Last year saw the highest rate of new brewery start-ups in at least 40 years, with 158 breweries opening, taking the UK’s total passed 1,000. According to the Good Beer Guide from the Campaign for Real Ale, 1,009 breweries now operate in the country. The increase in breweries is the highest in the guide’s 40-year history. The guide criticises the Coalition Government for doing nothing to support the pub trade or tackle the “distorting power” of the country’s supermarkets. It claims that community pubs will continue to close unless they receive increased support from the Government. And it accuses the coalition of failing in its promise to be a pub-friendly government. “It is vital for the Government to introduce measures to control the supermarkets and support pubs. If not, then the real-ale revival will hit the buffers,” says the guide’s introduction. “If pub numbers continue to decline, sales of real ale will fall and small breweries without pub estates will inevitably go out of business.” The guide has also reiterated CAMRA’s calls for the Government to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol. It argues for minimum pricing to include costs as well as duty and VAT, which would lead to the price of a supermarket pint increasing by 35p to 40p. It also calls for the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and the tightening of planning laws to stop viable pubs being closed and turned into other premises such as fast-food outlets.

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