Craft boom brings some zest back to the pub stalwart

Big Number: 15 per cent of all cask ale drinkers first tried it within the last three years

As craft beer continues to grow and with an end to the beer-tie potentially in sight, things are looking positive for cask fans.

The category is in fact in volume growth in the on-trade, up 4.5 per cent, to a total of 634m pints per year. That means one in six pints of beer served in pubs is now a cask ale.

New drinkers are being lured into the category by the plethora of styles and veneer of cool that the craft beer boom has provided. Women are coming into the category, and 75 per cent of those who try it continue to drink it, as well as young people – a third of all 18 to 24-year-olds have tried cask ale now.

The "with food" opportunity is also finally looking as if it has potential. Boosted by investment from the pan-industry There's A Beer For That campaign, which is heavily concentrated on beer and food matching, the idea of swapping wine for beer has become more acceptable.

For licensees, however, the big opportunity is around offering choice – but not too much choice. Research has shown, time and again, that drinkers want less churn on the beer taps than Publicans themselves – the former wants to see four or five different beers in a four-week period, while the latter wants to offer an average of seven.

 

Supplier's eye view:

Category growth comes from making the offering accessible to all especially younger drinkers who are new to cask ale. This means demystifying the offering to make it more approachable and training staff to provide cle

 

Click on the links to see our other category reports:

 

Cider: the bubble has truly burst

Wine: Italy is shaking up the fizz category

Soft drinks: more and more important to pubs

Spirits: US whiskey and rum make a splash

Lager: big brands retain their appeal despite all the innovation

 

Statistics: The Cask Report 2015

Image: ©tab1962 via Canva.com