friend.
This is where a lot of these new brewers are going wrong. They are enthusiastic amateurs who have the ability to make decent enough home brew - but then get delusions of grandeur and think they can be the next Kernel or Williams Bros and invest a load of money in a brewery kit with the hope of making a living from their hobby. I've tried quite a few new brewery beers over the past months and the results are in two camps. There are some brewers who have gone from the kitchen to a brewery and are making good, professional beers and there are those that should have stayed in their kitchen making beer for their mates as, commercially, their products are just not up to scratch and some are downright terrible.
I'm pleased beer is growing in the UK and we are getting lots of new breweries, but there is going to be a contraction in the numbers soon as the more amateur brewer realises that they just aren't good enough. Before claiming a golden age of brewing, we need to realise how deep the talent seam is first.