Demand for beer kits is seeing a sharp rise as the country heads towards Christmas and the start of the World Cup in November. One fan, Steve Wilson-Sampson, is brewing 120 pints for the festive season
The cost of drinking crisis is turning us into a nation of home brewers.
Industry experts predict £7 will soon be normal for the price of a pint of beer in pubs and bars.
But the ingredients for making beer at home can work out at 50p a pint – and enthusiasts say the taste is just as good as commercially brewed tipples.
Demand for beer kits is seeing a sharp rise as the country heads towards Christmas and the start of the World Cup in November.
One fan, Steve Wilson-Sampson, a 22-year-old car salesman from Chesterfield, Derbys, is brewing 120 pints for the festive season.
He said: “It’s such good value. I’ve got a couple of IPAs and a lager on at the moment. They’re easy to make and it’s great quality beer.”
Steve buys £20 home brew kits that make 40 pints and plans to give bottles of beer as Christmas presents.
Traditional kits like these consist of tins or bags of malt extract which you tip into a fermenting bin, adding water, yeast and sometimes hops.
Many manufacturers say the beer should be ready to drink in about three weeks but the time it takes can vary dramatically, depending on temperature and other factors, and the quality usually improves with age.
Shops and websites sell beginners’ packages which include a beer kit and the basic equipment, like syphon tubing and steriliser, for £40-£50.
Lou Ellerton, of retail expert Kantar, said: “The home brewing market is tapping into a variety of trends that are making it a great Christmas gift this year.
“It’s perfect to hit a growing desire for more clean label and organic food and drink, with people choosing more premium craft beers in smaller quantities, and lets drinkers feel a sense of pride and achievement.
“And with beginners’ kits available from around £40, it’s a relatively small investment, the equivalent of just five or six pints at central London prices.”
Darren Byrne, boss of Chesterfield-based home brew giant LoveBrewing, said his sales were rising as the economic crisis worsens.
He added: “In terms of beers you can make anything you can dream of – IPAs, lagers, stouts. Our IPAs are especially good.
“With home brew a lot of people are put off by memories of the 1980s when this horrible brown rocket fuel was made in the bathtub.
“It’s not like that. The quality is now exactly the same as what you’d buy in the pub or supermarket.
“Each batch makes 40 pints which works out at 75p a pint.”
He said lockdowns saw a huge surge in home brewing, tripling the business.
Another home brewing company, Pinter, was founded during the pandemic in 2020 in Walthamstow, East London, and is now worth £50million and one of the UK’s fastest growing online firms.
Pinter’s stylish keg-shaped device, dubbed “Nespresso for beer”, costs £79 in a starter kit and makes the brewing process easy. It makes beer from ingredient packs which cost about £15 for 10 pints and are typically ready to drink in a week.
Spokesman Alex King said: “Our priority is gifting this Christmas. It’s perfect for dads and younger males.
“With the World Cup coming up, we’re expecting 80% to watch from home and our product is perfect to enjoy while having friends over.”
Andy Parker, a home brewing expert, said the top home brew brands are Muntons, Coopers and Mangrove Jack’s.
He added: “Home brewing has really come on in terms of variety. There are so many different beer kits available. People are turning to it because it’s really pennies a pint, it’s so affordable.”
Pub prices have skyrocketed over the last decade.
Last week one brewery boss claimed £7 a pint could soon be the norm in city bars because of the rising cost of energy and ingredients.
The average pint in UK pubs is around £4, or £5 in London but some bars in the capital already charge over £7.
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