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'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 consumer groups.

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.

Pete Brown said: “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.

Pete said: “If this trend continues cask ale is forecast to return to growth within the next few years, as the decline from the multinationals levels out.

“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 reach.”

Additional headline findings published in The Intelligent Choice include:

- 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


Editorial contacts, Nick Trueman or Oliver Du Croz, Seal Communications
T: 0121 200 0780

Please contact Seal for:
- Interviews with the author and supporting organisations (spokespeople available from today)
- PDF copies of The Intelligent Choice, your indispensable guide to the cask ale market
- Background on the report, its author and cask ale as a product
- Copies of an up to date industry fact file
- Photography

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