WEST Yorkshire is Britain’s biggest region for real ale – and Huddersfield is one of its hotspots.
Figures from real ale campaign group Camra show that West Yorkshire has the most real ale breweries in the UK with 34 – many of them are in the Huddersfield area.
West Yorkshire is followed by Norfolk with 31 real ale breweries and Derbyshire and North Yorkshire, both with 28.
Devon has 27 with Cumbria on 26, Greater Manchester on 25 and Gloucestershire on 21.
The top 10 is completed by Cornwall with 20 and Staffordshire with 19 real ale breweries.
The survey, published to coincide with the launch of Camra’s 2010 Good Beer Guide, said more breweries were now operating in the UK than at any time since the Second World War – with 71 starting production in the last 12 months and taking the national total to 711.
New breweries in Huddersfield include The Nook Brewery set up by brother and sister Ian Roberts and Sheila Sutton, licensees at The Nook pub, Longwood.
They join existing micro-breweries such as Riverhead at Marsden, Linfit at Linthwaite, Mallinsons at Lindley, Summer Wine at Honley and Dewsbury’s Anglo Dutch Brewery.
John Broadbent, of Golcar Brewery, said: “Real ale seems to be doing something right. I have been saying so for a long time!”
Mr Broadbent, who launched his business at Swallow Lane, Golcar, in 2002, said: “I have never been so busy supplying local pubs and wholesalers.
“Huddersfield is well-blessed with breweries and while you can buy a can of Carlsberg for 50p in the supermarket, people are prepared to pay a premium price for real ale.”
Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz said: “For the first time since the 19th century, Britain is the undisputed top brewing country in the world. It has more small craft breweries per head of population than all other major industrialised countries, but it also offers tremendous choice.
“While most other countries offer mainly mainstream lagers, Britain has milds, bitters, strong ales, porters, stouts, barley wines, old ales, Christmas ales, spring beers, golden beers and harvest ales to name just a few.”
Mr Protz said the rebirth of British brewing was due to the pioneering work of Camra and the enthusiasm and innovation of independent brewers, adding: “There are now more than twice as many breweries as when Camra was launched in 1971.”
The Society of Independent Brewers said membership rose by 7% through 2008 and total beer volumes rose by 10%.
The Good Beer Guide features 1,297 new pub entries and 71 new breweries. All 711 real ale breweries are listed.
Mick Moss, Camra’s regional director for Yorkshire, said: “Despite many pubs struggling in the current economic climate, this year’s Good Beer Guide highlights that the real ale scene in Yorkshire is thriving.
“Camra members in the local area have been busy all year locating the best pubs for submission into the guide.
“Only pubs serving a consistently high standard of real ale have been considered.”