On Saturday 11 February, members of the Sheffield & District branch headed all around the city and its surrounds to complete the Sheffield Pub Survey (the first we have done since lockdown). The purpose of the event was to take a snapshot of the range and cost of real ales and to update CAMRA’s WhatPub database with post-Covid opening times.
Groups on various different routes set off at midday and met up at 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. As during our last survey (Sep 2019) the weather was good especially considering the survey is not normally in February.
131 Pubs were surveyed (fewer than we would have liked), but a respectable 561 beers were recorded. From this data 309 unique beers were identified from 129 different breweries. Given the time of year, the general trend of reduced beer ranges post-Covid and surveying fewer pubs, we still believe Sheffield can claim to be the Beer Capital, offering the widest choice of cask ales. In fact, for the 110 pubs which were surveyed in person (rather than using data available via social media) an average of 4.6 cask ales per pub were available for sale on the day, the same number as during the pre-Covid survey in Sep 2019! For 77 pubs which were surveyed both in 2019 and again this year there was a decrease in the range of beers from an average of 5.52 beers per pub, down to 4.95. This represents a drop of only 10% in choice which with all things considered is quite positive.
The average cost of a pint of real ale was £3.63 (up 40p/12% compared to Sep 2019). If Wetherspoons and Samuel Smiths are excluded from this data the average cost per pint was £3.90 (up 56p/17%). With no beer duty increases since the last survey, prices are up in excess of 3.5% per year but we suspect most of the increase has been in the last two years. The cheapest beers were Green King’s Ruddle’s Best and IPA at £1.71 a pint. The dearest was a 9.5% Monsters English Barleywine 2021 by Torrside Brewing at £6.60.
Local breweries dominated the pumps with Bradfield (63), Abbeydale (51) and Thornbridge (28) being the top three most widely available.
The top spot this year was taken by Bradfield’s Farmers Blonde available in 28 of the pubs surveyed, with Abbeydale’s Moonshine and Sharp’s Doom Bar taking the second and third spots.
A special thanks to everyone involved in going out to venues and gathering all the data to make up this survey.