THE demise of Britain’s traditional pubs is well documented but the tills are well and truly ringing for local microbreweries.

A penchant for gin and real ale is contributing to the popularity and local brewing companies such as Bridgehouse Brewery are certainly reaping the rewards.

Demand is currently outstripping supply for the Keighley company which launched nine years ago.

According to the company’s sales manager, James Kelly, January tends to be considered a quiet month in the brewing industry - this year Bridgehouse bucked the trend.

“Currently demand is outstripping supply to other pubs and because it is important for Bridgehouse pubs to have a continued supply of our core range, we are currently extending our working practice to hopefully continue this great start to the year,” explains James.

Over the last two years the brewery has undergone significant investment with the construction of the new bespoke brew house capable of producing more than 11,000 pints per week.

James explains the advantage Bridgehouse and other small breweries have is the ability to react to market trends and produce excellent short run beers keeping the industry and beer consumers supplied with new and fresh ideas such as flavoured or gluten free ales.

Their custom base ranges from large tied houses to independents. “We continue to offer other breweries beers through our reciprocal beer scheme but we are not, nor wish to be, a wholesaler but to continue to supply our pubs and regulars with a choice of guest ales from breweries we value and respect. Quite often our directors will ask for one of their favourites to be swapped in (plum porter) and the reciprocals mean you could come across our beers as far north as the isle of sky or as far south as Somerset,” explains James.

They realised trying to compete with supermarkets or the big breweries ‘is futile.’ “And so settled on our pubs and products being about the overall experience and not just volumes.”

James says they also place great importance on supporting and engaging with the local community through initiatives such as ‘meet the brewer’ evenings and opening the brewhouse from 9am until 9pm. They are also shortly launching monthly beer and food pairing evenings with guest speakers at their flagship pub - the Airedale Heifer.

But what about Brexit? “There has never been higher demand globally for beer from our British breweries and for many of our colleague’s export is becoming a key part of their business,” says James.

“As Britain exits the European Union it is vital that export is protected for Britain’s breweries and this thriving industry is given the opportunity to continue to grow. As far as Bridgehouse is concerned the export of our produce isn’t our main priority right now as we continue to grow our Customer base in the UK, we are dedicated to producing beers at the consistently high standard our customers expect.”

Andy Gascoigne, who runs Haworth Steam Brewery, is also celebrating his brewery’s success by expanding to bigger premises.

As well as producing their own range of real ales, Haworth Steam Brewery also produce an extensive range of gins - including the popular Miss Mollies Parma Violet - and tonics.

Andy set up his first microbrewery 20 years ago in Oxenhope. He also ran a microbrewery at the Rose and Crown pub, Cleckheaton, but is now concentrating on Haworth Steam Brewery in Haworth.

“They are becoming popular because they are giving customers choice and keeping prices down,” says Andy.

Andy says the 50 per cent cut on beer duty is enabling him to pass that reduction on to customers through pricing - giving customers value for money. Rotating beers on the bar expands customer choice.

One of the biggest changes Andy has seen in the 20 years since setting up his initial microbrewery is that customers aren’t afraid to try new ales. “I think microbreweries will go from strength to strength,” says Andy.

He’s confident the industry won’t see much impact from Brexit. The only concern he has is the potential impact on the supply and demand of malt. But in terms of business, it’s certainly booming for microbreweries. “People aren’t afraid to try microbrewery beers any more. There is a massive market.”