Why cask ales are a key to future profits

Craft Beer

A guest blog from Brett Laniosh about the benefits of serving cask ales to your customers.

The BBPA beer barometer shows that beer sales in the first quarter of 2018 were down nearly 2% and that last year’s rise in duty was a factor. The growth and interest in the craft sector has seen a significant rise in the number of beers served in both bottles and cans. Nevertheless, the key choice will still be between cask and keg. Some countries such as Belgium have a long history of selling quality beer in bottles and this is spreading into the UK. Unpasteurised, flavoursome and interesting beers are also being developed in cans with many of the new smaller breweries making a success of this market.

Cask would appear to have many downsides compared to keg. It needs more care when setting up, it contains sediment that makes beer cloudy if disturbed and has a shorter shelf life of 3 days. But unlike keg beer, cask undergoes a secondary fermentation that improves the flavour of the beer. Many consider a well-kept pint of British cask-conditioned beer to be the ‘pinnacle of the brewers’ art’. Most importantly for the licensee, it is a drink that is almost uniquely drunk in a pub.

It is easy for drinkers to buy keg beer in a supermarket, but when it comes to real ale they need to go to a pub. Ian Rigg is the licensee of the award-winning Taps in Lytham St Annes and has found that promoting cask ale results in year on year growth. In Ian’s words, “The supermarkets can copy other things, but they can’t copy real ale. As long as it’s served correctly, I’ve got the supermarkets stuffed!’”

The important message is that quality is key. Far too many pubs are selling poorly kept beer, so training and information about beer and how to look after it is vital.

The Cask Report 2018 found that cask drinkers are…

  • Twice as likely to return to the pub than other alcohol drinkers
  • Twice as likely to stay for another drink
  • Almost twice as likely to recommend your pub

Brett says: ‘It pays to promote cask beers in your pub. It’s vital that the beers you choose are top quality and that they are served at the peak of their condition. Get it right and you will have a winning formula with happy customers staying for another beer, as well as returning and recommending your pub to their friends. It’s a no-brainer!’

If you need any advice or guidance on keeping and serving best quality cask ales contact guru@cellarcraftuk.com

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