Where can you find the UK's best bevvy?

byLes Roberts on September 24th 2021

Is there any institution that is more beloved within the United Kingdom than the Great British boozer? You need look no further back than the nationwide lockdown to find evidence of the UK’s unwavering affection for pubs. Brits were counting down the days until they could pop into their best-loved local for a swift half.

But while the promise of a cold beer in a warm pub was one of the things that helped Brits through the pandemic, Covid has had a devastating impact on independent pub culture - thousands have closed down across the country and the industry is fighting for its survival. 

Different pints of beers set around a beer mat that says The Brewdex - Bionic

To support the great British pub, Bionic has worked out the UK’s top locations for craft beer and independent boozers. Using data collected from reviews of pubs across the UK, we’ve judged each location on the number of independent pubs in the area, their average star rating, their unique beers, the number of breweries and their ratings on untapped.com. 

These six unique metrics were then used to score each city out of 100 to discover which tops our Brewdex!

From London to Portsmouth the top 10 UK cities for craft beer and independent pubs

We found that the best UK city for your perfect craft pint is none other than Newcastle. This popular university city has a whopping 1,276 pubs in total, with 343 unique beers from it’s top four breweries also on offer. This, along with a location score of 7, gives the North East hub a mighty impressive total index score of 80 out of a possible 100.

A bar top with ten pints of beer, each representing the best UK cities for craft beer

Birthplace of the UK’s longest-running TV pub, the Rovers Return, Manchester comes in second place with a total score of 77. Manchester is home to over 1,600 independent pubs serving 781 unique beers. Similar to Newcastle, Manchester also has four top-rated breweries with an average brewery score of four. This North West city also holds a very respectable average 6-star rating for pub location.

Although it largely serves pints at a higher price, London comes in third place. As the UK’s capital, it’s no wonder they have more pubs than any of the other cities analysed, with a staggering 5,800 boozers. Offering up to 260% more pubs than the Northern cities of Newcastle and Manchester, London is also home to four top-rated breweries. On offer in those pubs are 52 unique beers and an average star rating for pub location of 5, leaving for a total index score of 71.

Keep scrolling for the full list for craft beer and independent pubs.

RankLocationNumber of top-rated breweriesTotal number of unique beersAverage Brewery scoreAverage number of ratings per breweryNumber of pubs in locationAverage star rating for pub locationTotal index score out of 100
1Newcastle434341369151276780
2Manchester478143872681613677
3London45524692025800571
4Ipswich21954759271148770
5Gloucester22094158809831669
6Truro21494263972475762
7Bristol32864701771096660
8Leeds24794773865976659
9Nottingham115941349621311659
10Portsmouth5247416949997659
11Derby11394547511102757
12Stockport12024733763874746
13Birmingham1854244031643646
14Worcester1278446377445744
15Sheffield1804255331875644
16Brighton378410768881644
17Preston2166412873713644
18Leicester14451312990744
19Colchester197420751810743
20Bradford12941512779741

The UK’s most Instagrammable craft beers and independent ciders

From capturing pub garden lights to videoing the live band, it’s not uncommon for us Brits to share our evenings on social media. And the same can be said for a perfectly poured pint. But we wanted to see just which pint was the most photogenic and popular on the ‘gram. 

Topping the list of most Instagrammable pint isn’t actually a British pint at all but an American Beer, Bell’s. The family-owned craft brewing company has gained a massive 105,000 Instagram hashtags for their beer.

Table showing the UK's 10 most photographed pints of beer and cider

It seems that Instagram isn’t just for the Millennials, as old-time favourite Warsteiner takes second place with 105,000 Instagram hashtags - proving that Instagram is not just for newer brands. 

The Warsteiner Brewery was founded in 1753, and is one of the largest privately held breweries in Germany, yet is still proving popular on social media. Securing the final top third space, is St Austell, with 65,100 hashtags. Like Warsteiner, this British brewery is over 100 years old, starting back in 1851 and still gaining popularity on social media.

The UK’s most popular independent pints across the generations

After looking further into these Instagrammable pints we were also able to find the generational popularity, from the camera snapping millennials to the baby boomers. But no matter how large the age disparity between millennials, generation Xers, and baby boomers - it seems that they can all agree on their favourite poured pint. 

Despite holding 40% overall popularity, the somerset cider, Thatchers Gold, is the most popular throughout the generations. Its overall fame by our estimation is 40%, four times more than Bell’s in the top spot, popular with 61% of millennial drinkers, 47% of Generation Xers, and 45% of Baby Boomers. 

Keep scrolling for the full list of UK’s most popular independent pints across the generations.

RankBeerOverall FameOverall PopularityMillennials PopularityGen X PopularityBaby Boomers PopularityIndependent BeerInstagram Hashtag Volume
1Bell’s36%10%2%12%14%Independent105,000
2Warsteiner28%13%21%11%10%Independent105,000
3St Austell46%23%18%22%26%Independent65,100
4Shepherd Neame29%17%12%20%28%Independent23,500
5Thornbridge24%10%15%8%1%Independent16,900
6Great Lakes24%13%12%16%15%Independent16,700
7Foam Brewers14%4%7%1%0%Independent13,900
8Thatchers Gold78%40%61%47%45%Independent11,000
9Samuel Smith's34%16%17%9%22%Independent10,200
10Black Sheep33%19%27%18%13%Independent8,400
11Hook Norton18%9%8%8%18%Independent6,100
12Bath Ales27%14%15%17%6%Independent5,300
13Sierra Nevada30%13%17%12%4%Independent5,300
14Wadsworth28%15%13%11%19%Independent4,800
15Bishops Finger55%30%29%36%31%Independent3,600
16Tanglefoot35%19%17%24%22%Independent3,200
17Old Peculier54%26%18%28%31%Independent2,700
18Fursty Ferret28%17%18%27%9%Independent2,300
19Badger Ales35%18%21%16%17%Independent1,700
20Marz Community13%5%6%8%1%independent1,600
21Brains31%12%10%14%16%Independent1,100
22Otter Ale29%11%12%5%14%Independent665
23Purity Brewery20%11%14%9%9%Independent331
24Chimay20%12%16%17%4%Independent325
25Otter Bitter26%14%16%14%10%Independent222
26Timothy Taylor30%12%14%14%12%Independent148
27Bellerose21%9%11%12%4%Independent104
28Spitfire Kentish Ale45%24%18%32%29%Independent100
29Yuenging Lager22%8%13%10%1%independent22
30Brakspear Triple22%9%9%15%10%independent14

What's your favourite pint and where do you like to drink it? Send us a picture on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtag #BionicBredwex  

Methodology

Data was collected from pubsgalore.co.uk on the number of pubs in each area as well as their average reviews. This data was then used alongside brewery information from untapped.com to create an index from 6 metrics, The metrics were scored from 1-27 (27 being the best figure) before adding each metrics index scores together. The total scores were then converted to a result out of 100 by dividing the total score by 162 and multiplying by 100.

The definition of a brewery from untapped.com: "A brewery must have at least 1,000 ratings and at least 5 beers in their portfolio to qualify for this list"