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Research shows simple tasting notes can help sales of cask

Research released in 2013 by industry body Cyclops Beer, showed that tasting notes could encourage more consumers to drink cask ales. Key findings were:

  • 40% of 18-24 years olds who have never tried real ale say they would try it if simple tasting notes were available at the bar.
  • 1 in 4 drinkers who have never tried real ale say they would give it a go if simple look, smell and taste descriptions were available.

According to Cyclops Beer, ‘simplified real ale tasting notes’ at the bar could be one of the solutions to increasing real ale sales in pubs, according to independent market research which was carried out by TNS.

With 18 pubs closing every week and total beer sales down in pubs by 4.7% in 2012, the pub industry is crying out for new initiatives that will encourage more customers to try beer. Despite real ale holding its own in a declining beer market, more work needs to be done to return the real ale sector to consistent growth.

The research also showed that:

  • Nearly half (48%) of all young drinkers (25-34 years) who drink real ale now on an occasional basis would be encouraged to choose it more frequently if there were simple tasting notes explaining what a real ale looks, smells and tastes like.
  •  40% of women who occasionally drink real ale would also be persuaded by tasting notes to drink it more often. This shows that women who have enjoyed real ale in the past are potentially very strong supporters of this category if only they could have more information at the bar to help make the selection easier.

The Cyclops Beer scheme was originally launched to the trade in 2006 and hundreds of real ales have been accredited by the scheme; these can all be viewed at www.cyclopsbeer.co.uk. Cyclops tasting notes are designed to demystify beer and help consumers to find their way around the huge variety of tastes, flavours and beer styles, making it easier for them to choose a beer. The tasting notes can be seen on pump clips, blackboards and beer mats around the UK.goers to drink  pub. Simple tasting notes, such as those provided by Cyclops Beer show pub goesrs what a real ale is going to taste like before they try it.

Cyclops tasting notes use descriptions such as “treacle”, “coffee”, “zesty”, “biscuit”, “toffee” and “liquorice” which, at a glance, convey to potential drinkers some of the tastes which they can enjoy from a glass of British ale.

Cyclops Beer is now calling on the industry to push their Cyclops tasting notes to the forefront of their consumer marketing campaigns to encourage more new people to try real ale.

Tony Jerome, Head of Marketing for CAMRA and a founding member of Cyclops Beer said:

“This market research shows a clear opportunity for breweries and pubs to sell more real ale by using Cyclops tasting notes. Choosing a beer can be difficult if you only have the name and ABV to go on, but Cyclops shows you what each real ale will look, smell and taste like, its beer style and how bitter or sweet it is.

“Cyclops is calling today for our tasting notes to be more widely adopted and used in pubs around the UK as the research proves that there is a demand for simple beer descriptions at the bar. Real ale is incredibly varied with a whole host of different styles and tastes. That’s what makes it so exciting, but it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you if you don’t know what it’s going to taste like. More breweries and pubs need to use Cyclops Beer.”