New evidence suggests that the seven-year decline in ale sales may come to an end this year.
Sales data from a number of sources have been correlated by leading brewers. The figures show that off-trade ale sales grew in the last four months, while the rate of decline in pubs has slowed down considerably.
Stuart Catchpole, brands director for Scottish Courage, said: "We are making no great predictions."
He spoke as he unveiled McEwan's SPA (pictured), a new 3.5 per cent ale for Scotland.
The brand has undergone successful trials in Aberdeen and the launch follows a detailed analysis of sales trends in the ale sector.
Television advertising will begin on Good Friday in a campaign which may shock traditionalists, according to Catchpole. SPA — the letters "do not stand for anything" — attempts to combine the refreshing kick of lager with the flavour of real ale.
The font is designed so that customers can clearly see their pint being poured.
The Cask Marque campaign has also had some impact on real ale quality, with 1,236 licensees being awarded the standard so far.
Last week Hertfordshire brewer McMullen launched a Special Reserve Bitter with the Cask Marque logo on the pump clip.
Whitbread Pub Partnerships, Caledonian Brewing Company and Enterprise Inns decided last week to back the scheme.