According to the Cask Report, four new breweries are opening every week and cask ale sales are still increasing. The flip side, however, is that 29 pubs are closing every week which means the level of competition between pubs and other hospitality venues is extreme. Pubs really have to differentiate themselves to engage drinkers.
“Cask Ale Week provides a fantastic platform, “says Paul Nunny, Cask Marque director (pictured right). “More breweries, pub companies, pubs and CAMRA branches than ever before tapped into the messages from the Cask Report and organised events and activities to really make the most of the opportunities.”
After 12 successful years, the claim to be better than ever before may be bold but here’s some of the evidence:
- More than 1,500 events took place including everything from brewery open days and beer festivals, to free pint offer and promotions, to tutored tastings and beer and food events
- 9,600 Cask Marque pubs offered Try Before You Buy
- Scans of Cask Marque certificates in accredited pubs increased by 67% during the 11 days – indicating a huge increase in footfall.
The Cask Report reveals that cask ale drinkers spend £967 every year in the pub. “Any licensee who runs a promotion, or organises an event or activity that encourages new drinkers to try cask ale has the potential to convert someone into a regular and bring another £967 annual income to their pub,” says Paul. “Beer festivals are a great example. They provide the occasion to bring more people into the pub and the opportunity for rare cask drinkers or those yet to try it, to do just that.”
Highlights from Cask Ale Week 2015
“Cask Ale Week is a great industry initiative – it’d be mad not to be part of it!” says Stephen Martin, Punch’s category manager drinks.
“Our free pint offer was e-mailed to 7 million people, ran in 840 pubs and resulted in 10,000 pints being given away! We’re looking forward to repeating in again in 2016.”
Leonora Whitehouse, trade marketing manager at Enterprise Inns says “Cask Ale Week was a great success for Enterprise publicans. The YOY cask ale performance for the period of Cask Ale Week for publicans who received our free POS was +3.33%.”
Robinsons Brewery announced their first ever beer festivals in 15 of their pubs across the North West and Cumbria. Alongside Robinsons brews, the festivals included beers from Fuller’s, Greene King, Batemans, Black Sheep and Tatton Brewery – marking the first time that the Stockport Brewer has hosted beer festivals with other brewers’ signature brews.
“Cask Ale Week is a celebration of British Cask,” says David Bremner, director of marketing for Robinsons Brewery, “so it seemed fitting to branch out and bring in several key beers from other brewers across the country.One of the main things cask ale drinkers like is variety. There are an estimated 11,000 different beers in production by UK breweries alone, so the beer festivals provided an opportunity to offer our pub goers a little taste of the diverse and wonderful work that other brewers from around the country are doing.”
“Cask Ale Week is not just about celebrating the exciting world of cask ale’’ says Wadworth trade marketing manager Emma Cottam. ‘’It’s also about championing the great British pubs who serve it!’’
Flack Manor Brewery got into the spirit of Cask Ale Week holding a number of tours to celebrate all things ale. They pleased the punters by matching Old Winchester from Lyburn Cheesemakers and with their Hedge Hope Ale turning their brewery tours into a taste sensation.
Guests at Timothy Taylor’s Town Hall Tavern in Leeds were given the chance to sample a range of beers matched with locally produced cheeses and meats this week, to celebrate the launch of National Cask Ale Week.
The beer and food sampling evening was hosted by Annabel Smith, one of Britain’s first female Beer Sommeliers, and Timothy Taylor’s head brewer Andrew Leman. Guests had the opportunity to sample different beers matched with locally produced cheese and meats. “Brewing and cheese-making share a lot in common” said Smith. “They are both produced with a limited number of ingredients using methods which are varied slightly to create a huge diversity of flavours and styles. Beer with cheese and cured meats is a timeless combination. The alcohol in the beer cuts through the fat in the food, and the carbonation cleanses the palate.”
Blind tasting added a fun and different dimension to the evening! The events proved so successful, that further beer and food evenings are planned at a number of Timothy Taylor pubs over the next 12 months.
“Cask Ale Week is always one of the main events in our calendar,” says Jayson Perfect, tenanted trade director at Palmers Brewery. “It celebrates the two things at the heart of our business – cask ale and pubs.
“Throughout the Week we gave away directly over 1000 samples of our award winning ales in and around Bridport and more than 100 free brewery tours. Our 54 pubs were encouraged to offer try before you buy and many more promoted ale sampling flights on their bars and in menus. Local artisan baker, Leakers of Bridport produced and sold over 200 Tally Ho! baps and local butcher RJ Balson & Sons produced hundreds of Dorset Gold sausages which many of our pubs included on Cask Ale themed menus.
“We had great fun getting involved, giving away samples of our award winning real ales and promoting our fantastic licensees. It’s also an opportunity to say thank you to all our customers who are as passionate about cask ale as we are.”
Suffolk-based brewer Greene King held its first Oktoberfest for Cask Ale Week. It was a three day beer and music festival. Cathy Truin, Greene King brewery visitor centre manager, said: “It was a busy weekend celebrating Great British brewing and quality cask ale. With over 30 beers on draught, including Greene King Black IPA, Gangly Ghoul and Belhaven Old Gold, the festival gave people the chance to come along to the brewery and see what we’re all about, get a better understanding of our beers and try a few from some of our other favourite breweries.”
A unique addition to the festival was a set of Greene King IPA inflatable rugby posts which gave local fans a chance to get in on the Rugby World Cup action and emulate a winning try. Photos of the best dives were shared on the Greene King Brewery Facebook page.
Over 500 people attended Butcombe Brewery’s Cask Ale Week Open Day. Free entry, free beer, free brewery tours, live music and the Mendip Morris Men!
Guy Newell, MD of Butcombe said “Perfect weather, happy customers, great music and free Butcombe beer – you can’t get better than that!”
Cask Ale Week 2016 runs Thursday 22nd September – Sunday 2nd October. Get the dates in your diary now!