As part of Cask Marque’s continued support for the cask ale industry, we have put together a series of guidelines on all aspects in the buying, storing and selling of cask ale to ensure it reaches customers in the perfect condition.
These can be used as a guide for licensees and staff alike – hopefully as a useful reminder or as a training guide.
This week’s newsletter looks at how the industry can educate drinkers on how special cask beer is:
Whenever we’re training licensees about cask ale, we always have a discussion about why cask has grown over the past decade, and has been so successful. We agree some of the reasons can be attributed to the wide variety of styles made available, more pubs stocking it, the improved quality and a new wave of drinkers falling in love with it. Invariably, price always crops up. “It’s cheaper than other beer”.
Which, although true, is a bit of a strange one. Research has shown that 40% of regular cask beer drinkers have tried a craft keg beer over the past twelve months – and are prepared to pay the higher price point this style of beer demands.
Yes, keg craft beers cost more to produce and package than cask. But when you factor in all the work and skill that you do in the cellar to ensure cask beer is ready for sale, it does rankle me a bit that we devalue cask by selling it at such a lower price point than other beers.
Now I’m not suggesting that you immediately go and stick an extra 30p on every pint of cask beer you sell, but it’s worth having a look at what the craft brigade are doing so well to demand higher prices, and what craft beer drinkers demand.
Cask and craft are not mutually exclusive; indeed, cask beer is a perfect example of craft beer. Cask beer is made with premium natural ingredients, it’s made with care in a very traditional way, it’s full of flavour and it comes in many styles.
We’ve identified from research that craft beer drinkers
- are adventurous and curious about flavour
- are keen to experiment with different styles and formats
- like a ‘story’ behind the brand
- are open to beer and food recommendations and occasions
- are more bothered about ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’
- are passionate about the way the beer looks when it’s served ( the right glass for the right beer)
All of these missives are easily replicable for the cask beer market. We need to educate consumers about how special cask beer is through conversations, brand knowledge and merchandising messages. Staff need to be trained on a few key facts about the brand, how to serve this beer perfectly, and into the right glass. Licensees need to check the quality of the product every single day and stock a range of styles, colours and flavours.
We need to get away from the misconception that cask is a ‘poor relation’ to the newer, trendier, beers emerging in the market place and rethink the fantastic opportunities cask can offer to the new generation of beer drinkers.