UK supermarkets boost craft beer range

UK supermarket chains have embraced the craft beer market by increasing the range of individual breweries and lowering the varieties of big brands.

The Co-op Group has already added 50 small breweries to shelves across its 6,700 UK stores which will equate to the sale of one million pints of local beer.

Simon Dryell, ranging manager for the Co-op Group, said: “It’s exciting to collaborate with smaller producers. Their innovation, quality and passion make these prized local products and we are delighted to give them pride of place.

Richard Dennett, senior buyer of beers and ciders at the Co-op Group, said: “If the market for craft ales, which we launched in October, grows like it is in the US it could account for anything up to 20% of category sales in the next few years."

Waitrose supermarket chain has also added 25 craft beers to its shelves in a reaction to the boom in the UK craft beer market.

The number of beers stocked in its stores will increase 27% from 70 to 95 next month, while competitor supermarket chain Tesco increased its range by a third in March, simultaneously dropping a variety of Heineken products.

The Drinks Business spoke to Waitrose beer and cider buyer Sarah Hammond, who said: “To me, the craft beer movement is all about the re-discovery of old styles, giving them a modern twist and pushing the boundaries. We’ve seen some amazing innovation in the last year.

“The diverse range will now include a tea infused-beer, a 750ml wild yeast beer with a wax cap, punchy ABVs and more styles of beer than ever before.”