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Cask Ale Week is back with a milestone moment

Cask Ale Week runs from today, 23rd September to 3rd October. Just as events, activities and promotions get under way, attracting more people into pubs, The World’s Biggest Ale Trail records a major milestone.    


It has generated one million pub visits. “10,000 people who are members of The World’s Biggest Ale Trail have between them reached the million mark,” says Paul Nunny of Cask Marque. “And every visit they have made is in pursuit of the only pub-fresh beer: cask-conditioned ale.”


The CaskFinder App, where people register to join in The World’s Biggest Ale Trail, records QR code scans made by ale trailers. They can each scan any single pub only once: an encouragement to head out for numerous pub and beer adventures over time. Eight indomitable App users have racked up 4,000 different pubs each.


Proof, if further proof were needed, of fascination with, and dedication to, cask beer, is the membership of the Campaign for Real Ale. 165,000 people pay their CAMRA subs each year to support this drink. No other food and drink category attracts support at this level. What is it then, that makes people so passionate about it – and that gets breweries and pubs working together in Cask Ale Week to out the spotlight on it?


“Cask ale is the freshest drink on the bar,” says Nunny. “It’s natural, unpasteurised and fresh, and has the shortest shelf-life: just three days. It takes the skills of both brewer and licensee to produce – as the brewing process actually completes in the pub cellar.


“The thing about cask beer is that you can’t buy it in the supermarket or get it delivered to your front door. To drink it, you have to go to the pub. It is unique to the pub – and to this country. This is the only place in the world where hand pumps on the bar, indicating fresh beer, are the norm.”


As a result of the pandemic, the doors of 2,000 of the country’s 47,000 pubs had already been permanently closed by March this year, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.


“That’s why Cask Ale Week is this year more important than ever,” says Nunny. “Cask can play a huge role in encouraging people out of their homes and into the sociable atmosphere of the pub. It helps keep pubs open – especially those pubs that are the centres of communities.”


In the seven years from 2012 to 2019, the number of breweries in Britain rose 80% from 1,080 to 1,950 [Statista]. By buying cask ale, Nunny says that drinkers are helping to keep many of those breweries open and are – crucially, for those in search of flavour and variety – contributing to choice of beers on the bar.


Cask Ale Week activities range from beer weeks, beer festivals and brewery tours to competitions, beer quizzes and free pint promotions. Breweries, pub companies and pubs from all over the country are taking place. Details can be found here https://caskaleweek.co.uk/activities-2021/ and via @caskaleweek on social media platforms.


Anyone can join The World’s Biggest Ale Trail, which offers prizes for points collected, by downloading the free CaskFinder app. There are additional prizes, such as a T shirt for 12 pubs visited, and mini trails especially for Cask Ale Week.


Beer of the Day: Ten prominent members of the British Guild of Beer Writers and the CEO of UK Hospitality were each asked to choose a Beer of the Day for Cask Ale Week. They are as follows:


Matthew Curtis

Mallinson’s, Citra


Tom Stapley  

Steam Town, Stoke Extra Pale


Roger Protz  

Farr Brew, Our Best Bitter


Adrian Tierney-Jones  

Thornbridge, Jaipur


Jess Mason

Abyss Brewing, The Future (West Coast IPA)


Jonny Garrett

Hook Norton Brewery, Old Hooky 


Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality

Thwaites, Wainwright Golden


Emma Inch  

St Austell, Proper Job


Pete Brown  

Fuller’s, ESB


Melissa Cole  

Big Smoke, Solaris


Marverine Cole

Sarah Hughes, Dark Ruby Mild