The number of breweries operating in the UK has exceeded 2,000 for the first time since the 1930s, new data has shown.

More than 300 new breweries opened during 2016 – a rise of 18% - according to a report by the accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young. The total number of breweries in the country at the end of last year was 1,994 – a 64% increase over the past five years. The firm said the trend has continued this year, with the 2,000 milestone being breached for the first time in more than 70 years.

James Simmonds, partner at UHY Hacker Young said: “The craft beer boom has reversed around 70 years of consolidation in the brewing industry and there is plenty of growth still to come.”

He said smaller breweries continued to benefit from Progressive Beer Duty, which was introduced by then-chancellor Gordon Brown in 2002. However. Simmonds said that the larger brewers are finding other ways to be competitive.

He said: “The majors are beginning to make a fightback by acquiring craft brewers and launching their own artisan-style brands. The craft brewers can’t afford to rest on their laurels; they will need to work hard to get their product into that limited shelf space and bar space.”

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