Cask ale is worth £1.7 billion a year and accounts for 58% of on-trade ale sales in the UK, reveals the 2017 Cask Report released on 21 September.
Now in its 10th edition, the latest report by beer quality accreditor Cask Marque highlights the extent to which the industry has grown over the past decade as craft ale becomes increasingly popular with consumers.
It found that the 36,600 pubs (72% of total pubs) in the UK now sell cask ale, growing from 3,300 pubs (42% of total pubs) in 2007 when the Cask Report was first published. The number of Cask Marque accredited pubs has also increased 160% from 3,690 in 2005 to 9,670 in 2015.
The report also revealed that 90% of cask drinkers say beer quality is very important when choosing where to drink, and that fans are willing to pay for it. Those surveyed spend £967 on average a year in pubs.
To keep up with demand, publicans and their staff need to be clued up on their craft ales, warned the report’s author Sophie Atherton.
She discovered that while the vast majority of consumers (92%) want to know more about the different styles of beer now available, 60% said pubs don’t offer sufficient tasting notes on how beer looks, tastes and smells. Only 36% feel that bar staff have an understanding of cask.
Atherton, said, “People are starting to talk about cask ale with more passion and bar staff need to understand how cask ales are different from other beers. They need to be able to describe them. They need to be the ones starting the cask conversation.”
The CaskFinder app
To help change this, Cask Marque has revealed a new feature of its CaskFinder app that will give users instant information about a certain cask ale brand.
The app’s new ‘pump clip recognition’ feature lets users take a photo of a beer’s pump clip, then the app provides information about the beer, such as tasting notes and details about its ingredients, colour and flavour.
Paul Nunny, CEO of Cask Marque, said, “If licensees want to stay ahead in their game, they can use CaskFinder to supplement workforce training. The instant access to information allows bar staff to sell intelligently and consumers to buy knowledgeably.”