"Calling a pint of bitter a bitter is basically the kiss of death to anyone thinking of trying one for the first time."
As we are in the midst of Cask Ale Week 2015 (Thursday 24 September to Sunday 4 October) it seemed a good a time to address this important point.
Why? Because calling a pint of bitter a bitter is basically the kiss of death to anyone thinking of trying one for the first time, as the just-released Cask Ale Report 2015 points out.
Its exclusive consumer research (by YouGov and CAMRA) found that of the 42 per cent of the population who have never drunk cask ale, 17 per cent of them say it's because it's too bitter.
Leaving aside the question of how they would know, since they haven't tried it, you can see why the report's author Pete Brown suggests publicans refer to it as ale rather than bitter, a term which, he notes, is "increasingly old-fashioned" in any case.
Other advice includes stocking a wide range of styles to overcome perceptions of bitterness and offering a "try-before-you-buy" option to encourage sampling.
Another major barrier to trying cask for the first time is the idea that cask beer is too masculine (12 per cent of non-cask drinkers cited this as a reason).
If we, as the report suggests, assume that most people saying this are women, then there is a real need to overcome the perception (given that the number of women drinking beer has grown substantially in recent years, they offer a rare potential area of growth for cask).
Here glassware will be key, not "feminine" glasses for our tiny lady hands but more elegant options in a range of sizes – an option that research, and Stella Artois chalice glasses, have shown men prefer too.
Whatever you choose to do –and I urge you to do something – it will be worth it in the boost to your bottom line because, as the report points out, cask drinkers visit the pub more often than non-cask drinkers and over the course of a year spend more too.
You could also conceivably bump up the price of your cask ale to gain greater profits.
All nine of the Cask Reports have shown that the price drinkers think they are paying for a pint of cask far outweighs what they are actually paying and in my opinion keeping the price low has done more damage than good to the category.
But that's a whole other column...