Category: Uncategorized

The Best Craft Beer Cities in the UK

The UK has developed a worldwide reputation for its beer. Ingrained in British culture, there’s nothing quite like relaxing in good company, with a pint in hand, to lift the spirits.

Alongside some of the country’s biggest and most established breweries, the UK’s craft beer scene has been flourishing in recent years.

So much so that destinations up and down the country have birthed a selection of the best artisanal and craft beers, some of which many would consider to be giving more established names a run for their money. 

It seems that the public has begun to get a taste for craft beer as more independent breweries have emerged across the country, with research sharing that 65% of beer lovers in the UK prefer craft beers more than mainstream ones. This will undoubtedly be fuelling the revolution that is Great Britain’s craft beer industry!

So, for those who consider themselves to be a craft beer lover or even an aficionado, where in the country is best for its craft beer?

Well, here at Independent Cottages, we’re proud of British culture and love to boast about the different corners of Great Britain whenever we can. And when it comes to the country’s evolving craft beer scene, this is no exception. 

This is why we’ve conducted a study to find the best craft beer cities in the UK. Putting all 76 cities throughout the country to the test, we analysed publicly available data on several important craft beer-related factors.

These include the number of independent breweries, the number of craft beer awards that were won in 2023, the number of craft beer-related online searches, the number of pubs in craft beer online search results as well as the cost of a pint, in each city. 

The analysis took into account the population of each city to calculate the rankings, which left us crowning destinations of all sizes around the country as some of the best for their craft beer offerings.

So, where is best for Brits to go and raise a glass, wet their whistle and pick their poison as they expand their craft beer horizons?

The Best Craft Beer Cities in the UK

Stefan Melbourne, the Events and Creative Manager at Track Brewing Co. in Manchester – which came in eighth in the ranking – comments on the craft beer industry in his city and how it has progressed in recent years: “From centuries-old family breweries to upstarts like ourselves (who celebrate our humble 10th anniversary this year) Manchester has a rich brewing tradition. When we established our brewery in Manchester, we were among 16 newcomers that emerged around the same time. A sense of camaraderie and openness was there from the start, with us all pursuing our vision of what beer could be. The city is progressive and is constantly pushing boundaries in every discipline it pursues, and the beer scene is no exception.

The beer landscape has matured, with some breweries sadly closing but the city ultimately flourishing, especially in the food and drink sector. We now see many tourists visiting specifically to experience the beer scene, and we’re fortunate to call exceptional breweries like Cloudwater, Sureshot, and Balance our neighbours, each with outstanding beers and inviting taprooms.”

The Top 5 Craft Beer Cities in the UK

#1 Newcastle

Well-served when it comes to beer – from IPAs to cask ales and, of course, craft beers, Newcastle-upon-Tyne gains first place in the rankings as the destination that all craft beer lovers should be getting a taste of. 

‘The Toon’ is loved for its social atmosphere and impressive architecture, but its flourishing craft beer scene is something that many Brits may have overlooked during their visits to the city. 

Newcastle’s Gateshead is one of the best destinations to hit up in the city. With no short supply of microbreweries, pubs and tap rooms, you don’t have to venture far to be served a selection of the city’s best local craft beer in some of its most popular establishments.

#2 Canterbury

Perhaps a more surprising city to make the rankings, the south of England’s beautiful city of Canterbury has secured itself second place in the rankings. 

Amidst its charming medieval streets and historic landmarks lie plenty of places where you can grab yourself a freshly pulled pint, in atmospheric settings where open fires still roar and pretty pub gardens thrive beneath the sunshine. 

Leaning towards the opposite end of the spectrum compared to the bustling cityscape of Newcastle, Canterbury proudly represents all of the smaller cities across the country that are growing their craft beer scenes with its victorious second place, and acts as proof that others can come up against even some of the most thriving and developed cities that are known for their beer scenes!

#3 Bath

Whilst better known for its Roman origins and spectacular historic architecture that can be found around every corner, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath gained 3rd place in our study.

The city narrowly missed gaining second place from Canterbury, but nonetheless, it sits pridefully in third position as one of the top craft beer cities in the UK

When you’re not snapping a picture of its curving Georgian crescents or its iconic landmarks that ooze historic charm and unique heritage, you might want to quench your thirst with a pint of one of the city’s best craft beers in any one of its traditional pubs and trendy bars dotted around its cobbled streets.

#4 Salisbury

Another southern destination to dominate the rankings – and one that may also surprise readers – is the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury, which gained 4th place in the rankings. 

Its spectacular 13th-century cathedral and proximity to the famous Stonehenge might be why many people recognise its name. But for those who love a pint of craft beer (or two!), it may be the next destination to add to your list of places to visit.  

Given the city’s long-standing history and heritage, many of its best places to pull a pint are quintessential British pubs nestled along its charming market streets, and the city’s small size makes it all the easier to discover them – and the craft beers they offer – on your next visit.

#5 Worcester

Securing position 5 in our rankings was the central English city of Worcester. Situated in the West Midlands, much like a selection of the aforementioned top cities it is home to some of the most significant historic sites in the country. 

Beyond its medieval Cathedral and timber-framed Tudor Houses are a selection of modern bars, cosy pubs and taverns as well as up-and-coming brewpubs to pull up a chair and sample the city’s craft beer scene.

In fact, it’s also one of the top 10 cheapest cities to get a pint in, according to our data, giving you all the more reason to make the most of its craft beers!


We obtained a list of UK cities from the official GOV.UK ‘List of Cities’ webpage

We then analysed each city based on the following data points:

  • Number of independent breweries
  • Number of pubs and drinking establishments in craft beer searches on Trip Advisor
  • Number of craft beer-related online searches
  • Price of a domestic beer (one pint)
  • Number of awards won by the city’s independent breweries in 2023

The first three data points were then calculated per capita to take into account the population of each city. The per capita scores were then used to create the final ranking.

The independent breweries in each city were dissected from a publicly available resource revealing the names and addresses of breweries across the UK. The final number for each city was evaluated based on how accessible the brewery was from the centre of the city by car and by public transportation for visitors. 

Similarly, the number of independent breweries who had won awards in 2023 was sourced from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) website. 

Any cities with an incomplete data set were excluded from the final rankings.

Data is correct as of March 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.