Cask Ale Week is in full swing. All over the country breweries and pubs are running events and promotions to celebrate Britain’s national drink.
From beer festivals and tutored tastings to new brews and free pint offers, there is a wide array of activities. This year the Week takes on a special significance. Findings of the recently published 2015 Cask Report show cask beer, or ‘real ale’ drinkers to be the lifeline of tens of thousands of British pubs. They visit more often, and over the course of the year, spend nearly double the average.*
“Cask Ale Week is a great way for breweries and pubs to reward drinkers of real ale,” says Paul Nunny, managing director of Cask Marque, which facilitates the Week. “These customers play a crucial role in keeping the doors of pubs open. So it’s not surprising that licensees up and down the country are providing them with special offers, new beers and flavour-based activities during the Week. It’s a way of saying thank you.”
Just as crucially, Cask Ale Week is being used by breweries and pubs to encourage new people to try real ale. “The range of flavours and styles of real ale has expanded exponentially in the past few years,” says Nunny. “So there really is something to suit every palate. The trick is to overcome the prejudices some people have about beer, and to use the fact that real ale is a natural, fresh product full of flavour to persuade them to try it. The different activities during Cask Ale Week really help with that mission.”
The Week was launched at the Crosse Keys in Gracechurch St, London, where a festival of real ales, all brewed using the celebrated Maris Otter malted barley, much loved by craft brewers, was getting off the ground.
“This beer festival is a great example of activity that sparks interest in our national drink,” says Nunny. “People are getting more and more interested in food and drink ingredients and want to know all the details.
This year is the 50th anniversary of Maris Otter (most barley varieties last only 5 years so this is exceptional) and most of the beers in the festival were brewed especially to mark the occasion. The Crosse Keys created their Maris Otter 50th ‘Fringe’ Festival, with the help of Norfolk Brewhouse and grain merchant H Banham, to coincide with Cask Ale Week.
“This ensured that the Week started with a bang, putting pub-goers into an exploratory, cask-drinking mood. Now that should be good for the country’s 1700 breweries – and a great contribution to safeguarding the nation’s pubs,” says Nunny. “Something worth raising a glass to!”
Details of the 1,100 plus Cask Ale Week events, promotions and activities by region can be found here www.caskaleweek.co.uk and by following @caskaleweek on Twitter