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Sales of cask ale increasing each year

Cask ale continues to grow and to increase its share of the on-trade beer market according to recently-released figures for 2014.

Total sales of standard and premium cask ale were 2,204,000 barrels in 2012, 2,223,000 in 2013 and 2,248,000 in 2014.
What appears really significant is the increase in sales of premium cask ale (those ales over 4.1% ABV), which have grown from 797,000 barrels in 2012 to 854,000 barrels in 2014, an increase of over 6% in just 2 years.
Whilst sales of cask appear are encouraging, total on-trade beer sales continue to decline (although the rate of decline has slowed), and were 13,660,000 barrels in 2014, down by 0.8% on the previous year. Total beer sales, which include the on and off trade, did however see a small increase in 2014 and were up by 1.3% which was the first increase for 10 years.
Cask’s share of the on-trade beer market is growing, in 2012 15.5% of total on-trade beer sales was cask, in 2013 it was 16.1% and in 2014 this was up again at 16.5% of the total.

September 2014 was particularly strong compared to the previous September as total cask was up by 7.4% and premium cask up 14.8% which could be the result of Cask Ale Week really taking off. The figures are all from the British Beer and Pub Association Barrelage Survey.

Mike Benner, Managing Director of SIBA said “It’s great news that total UK beer sales are in growth for the first time in many years. It demonstrates the impact of the end of the duty escalator and two consecutive cuts in beer duty and the need for keep up the momentum with a third duty cut in the March budget. While pub beer sales have declined slightly, it is very encouraging that real ale sales have grown. Premium ales in particular, are attracting consumers as the beer revolution gathers steam and consumers increasingly turn to exciting distinctive beers.’

Martin Breading, Sales Director of St Austell and one of the brewers celebrating the increased popularity of premium cask ales, said “We have had a fantastic year with Tribute and Proper Job, both are in the Premium sector at 4.2%, and 4.5% ABV respectively. We see Proper Job as a star of the future, and sales doubled in 2014 which was amazing. It is such a versatile beer with appeal to men and women, and also great with food.”

Paul Nunny of Cask Marque commented on the increased sales of cask saying “It is important for the British pub that cask ale is continuing to attract new customers as the pub is the only place where you can drink this quality product. Licensees realise that cask attracts footfall into pubs and is why so many have now joined Cask Marque which now has over 9500 pubs with the award.
The exceptional growth in sales in September reflects the support pubs are putting behind Cask Ale Week with organised events such as Beer Festivals, Quiz nights, Meeting the Brewer Evenings and offering Try Before You Buy to break down the barriers for new drinkers.”