The Intelligent Choice ? a newly published industry report on cask ale (copies now available)
'Ale Revival As Market Heads For Growth'
Industry experts are challenging suggestions that the much maligned
cask ale market is in terminal decline, while consumer and market trends
are converging to make cask the ‘intelligent choice’ for beer retailers.
Their findings are published today (26 September) in a new sector
report, The Intelligent Choice, a unique alliance of industry and
Written by independent author Pete Brown and jointly published by the
Campaign for Real Ale, the Independent Family Brewers of Britain, the
Society of Independent Brewers, the Cask Marque Trust and the Why
Handpull group, the report paints a bright picture of Britain’s iconic,
traditional and world famous tipple.
Most notably, The Intelligent Choice presents evidence to dispel gloomy
predictions that the cask ale market is in permanent decline.
“How can cask ale be suffering when we have more
brewers in the UK than at any one point in the last 50 years? The number
of pubs stocking cask ale is increasing, while consumer group CAMRA is
boasting record membership and bumper attendances at its beer festivals.
“We have overwhelming evidence to challenge the doom and gloom
merchants that take one look at market data and conclude the British
beer industry is in steep terminal decline.”
The report suggests the top-line five percent decline in the ale market
gives a misleading impression since most of the losses come from the
‘big four’ multinational brewers. They dominate the UK beer market and
account for 56 percent of the total ale market, but are systematically
withdrawing support from their cask brands.
At the same time, where regional and local brewers are enthusiastically
supporting their ales the market is seeing strong volume and growth. In
fact, independent and local brewers are growing by an average of 7.5
percent year on year.
“If this trend continues cask ale is forecast to return to
growth within the next few years, as the decline from the multinationals
“Wherever people are actively investing in cask ale, they are reaping
the rewards. Many regional brewers are seeing sustained growth in their
brands and some are starting to become national in their scope and
Additional headline findings published in The Intelligent Choice
- Good quality cask ale is good for pub businesses, accounting for as
much as 40 percent of a pub’s beer sales where it is kept well
- The social climate is right for a cask ale revival. Consumers are
becoming increasingly affluent and show an interest in different and
more complex flavours
- Forget style bars, the traditional pub is back in fashion, which
suits cask ale products
- Consumers are starting to favour buying local produce and cask ale
clocks up far fewer ‘food miles’ than imported lager brands or wines
- The strength of the cask ale market is its diversity, from small
craft brewers producing a few barrels a week, to fast growing regionals
selling hundreds of thousands every year
- posted 12 years ago