UK: Molson Coors rides 'craft beer' wave with Sharp's Brewery spend
Molson Coors announced Sharp's Brewery spend
Molson Coors has announced fresh investment in Sharp's Brewery in the UK, as new figures show that small-scale breweries are flourishing in the country.
The multinational brewer said today (3 August) that it will invest GBP5m (US$8.2m) over the next two years at Cornwall-based Sharp's Brewery, following its GBP20m takeover of the Doom Bar ale brewer earlier this year.
News of the investment comes as figures show that small-scale brewers are blossoming across the UK, despite ongoing declines in beer consumption.
Molson Coors' investment in Sharp's is an example of how larger brewers are seeking to capitalise on renewed consumer demand for ale and niche beer brands. The Carling lager brewer said that it will install new fermentation tanks at Sharp's, as well as a new packaging area.
Sharp's head brewer Stuart Howe said that the money will provide much-needed extra capacity to meet growing demand. The CEO of Molson Coors' UK, Mark Hunter said: "The beer industry is under great strain with breweries closing down across the country, but we envisage great things for Sharp’s Brewery."
The health of the UK beer market remains weak, with beer sales down by 7% in the first half of 2011, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.
However, those representing small-scale brewers, such as the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), have rarely sounded more upbeat. CAMRA said this week, on the eve of its annual Great British Beer Festival, that brewery numbers have risen by 25% in the UK over the past five years. There are now 800 of them, more than at any time since the end of the Second World War in 1945.
SIBA, meanwhile, has seen a sharp rise in members over the last few years. Figures in its beer market report for 2011 show that 57% of the 463 SIBA member breweries registered in 2010 were founded after 2002.
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