Scottish Courage is aiming to breathe much-needed life into the cask ale market with the launch of Theakston Cool Cask, the first chilled real ale from a major brewer.
The company wants to shake off ale’s “beard and sandals” image and capitalise on the growing trend towards cooled beer, reflected in such drinks as Guinness Extra Cold.
The new product, which has 4.2 per cent alcohol by volume, is the result of two years’ research and more than 50 test brews.
It is being launched in 400 selected outlets in the North of England, including JD Wetherspoon and Tom Cobbleigh, prior to a national roll-out in September. Keg and canned versions are also planned.
It will initially be supported by a regional TV and cinema campaign, through CDP, with an estimated spend of more than £2m. It is being launched with the line “real beer just got a little bit cooler”.
It will not be marketed as an “ale” in line with current Scottish Courage policy, which has seen it drop the word from Newcastle Brown packaging and remove “bitter” from John Smith’s.
It will be served at 10ºC – warmer than lager but two degrees cooler than standard cask ale.
Chris Sladen, marketing controller at Theakston Ales, says: “In recent years, there has been an overwhelming consumer shift towards cooler drinks and yet three out of every four pints of cask ale sold in the UK are still served out of specification – which usually means too warm.
“Theakston Cool Cask has been developed to specifically remove this barrier to trial and repeat sale by offering a classic, fruity English ale that combines the taste and quality of authentic cask beer with the image, consistency and refreshment traditionally associated with premium draught lagers.”