Breweries in UK at a 70-year high, says Camra

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Media captionJames Campbell from Marble micro-brewery: "People are interested in quality rather than uniform blandness"

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) says there are now 1,000 breweries in the UK - the highest figure for 70 years.

Camra said 158 new breweries had opened in the past year alone, the highest number ever recorded by the lobby group's annual Good Beer Guide.

The organisation said the growth rate had quickened over the past 10 years and that the number had doubled in that time, with one brewery for every 50 pubs.

Camra called the figure "astonishing".

The increase has come against a backdrop of continuing pub closures. Almost 10,000 pubs have closed in the past decade.

Popular real ale brewers include Thwaites, which brews Wainwright and Lancaster Bomber ale and Brains which produces SA Gold.

Much of the increase in the number of breweries is thanks to the rising popularity of micro-breweries, which produce small batches of beer.

Camra says some of these have expanded to the extent they no longer fit the description.

BrewDog, which began in 2006 in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire with two employees, is one example. It has expanded to 67 staff and also now exports to a number of countries.

Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide, said: "The boom in new breweries has, in many cases, made the term 'micro' obsolete, with some small brewers having become remarkably large, installing new equipment or doubling production to keep up with demand."

He said that there were more breweries in the 1930s but that better and faster communication networks meant that the choice these days was higher than ever.

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