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Top brewer says cask ale is top of the hops

Added: Monday, March 4th 2013

Cask ale has continued to outperform the declining British beer market to deliver its sixth consecutive year of distribution and market share gain, according to leading brewer Marston's. Cask now has a 15% share of all on-trade beer, increasing distribution by 1.6% to 56% of all on-trade venues in the last year.  (Pictured: traditional mash tun at Hook Norton brewery.)

Outlets offering cask ale are more resistant to closure across all trading formats. And cask is recruiting more drinkers looking for a quality experience on their beer drinking occasions with appeal driven by enhanced flavour, craft credentials and brewer provenance.      

Marston’s beer style analysis reveals that lighter golden beers are increasingly popular with younger drinkers. The group, which includes Banks's, Jennings and Ringwood,  has released its latest Cask Ale Report, which outlines the opportunity for retailers to develop their cask offer and boost category growth. The role of cask ale has never been more crucial, providing a unique reason to visit the pub. The category has seen sustained growth while the British beer market declines and has experienced its sixth consecutive year of distribution and market share gain. 

The report also details how outlets offering cask ale are more resistant to closure and are benefiting from a new generation of consumers drinking cask ale, drawn by its appeal to deliver more flavour, craft credentials and brewer provenance than other types of beer. 

James Coyle, Marston’s sales director, says: “Cask ale is becoming increasingly popular and is attracting new drinkers looking for a more premium experience on their beer drinking occasions. Consumers are rejecting beers that have been commoditised by cheap supermarket pricing and are looking for a more rewarding drinking experience when they visit a pub or restaurant.

“This represents a great opportunity for the on trade as cask ale is a unique experience that cannot be replicated at home. Some retailers are daunted by the perception of cask ale being more complex, but that’s where we can help, with our report delivering straightforward advice and support.” 

The report details recommendations for retailers on developing their cask ale offer across three key areas: 

1. Delivering a perfect pint with a dedication to quality from cellar to glass 

2. Ranging to suit their customers’ needs 

3. Sales & serve tactics to build a reputation and  differentiate your offer 

James Coyle adds: “With new drinkers continually recruited to cask ale, we have never had a better opportunity to drive category growth. Both brewers and retailers must grasp the chance to ensure that these drinkers receive a quality experience and help them to find the style of beer that they will enjoy.” 

The report reveals that with more than 1,000 different brewers producing beers, the diversity of beer styles on offer to British consumers has never been greater. This has led Marston’s to segment beer styles into three broad colour categories of Golden, Amber and Dark with flavour attributes revealed through their drinker survey. Although the amber style is most popular with 46% of loyal cask drinkers, golden beers are most popular with younger ‘occasionalist’ cask drinkers. 

James Coyle adds: “We see the simple segmentation and communication of beer styles as vital for category development. It delivers a simple framework to help consumers and customers navigate through the myriad of choice open to them.” 





mash tun