While pubs are going bust at a record rate, beer production in Lancashire is booming, according to the real ale bible.
Four independent “micro breweries” have come on tap in the county in the past year with five more in the pipeline, says the 2014 Good Beer Guide.
And the picture is mirrored across the nation with Britain beginning to shake off its lager image as drinkers get more of a thirst for traditionally-produced ales.
“In spite of the problems besetting pubs, the beer outlook couldn’t be more promising,” said Guide author Roger Protz from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
“Real ale continues to out-perform other types of beer and it is the only area of growth in a sector that, overall, continues to decline.”
CAMRA say a record-breaking 187 new breweries have opened in Britain in just over a year to cater for this shift in drinking habits. At 1,147 – double what it was a decade ago – the UK now has its largest number of breweries since the 1930s and, per head of population, we have more than any other country on the planet.
Lancashire currently boasts 20 independent breweries with the Goosnargh label one of a quartet to come on tap since the 2013 Guide was published.
Based at Ye Horns Inn near Preston, the company only started brewing in April and has already got a listing by CAMRA.
Head brewer Mark Woods said: “The bigger breweries have moved away from cask or craft beers to concentrate on lager production and that has left a big void which the micro-breweries are filling with quality products. Yes, pubs are closing down all across the country, but they tend to be the ones owned by the big chains which are restricted to which beers they can sell.
“At the Horns we decided to move into brewing as a way of diversifying. It’s another income stream and producing our own beer is more profitable for us. For the first two or three months we were finding our feet, but we’ve now got products we are more than happy with. And the feedback we’ve had has been first class.”
Goosnargh Gold, Goosnargh Truckle, Bit O’ Blonde and Real Goosnargh Bitter are four of the beers of offer.
Goosnargh is one of three Preston independents now in the Guide alongside Arkwrights and Hart of Preston.