[Note: a couple US retailers have offered their own insights in the comments below. Well worth a read.]
In addition to writing and blogging about beer, Zak Avery manages
British beer is on the up: this year, people bought more British beer than ever before, particularly at Christmas, when they were buying presents for others. And I don't mean just from the usual suspects (BrewDog, Marble, Thornbridge - although they sell very well), but also generically as a category, from Hook Norton Old Hooky to Ilkley Mary Jane. I think that this signals a turning point for British beer, and people are finally realising that it is simultaneously a great national and also a local product.I'm hoping he expands on that last sentence. With the amount of information I have on the subject--zero percent--I could interpret it a number of different ways. I'd like to understand it, though.
Belgian beer is on the wane: fifteen years ago, Belgian beer (and I'm talking all across the board, from Leffe to Trappist to Palm to De Dolle) was new and relatively undiscovered. Five years ago, interested peaked, and today, it's a declining sector. There are certain niches that defy this trend, but overall, there isn't any growth left in Belgian beer in the UK.
American beer is on the verge of going stellar: Sierra Nevada have doubled the volume of imports into the UK each year for the last four years. People like American 'craft' beer because it is largely tasty and uncomplicated. I'm not talking Lost Abbey, I'm talking Odells, Flying Dog, Brooklyn et al. American craft brewing is also showing its most profound influence yet on British brewing.
Also, I wonder if Chris or one of the Beermongers folks could reflect back their impressions of the waxing and waning of imports. My sense is that Belgians are still very much a big deal in the US. True? How are British and German imports faring?