Independents and multiple specialists are missing out on growth in the premium bottled ale market, according to a new report from the Society of Independent Brewers.
The microbrewers' trade association said smaller stores had the chance to steal market share from the on-trade in the wake of the smoking ban if they offered beers from "local brewers which drinkers may be familiar with from the pub scene".
But already specialists are lagging behind the supermarkets, wh ich are seeing higher growth in the premium bottled ale category.
SIBA said "the off-trade's ability to share in the growing demand for locally-brewed beers is by no means constrained by choice of product or routes to market", with nine out of 10 local brewers marketing a bottled beer or intending to do so by the end of 2008.
The report said that sales of local beers increased by 11 per cent in 2007, and almost 90 per cent of micros are confident or more confident about trading in 2008.
Chief executive Julian Grocock said: "There is an accelerating consumer movement towards principled and ethical purchasing, and buying local is taking precedence even over Fairtrade or organic.
"It shows how in tune local brewers are with current market trends, and how well-placed they are to exploit market opportunities."
Local brewers' beer volume by off-trade 2007 (%)