Annual Beer Census

Our annual Beer Census started out being known as the ‘Beer Capital Survey’ as it was a competition between Derby and Sheffield to prove which was the real ale capital in terms of beer choice. Sheffield always wins of course and in terms of smaller cities, York and Norwich also beat Derby – although it hasn’t stopped Derby attracting tourists on the basis of it’s pubs, breweries and beer festivals!

Sheffield of course is also known for having a great beer scene with loads of pubs offering a variety of different beers and many enthusiasts make a regular pilgrimage to come and try new beers!

On a more serious note, the beer census takes the pulse of Sheffield’s beer scene, not only recording how many different beers can be found but also the most successful breweries and brands, tracking the average price of a pint and more.

This year we conducted the survey on Saturday 5th September. Whilst we were a little thin on the volunteer numbers again we still managed to run 13 survey routes and visit 145 pubs across the City hosting a total of 730 handpumps.

The number of different, unique cask beers we found was 385 – impressive! It proves that Sheffield is like one big beer festival every day and there must be beers of different styles, strengths and flavours out there catering for everyone!

The most common beers found in the pubs surveyed (it should be noted that not every pub was surveyed due to the limited number of people so we did restrict it to pubs that we know often sell a reasonable selection of ales – this can affect the outcome) were:

1 – Bradfield Farmers Blonde (33 pubs)
2 – Abbeydale Moonshine (32 pubs)
3 -Sharps Doom Bar (24 pubs)
4 – Greene King IPA (14 pubs)
=5 – Greene King Abbot Ale (13 pubs)
=5 – Black Sheep Bitter (13 pubs)
=7 – Timothy Taylor Landlord (12 pubs)
=7 – Kelham Island Easy Rider (12 pubs)
=8 -Tetley Bitter (11 pubs)
=8 – Abbeydale Deception (11 pubs)

The breweries with the most pumps encountered were
1 – Abbeydale (62 pumps)
2 – Bradfield (56 pumps)
3 – Greene King (55 pumps)
4 – Thornbridge (34 pumps)
=5 – Kelham Island (29 pumps)
=5 – Sharp’s (29 pumps)

and finally, the average price of a pint of real ale in Sheffield across those beers where the price was noted was £2.86 with the cheapest being Greene King Ruddles Bitter (3.7% ABV) in the Rawson Spring Wetherspoons (£1.70 per pint) and the most expensive beer noted was £4.20 a pint for Thornbridge Rattlesnake (6% ABV) in the Bath Hotel.


The latest survey figures found for other Cities doing the same survey….

Derby – 200 different beers
Nottingham – 334 different beers
Norwich – 254 different beers
York – 281 different beers
Leeds (City Centre only) – 189 different beers


About Andy Cullen

Andy has been actively involved in CAMRA since the early 2000s after being recruited to sit on a National Younger Members Task Group. Since then he has held roles on the branch committee including Secretary, Membership Secretary, Magazine Editor, Chair and now Social Secretary. Andy has also been involved with the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival almost every year since becoming active in the branch.

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