On Saturday 10 June, members of the Sheffield & District branch travelled to all corners of the city for the annual Beer Census. The intention was to gain some insight into the amount, range and cost of the real ales available in Sheffield on any given day. It’s an annual opportunity to take the pulse of the Sheffield ale scene, and a great excuse to visit a few of those pubs you walk past all the time but never seem to go in.
Our intrepid enumerators headed out from midday, some surveying more than 20 pubs, before convening at the Red Deer in the city centre in the evening (a few of them a little worse for wear!). Unfortunately, we were not able to visit as many pubs as last year, but we believe that what we did find enables us to sustain our claim of being the Beer Capital of the UK.
136 pubs were visited on the day and between them they offered 590 real ales. That equates to an average of 4.3 handpumps per pub, which is far higher than the number found by Manchester in their recent beer survey. In total, there were 360 unique beers from 148 different breweries. Real cider was available at 24 of the pubs surveyed, comprising 25 unique ciders from 20 different makers.
The average cost of a pint of real ale was £3.12, an increase of about 8p (or 2.6% for the mathematically minded) from last year. This is in line with 2% inflation, plus the 2p beer duty added in the March budget. Beers ranged in price from £1.79 to £5.60. The average amount paid for a pint of real cider was somewhat higher at £3.72.
Local breweries dominated the pumps, with Abbeydale (57), Bradfield (50) and Thornbridge (46) the top three most widely available breweries in Sheffield’s pubs. Abbeydale’s Moonshine took the top spot in the beer standings, being offered in 33 of the 136 pubs visited. Encouragingly, local beers held six of the top ten places.
Thanks to everyone who organised and took part in the census, and a special thank you to Phil Ellett who created an excellent online system for us to check-in our findings.