Annual Beer Census – the results

On Saturday 30 March, members of the Sheffield & District branch headed all around the city and its surrounds to complete the Annual Beer Census (although we were unable to do one last year). The purpose of the event was to take a snapshot of the range and cost of real ales and real ciders available in Sheffield on a given day.

It was a great excuse to visit a large number of pubs including many you do not normally go to, with the added bonus of it being a lovely bright sunny day.

Each group set out at midday surveying around 20 pubs before heading to the Red Deer in the city centre. From here, those that could still make it, headed out to other areas and pubs which had not yet been surveyed. We visited slightly fewer pubs than we hope to but still a very respectable number and certainly enough to maintain our claim that Sheffield is the Beer Capital of the UK.

154 pubs were visited on the day, offering between them 709 real ales. This equates to 4.6 real ales per pub (higher than 2017’s figure of 4.3) and a number yet again far higher that Manchester in its last survey. Real Cider was available in 19 of the pubs surveyed, with a choice of 28 different ciders from 17 makers.

In total there were 407 unique real ales from 189 different breweries, which is a record for the number of breweries in a survey.

The average cost of a pint of real ale was £3.23, an increase of 11p (or 3.6%) from the June 2017 survey. With no increase in beer duty during this period (21 months) this is pretty much in line with inflation. Beers ranged in price from £1.89 to £4.80. The average price of a pint of Real Cider was down 17p from the last survey at £3.63 per pint.

Local breweries dominated the pumps with Abbeydale (69), Thornbridge (49) and Bradfield (44) the top three most widely available breweries in Sheffield pubs.

Abbeydale’s Moonshine took the top spot, available in 37 (around 1 in 4) of the pubs surveyed. Of the top 11 most popular beers, 5 were from local breweries.

A big thanks to everyone who took part and special thanks to Patrick Johnson who single-handedly survey 38 pubs!


Top 10 Breweries
rank Brewery no of pumps
1 Abbeydale 69
2 Thornbridge 49
3 Bradfield 44
4 Stancill 35
5 Greene King 32
6 Sharp’s 22
7 True North Brew Co 20
8 Acorn 17
9 Neepsend Brew Co. 16
10 Kelham island 13
Blue Bee 13


Top 10 Beers
Rank Brewery bname abv nopumps
1 Abbeydale Moonshine 4.3 37
2 Bradfield Farmer’s Blonde 4 29
3 Sharp’s Doom Bar 4 18
4 Greene King Abbot Ale 5 13
5 Greene King IPA 3.6 12
Tetley’s Tetley’s Bitter 3.7 12
7 Abbeydale Deception 4.1 11
8 Thornbridge Jaipur 5.9 10
9 Timothy Taylors Landlord 4.3 9
10 Black Sheep Best Bitter 3.8 8
Stancill Barnsley bitter 3.8 8

Cheapest £1.89
Average £3.23
Dearest £4.80

Strongest 10% : Lagunita’s – Brown Shugga
Average 4.4%
Weakest 3.2% : Sharp’s – Rising Tide


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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