With the vote back in June 2016 for Britain to leave the European Union, the nation has been facing many economic and political hurdles that have rocked the entire country’s metaphorical boat through the past 2 and a half years.
the smaller end, what about our beloved past time and hobby: craft beers and
microbreweries? Profound legal strife aside, Brexit has harsh implication on
imports and exports within the UK.
Consider the following: given that many of the raw materials necessary to facilitate microbreweries in the UK are imported from the rest of the E.U. (i.e., Hops from the USA, Yeast from France, etc.), the rising cost of importation combined with the sharp fall of the GBP suggest that our smaller companies will be lost in the current. Furthermore, larger conglomerates can bulk purchase their items thus swaying the market away from the little guys even further.
In our global economy, these independent brewers will be forced to charge more for their product. With drinkers being asked to pay far more than £10.00/case, the question is being posed: will drinkers pay the price to support local? Or will the mass-produced, less expensive option run true?
Even deeper is the question of whether or not these microbreweries will sacrifice the quality of those hops and malt for more sustainable, local options at the cost of compromising the quality of the brew. There is an ongoing cost to the weight of Brexit, and the question of how much of the beer culture will be lost through the process.
Pubs, notorious for squeezing the pockets of breweries for higher profits, were already a source of concern for Brewers, who’s tight margins are all the more cinched. However, this was not the only big hurdle for small brewing companies. A quick flashback to 2016, we can remember the unusual summer that compromised the hops harvest, the key ingredient to our favorite craft beers. Yet, the current consumer demand is effervescent: the more hops, the better.
The culmination of all of these factors (Brexit, fall of GBP value, hops shortage) is demanding something new from consumers and brewers alike. Consumer’s favorite “hop”-y beers are going to come at a higher cost for our British craft beer lovers, and the tight margins for quality ingredients leave very little room for profit among brewers.
On the flipside, farmers located all across the US and E.U. can benefit strongly from their lack luster harvests as hop contracts surge in price and smaller breweries make a mad dash to harness as many ingredients as possible throughout the brewing season.
So, what are we looking forward to in the years to come of Brexit? Here, at the beginning of 2019, we’re hopeful for decent hops harvests in late-June to early-July. We’re also less likely to be seeing up and coming English microbreweries while the GBP continues to fluctuate, and we’re going to be seeing a lot less of our favorite English microbrews (unless we’re planning to shell out the quid!)
Cheers and Happy (Hopeful) Brewing!