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Cask sales fall but still vital to pub trade

Added: Thursday, September 27th 2018

Cask ale

Sales of cask beer are falling faster than the overall beer market, according to new figures compiled by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and featured in the latest Cask Report 2018/19.

The BBPA found the cask market down by 6.8 per cent in volume, according to annual figures to July 2018.

The figures also revealed that while the overall beer market has declined by 1.6 per cent during the past 12 months, some categories are showing growth, such as premium lager up 2.2 per cent.

Cask beer still has a substantial part of the market, with 55 per cent of the overall on-trade ale category and ale accounts for a quarter of all UK on-trade beer sales.

The decline of cask is mainly seen in the more traditional categories such as amber beer while golden beers are experiencing growth. Over the past 12 months, traditional golden ale volumes have grown by 6 per cent. Golden craft, which includes some cask beer, is up by 22 per cent, suggesting there may be even more opportunity for cask in this sector, according to the Cask Report.

In spite of the overall decline in sales, the majority of publicans said cask was a key part of their business and 84 per cent said cask is as important to their trade or even more so than four years ago.

•The average price of a pint of mainstream lager is £3.90, putting it at a higher level than the price of cask. Cask beer ranges from £2.94 a pint in Wales to £3.87 in London. Cask is cheaper than craft kegs, which are priced at between £4.65 and £5.16.