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Booming cask beer is big boost for pubs

Added: Thursday, September 24th 2015

cask ale

The 2015 Cask Report shows that amid Britain’s booming interest in food and drink, sales of real ale, with its natural credentials, are growing. The research also shows that cask drinkers are more valuable to pubs than any other drinkers.

Cask ale accounts for 17% of all beer sales and its on-trade (pub) share is predicted to reach 20% by 2020.

The report, by beer writer and industry commentator Pete Brown, sayst cask ale drinkers visit the pub twice as often as the average pubgoer. Their annual spend on food and drink in pubs amounts to £967. This is:

  • almost double the spend of the general population
  • 63% higher than wine drinkers
  • 48% higher than beer drinkers who don’t drink cask ale
  • 45% higher than spirits drinkers.

“Cask ale drinkers are a lifeline to tens of thousands of British pubs,” says Pete Brown.

“But,” he adds, “it’s not just the money they themselves are spending that makes these drinkers so important. It’s also the fact that they bring other people with them. Our research shows that 70% of cask ale drinkers take the lead when deciding which pub to go to with a group of friends.

“So although till receipts may show cask beer to be a relatively small proportion of pubs’ takings, it drives sales of other drinks, helping keep pubs profitable – and open!”

He says that the "value chain" is at least in part the result of cask beer’s uniqueness to pubs. As a fresh, unpasteurised product with live yeast, it completes the brewing process in the cellar. “The fact is,” says Pete Brown, “people can drink wine, spirits and most beers more cheaply at home. But the only place they can get cask-conditioned beer is in the pub.

“This means that cask drinkers are more ‘regular’ than other drinkers – 50% of them going to the pub once a week or more – helping to fill the venue and create atmosphere. They are a quintessential part of ‘pubiness’, helping differentiate the pub from other food and drink outlets.”

There are now 1,700 breweries – and new ones are opening at the rate of nearly four a week. Throughout the course of 2014, 11,000 different cask beers were produced by British brewers according to the report. Licensees and pub companies have far more options when they are deciding what to buy than they did five years ago.  In 2010, just 4% of pubs stocked seven real ales or more, now over 12% stock that many.

“Cask-conditioned ale is in growth, its market share is increasing, and drinkers have more choice in terms of style, strength, colour, aroma and flavour than ever before. What a great success story for British industry,” says Pete.

Visit where digital copies of the report are available.

The Cask Report is supported by the Cask Marque Trust, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB).

Further press info:  Frances Brace 07432 692309