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The food and drink industry is a core element of the UK manufacturing economy, representing over 15% of manufacturing turnover and employment. The beverage category, in particular, has been spearheading the growth in the sector, largely thanks to the growing trend for craft beer.
The number of businesses manufacturing beverages has increased significantly in recent years and, according to the UK government, a new microbrewery has been opening in Britain "every other day".
In summer 2015, there were 1,431 microbreweries in Britain, up from 1,092 two years earlier. To a large extent, this steep rise in the number of microbreweries has been driven by a shift in Britain's drinking culture.
It’s quickly become fashionable, particularly for millennials, to drink craft beer sourced locally and entrepreneurs have responded by ensuring that demand is catered for.
The foundation of new small-batch gin distilleries has also mirrored the growth in microbreweries at a lower level, along with an upturn in production of premium mixers, such as tonic water.
The non-alcoholic beverage sector has also benefited from growing demand for healthier drinks, like smoothies, juices and waters, as well as low-calorie and low-sugar drinks.
Going forward, automation holds great potential to boost productivity in the beverage manufacturing sector, especially with the developments in robotics and artificial intelligence.
There is also a growing trend towards craft soft drinks aimed at the adult market, including sodas, colas and ginger beers.
For further information on the sourced references for the Business Trends data, outside of the Business Population Estimates 2017 and Nomis official labour market statistics 2010 and 2017, please download the information here (PDF, 240MB)