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Great British Beer Festival

Craft beer growth relies on wholesalers becoming easier to use

By Nicholas Robinson+

10-Aug-2017
Last updated on 10-Aug-2017 at 11:37 GMT2017-08-10T11:37:42Z

Crafty: Beer Hawk launches bespoke beer website
Crafty: Beer Hawk launches bespoke beer website

Craft beer penetration will never increase dramatically unless wholesalers become more flexible and easier for the on-trade to use, Beer Hawk’s head of trade Russ Clarke told The Morning Advertiser.

The category only accounts for up to 7% of overall beer sales, but could be bolstered if suppliers to the on-trade shook up their methods, said Clarke.

Currently craft beer accounts for £782m of beer sales and grew by 23% last year, CGA Strategy stats for the 12 months to April 2017 showed.

Customers are willing to pay more for craft beer – £4.55 versus £3.16 for a standard lager – the same CGA data showed.

New trade website

Beer Hawke, which was a headline partner at this year’s Great British Beer Festival in London, recently launched its new trade website.

“It is a flexible system where operators can make up a case of beers how they want – so they could order, say, one imperial stout in a case of craft lagers if they wanted,” explained Clarke.


Great British Beer Festival 2017 from Nicholas Robinson on Vimeo.

He added the flexibility meant pubs could bring in beers that may not appeal to the masses without the risk of them spoiling and being thrown away.

“I think with the market - when it comes to craft beer wholesale and distribution - unless we are easier to use from a customer base, we’re never going to grow,” claimed Clarke.

‘The total UK beer market’

“Craft beer is about 6% to 7% of the total UK beer market and that means there’s a massive percentage that are not interacting with craft beer.

“The one thing we set out to do is to get better beer out there, I worked for BrewDog before I joined Beer Hawke and that was their ethos, so I’m still very much in that mind set.”

Meanwhile, in an exclusive video, The Morning Advertiser interviewed leading breweries at the Great British Beer Festival on Tuesday (8 August) to find out the biggest threats to the cask-ale sector, as well as future trends.

Watch the video here

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