Rising sales of cask ale could help save the British pubs

Pubs serving “good” cask ale have experienced a year-on-year trade growth of 14% compared to a fall of 2.5% for pubs not serving cask ale, according to a new Intelligent Choice Report.

The report, which is backed by brewers including Adnams, Greene King, Marston’s and Fuller’s, says that while general beer sales have declined by 8% over the last year, real ale sales are way ahead of the overall beer market with a mere 0.3% dip in volume. Regional and local brews are performing even better with a growth in value in the year to May 2008 of 1.8%.

The author of the report Pete Brown says: “The report shows how Britain’s national drink is really helping landlords and landladies keep business – and even grow it – in challenging times. It gives a real point of difference for pubs over supermarkets.

“You can’t buy pub atmosphere in a shop and neither can you buy cask beer. Great quality cask ale is one of the key elements to keep attracting people into their locals. It’s a massive reason to visit.”

The research also shows that 65% of UK drinkers have never tried cask ale but among those who sample it, 40% convert and broaden their repertoire of drinks to include cask ale.

“At a time when the brewing industry is having to deal with so much – from spiralling raw material and utility costs to massive tax increases on a pint of beer, you might think that global lager brands with a big marketing spend would be weathering the storm much better. But it is actually cask ale with its inherent quality, its freshness and uniqueness which is coming out on top,” adds Brown.

The report also says that cask ale is to Britain what wine is to France and that “there is a new sense of celebrating our national drink”.

The report also cites sponsorship deals from some of the major cask producers that has added to the success of the drink, including England Rugby by Greene King IPA, English Heritage by Wells Bombardier, England Cricket by Marston’s and the London Marathon by London Pride.

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