Recent market research has shown that alcohol consumption in Britain has fallen by 18% since 2004. The beer sector has also seen a decline in demand but within this sector, the Society of Independent Brewers has reported a steady growth amongst its members. The number of breweries in Britain is at a 70 year high with a total of over 1800 established independent breweries in 2015. There is no sign of the sector growth slowing and the demand for locally produced beer continues.
PhD research on the sustainability of craft beer in Wales is being conducted at Bangor University’s School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography. The work will be based on information from small breweries across Wales and has been funded through the KESS 2 scheme.
Dyfed Morgan, originally from Criccieth, has recently been appointed through a research funding partnership with the Welsh Government (Food and Drink) and local small breweries.
Dyfed said: “I’m really interested in the brewing industry and for the dissertation of my MBA course in 2015 I undertook some research into the micro craft brewing industry. My objectives were to better understand the success of the craft breweries in the area – how they have developed over the years and their attitude towards networking with other businesses in the industry to achieve their success.
“I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to stay in the field of brewing, and this new research will look at the environmental footprint of breweries in Wales and also analyze the benefits to the local economy created by local breweries. The project covers the whole of Wales and I am keen to collaborate with breweries from all areas. So far, the response has been very positive with many breweries interested in their environmental impact. Not only will the results be interesting from an academic perspective, but they will be a useful means of showing breweries possible money saving opportunities.”
The project is co-supervised by Dr Eifiona Thomas Lane and Dr David Styles at Bangor University. Dr Lane said: “In this action research project that depends on partnership with local companies, we will use the information shared by the brewers to support more sustainable and therefore more competitive production. Because of this, this research is innovative and quite exciting because of the difference it can make to the Welsh craft beer brewers and the wider brewing sector. I’m really looking forward to working with the unique brewers we have across Wales and also with the wider craft beer community.”
Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.