Research points to demand for coffee shops to sell craft beer

Starbucks beer

More coffee shops should sell craft beer to meet consumer demand, according to new research from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

The research, carried out by independent research company M&C Allegra, found that a fifth of people in the UK would visit coffee shops more often if they sold British craft beers.

With leading operators such as Starbucks starting to offer alcohol at some sites (pictured), SIBA has adapted its existing BeerFlex service, which supplies the UK’s biggest pub companies with independent beer from SIBA breweries, to work for the UK’s coffee shops.

SIBA managing director Mike Benner said: “Many of the UK’s large coffee chains, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Harris + Hoole – who are owned by Tescos – have already begun to look to increase the number of outlets with alcohol licences, and the idea of coffee shops as all-day venues is something they are taking extremely seriously.

“It’s important, though, that coffee shops which pride themselves on serving high-quality, expertly prepared coffee, don’t let their offering slip when it comes to beer.

“The UK’s craft brewing industry has never been stronger or more exciting and there is a clear fit between coffee shops and craft-brewed beer – particularly craft canned and bottled beers, which are small, light and easy to store, but offer amazing flavour and quality.”

SIBA also points towards a new wave of small, independent, “beer cafés” cropping up across the UK which fuse the laid-back look of continental coffee shops with British and international craft beer.

Examples in London include Look Mum No Hands!, a fusion of “hipster” bike shop, coffee shop and craft beer bar, with outlets in Shoreditch and Brixton.

Others include The Sparrow in Bradford in West Yorkshire, The Hanging Bat in Edinburgh, Fuggles Beer Café in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, and Hemelvaart Bier Cafe in Bedale in Scottish Borders.

Mike added: “Beer from craft breweries lends itself to being drunk in a variety of outlets and increasingly we are seeing crossover businesses fusing British independent craft beer with a coffee shop style.

“These outlets are popular with a wide and diverse demographic and offer beers which present a true range of flavours meaning there really is something for everybody to enjoy.

“From punchy, intense and bitter to smooth, roasted and full-bodied, the flavours associated with great beer could just as easily be describing coffee.

“In fact the artisan, hand-crafted nature of fantastic coffee has many parallels with the world of independent beer – not least the increasingly young, discerning drinkers that choose it.”

Today’s publication of data follows SIBA’s release of research last month that revealed that more than one in three people would visit restaurants more often if they served a range of craft-brewed British beer.

Other research showed that nine out of 10 consumers were interested in learning about different types of beer.

“Excellence and quality over quantity is clearly the direction the industry is headed, and it is great to see more breweries and bars considering how their beers should be best served, with many pubs, bars and restaurants choosing specific glassware which showcases a particular beer at its best.” Mike added.

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