Cask Report

Cask Report: Category now worth £1.7bn a year

By Sara Hussein

- Last updated on GMT

cask report 2016
This year's Cask Report reveals how the category has grown over the past decade, now worth £1.7bn a year.

The report, which was released today (Wednesday 21 September) highlights how the role of cask ale has grown since the document’s first publication.

The report shows that the number of pubs selling cask ale has risen from 23,000 (42% of total pubs) in 2007, when the first edition was published, to 36,600 (72% of pubs) now. The number of Cask Marque accredited pubs has increased 160% from 3,690 in 2005 to 9,670 in 2015.

Its author, Sophie Atherton, said pubgoers are more interested in what they’re drinking and are keen to widen their knowledge about what their local can offer.

“It is clear that it’s no longer enough to be able to just pour a decent pint," she said.

“Bar staff need to understand how cask ales are different from other beers; they need to be able to describe them, they need to be the ones starting the cask conversation.”

This year’s report emphasises the role of knowledgeable and communicative bar staff, with research showing 92% of consumers want to know more about the different styles of beer but 60% say pubs don’t offer sufficient tasting notes and only 36% believe bar staff have an understanding of cask.

Cask Finder app

A new CaskFinder app featuring a ‘pump clip recognition’, means searching for new beers will be much easier and accessible to customers. By taking a picture, a beer’s pump clip, the app will provide information about the drink, including ingredients, its colour and flavour.

The report says on average Cask Marque pubs each grew beer sales by 4% last year. The CaskFinder App is currently used 60,000 times a month to find Cask Marque pubs, with 24,000 people taking part in its World’s Biggest Ale Trail. They visit 3,500 new pubs each week.

Paul Nunny, of Cask Marque, praised technology as the "dawning of a new era", which will also enrich bar staff with the bar’s products.

He said: “If licensees want to stay in the game, they can use CaskFinder to supplement workforce training.”

He added: “The instant access to information allows bar staff to sell intelligently and consumers to buy knowledgeably.”

Cask Marque pubs growing

The report shows 81% of Cask Marque pubs to be growing sales. According to the research, 90% of consumers say beer quality is very important or essential when choosing where to drink. Additionally, cask drinkers spend on average £967 a year in pubs - nearly twice the amount other drinkers spend.

The publication of the Cask Report signals the start of Cask Ale Week. During the 10 day ‘Week’ over 10,000 pints of ale will be given away free, with a view to bringing more people into pubs and of persuading drinkers to try something new. Events are being run in pubs and breweries up and down the country.

The Cask Report​ also marks the beginning of Cask Ale Week​ 2016 on Thursday (22 September to Sunday 2 October), which aims to bring more people into pubs and encourage them to try cask ales.

Related topics: Beer

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