1 - BrewDog
Sales: £14.3m +147.4%
BrewDog’s busy chewing up shelf space previously dominated by mainstream beers, having rolled into Asda in the past year and extended listings for the 330ml can format in the rest of the big four and Waitrose. Tesco Express has also seen a significant increase, says co-founder James Watt, “putting craft within arm’s reach of beer geeks up and down the country”. Punk IPA is the brand’s big dog in grocery, worth £10.6m. BrewDog is the UK’s 130th biggest booze brand overall. Bets are it will bound into the top 100 this year.
2 - Innis & Gunn
Sales: £5.1m +6.7%
Trailing in BrewDog’s wake, Innis & Gunn still has grand plans for its growing range of cask aged beers and craft lager. In April, the brewer bought Perth’s Iveralmond Brewery. “It gives us a home where we can innovate and experiment with some of the new brewing processes we’ve been dreaming up,” says founder Dougal Sharp. The plant will be equipped with oak barrel maturation cellars and every craft brewer’s dream toy: hop guns. Craft contains six times the hops of standard beer on average.
3 - Bath Ales
Sales: £3.5m +14.0%
Bath’s inclusion in this top 10 could cause debate among the crafties, as most of its beers fall in the traditional ale camp, rather than the typical hop-heavy US craft style. But Bath meets Nielsen’s definition of craft thanks to its marketers’ focus on quality and provenance and its relatively small scale. It’s going to get bigger after its sale to St Austell Brewery this month, a move that will see big investment in capacity. Bath is cleaning up thanks to distribution gains and more prominent facings as sales surge.
4 - Samuel Adams
Sales: £2.8m +16.1%
Samuel Adams Boston Lager is a legend in the US, where it is credited with helping to kickstart the country’s craft beer boom when it was first brewed in 1984. Since 2012, Shepherd Neame has been producing Sam Adams under licence in the UK. “You only have to look at the variety and proliferation of craft ranges in the off-trade to see this is a category in strong growth,” says off-trade controller Claire Young, who puts Sam’s growth partly down to the rollout of multipacks and new national listings.
5 - Sierra Nevada
Sales: £2.8m +63.7%
Another of the original US craft beers, Sierra Nevada is booming in Britain with growth of £1.1m in the past year. The brand’s flagship Pale Ale is to thank for the bulk of sales - £2.4m, following a 64% surge; 7.2% abv rocket fuel Torpedo Extra IPA delivered the remainder and is growing at a similarly blistering rate. The brand is now listed by all of the big four having entered Asda as part of the retailer’s move into craft in April. Ocado and Waitrose also carry the Californian brewer’s products.
6 - Brooklyn Brewery
Sales: £2.7m +62.5%
Brooklyn is booming as retailers migrate their craft beer offerings to more prominent positions in store. The brand’s flagship Brooklyn Lager has delivered £2.4m of sales following a surge of 51%, while new products Sorachi Ale and Summer Ale have brought in an extra £200k between them. Tesco also stocks the brand’s East IPA in 335ml cans, a format that a growing number of craft brewers are adopting. The most important format for Brooklyn is the 335ml bottle, stocked by the big four, Waitrose and Ocado.
7 - Williams Bros.
Sales: £2.5m +51.8%
One thing this list makes clear is that the Scots know craft. Williams Bros is one of five brands from north of the border on these pages (see BrewDog, Innis & Gunn, Hendrick’s and Caorunn). The brand’s Joker IPA is its biggest bottle in the off-trade, now worth £800k after sales nearly doubled. Lager/IPA hybrid Caesar Augustus is its next biggest seller with sales now up to £700k. The brand is currently stocked by Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s. Its Fraoch Heather Ale had a brief spell in Asda earlier this year.
8 - St Peter’s Brewery
Sales: £2.2m -4.1%
As the only craft brand in decline in this year’s list, it seems St Peter’s has been hit by growing competition in the sector. Its loss is by no means catastrophic, of course, with the 4.1% decline worth about £100k at the tills. The shine has been taken off St Peter’s halo by a big fall in price for its best selling beer, Golden Ale, which saw value remain more or less flat at £500k as volumes grew 4.6%. The most growth came from its mixed ale packs, up 29.5% to £400k. Losses came from Organic Ale and Best.
9 - Blue Moon
Sales: £1.8m +12.2%
Molson Coors’ Belgian style wheat beer is cashing in on growing demand for more unusual styles of beer. The overall value of the brand, stocked by the big four (but only online at Morrisons, according to BrandView.com) has been boosted in part by a 4.6% rise in average price to £4.32 a litre and more prominence in store. The 5.4% abv ale is traditionally served with a slice of orange. Molson Coors recommends teaming the beer as an accompaniment to chicken, seafood and pork.
10 - Saltaire Brewery
Sales: £1.5m +83.8%
This Yorkshire Brewery had much to celebrate in April when Cascade Pale Ale won a national listing with Waitrose, the second of its beers to do so after its flagship blonde ale. “As champions of British food and produce, we think Saltaire Cascade Pale Ale, brewed in the heart of Yorkshire and one of the region’s most popular beers, will be a great addition to our beer range nationally,” said Waitrose beer buyer Kate Prall. Blonde is worth £800k; Cascade Pale £400k. It’s also stocked by Asda and Morrisons online.